Still Life Photography: Creating A Beautiful Rose Flat lay Photo Using Natural Light | DENISE LOVE | Skillshare

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Still Life Photography: Creating A Beautiful Rose Flat lay Photo Using Natural Light

teacher avatar DENISE LOVE, Artist & Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (54m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:07
    • 2. Class project

      1:31
    • 3. Flat lay inspiration

      14:07
    • 4. Background choices

      9:49
    • 5. Styling our flat lay

      4:55
    • 6. Shooting with natural light by a window

      3:10
    • 7. My behind-the-scenes camera setup

      4:58
    • 8. Tethering and Camera Settings

      5:36
    • 9. Shoot recap & Editing in Lightroom

      7:39
    • 10. Final thoughts

      0:39
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About This Class

Flower flat lay photography has become one of my favorite things to do every time I order flowers to use for still life setups. Roses have become my go-to flower - I especially love it when the roses are two-toned. You could do these with any flowers you choose. Peonies are a really nice choice also. As with other still life photography - this can be done in almost any space near a window you have available to you in your own home. No need to go out when it is raining, cold, windy, etc… you can practice anytime!

In this class we'll cover:

  • Some inspiration from past sets I have done to give you an idea of all the different setups that are possible.
  • Styling your set up near a window for natural light
  • Background options for you to consider
  • My behind-the-scenes camera set up using a boom arm tripod. You can handhold to shoot these sets also by leaning over them - but a tripod will save your back!
  • We'll also look at my final photo from this setup and do some editing.

This course is perfect for beginners getting started and needing ideas. It's also great for experienced photographers wanting ideas and tips for doing studio setups.

Required Gear: A camera and some flowers. You can do still life / flat lay photography with any camera you have. A few backgrounds to play with and some flowers. 

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Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

DENISE LOVE

Artist & Photographer

Top Teacher

 

Hello, my friend!

I’m Denise, and I'm an artist, photographer, and creator of digital resources and creative workshops.

I have always been passionate about art and the creative process, and have spent my career exploring various mediums and techniques. Whether I am working with paint, pencils, or pixels, I am constantly seeking to push the boundaries of what is possible and find new ways to express myself.

In addition to creating my own artwork, I also love sharing my skills and knowledge with others through workshops and classes. I believe creativity is a vital part of life, and I'm dedicated to helping others discover and cultivate their own artistic abilities.

I'm so glad to have you here on my Art channel.

 

Where... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: [MUSIC] I've been doing floral flatlays for a number of years. They're beautiful. They're inspiring. They're easy. I can set up at a window here in my house and not have to go out on bad weather days. I'm Denise Love, and I'm a still life photographer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. I want to show you the piece that is the inspiration for this class. This is a piece that I had printed and framed a while back. It's roses. It's one of the first rose flatlays that I started experimenting with. To this day, it's still one of my favorite pieces. I'm so glad I had it framed and it's hanging in my living room. What we're going to do in this class is I'm going to show you how I took that photo. I'll show you my background options. We'll talk about lighting, different flower choices that you might select. We'll talk about camera settings. We'll get into a little bit of editing. I hope when you're all done, you'll be inspired to take a few of these flatlay photos for yourself. I'm really excited to have you here. Let's get started. [MUSIC] 2. Class project: [MUSIC] Your class project for this class is to set up your own still-life flat lay near a window, and take several photos of your set. I'd love if you stayed at your set for quite a while and took top-down coming from the side, experiment with the side lighting, back lighting. All the different things that you can do. Because while you have thought up this set and you pull the effort to get it together and your props and everything. I want you to spend some time at it and go past just taking the one photo for the assignment and see how many beautiful things that you can come up with and maybe even create a series. But for your assignment, I'd like you to take one flat lay of your set and come back and share that with the class. This is another print of the framed photo that I shared in the welcome video. Look how beautiful it is. I want you to experience having a print just as beautiful for yourself. Spend some time on this. Don't rush through it. Get everything set up, experiment possibly with some tethering so you can get all your composition and your layout from the very beginning just right. But if you handhold and you want to stand over it and take your photos that way, that's fine too. It's up to anything that's going to work for you in this setup and come back and show me what you did. [MUSIC] 3. Flat lay inspiration: [MUSIC] I wanted to show you some rose flat lays that I've done just so I can give you some inspiration for different layouts and things that you might do for your own rose photos. Here, we have a completely different layout than the one that we're doing in class, but I wanted you to see that if you have five roses, you can do something fun. If you have three roses or three flowers or if you have, in this case, eight or nine or 10 flowers, some of the different things that you might consider setting up. This one's really fun and there's two stacks of roses. I love the way the light comes in and there's really a pretty setup. Then we get into same set from a different angle. I want you to not be afraid to come in from different angles while for the main project in this class, I'm doing top-down photo for a true flat lay. While you have all that setup, go all around the photo and take different shots of your setup. Don't just stop at the one photo and call it done. I like to get as many pictures as possible of a setup that I've put together. It really makes it worth the time and effort that I spent thinking it up, pulling it all together, getting my studio all ready, getting my camera all ready, and then getting in there and taking photos. I want to get as many great pictures out of one set as I can. I don't want to just take one picture and call it a day. A lot of times, I will spend hours at the same set. Sometimes, if I have say, a set of roses, I'll go back two or three days in a row because the first day, I'm getting the standard stuff out of the way, the things I first thought of, the stuff that maybe you'll think of. Then if I go back the second day, now, I'm starting to think outside the box and think, well, how can I change this up? How can I make it different? How can I do something completely different than I did yesterday? Then I really start to move into more interesting layouts and compositions, and I'll think of new angles and I'll start playing with light manipulation. I really like going back to the same set more than once. I definitely encourage you to do this to start off with your main plot lay as a top-down photo, but then don't be afraid to move all around that and get different photos and different layouts and different compositions. Change out your lenses if you have more than one camera lens to play with, especially if you get into vintage lenses or art lenses like I do. Take those photos with every different lens that you have. Take a ton of photos with your first lens and then switch out the lens and start over again. Don't stop and switch the lens out for every photo. I want you to take a group of photos and then switch out the lens and try again, but I just want to give you some ideas. This was two stacks of roses and some rose petals all spread around. To get my main flat lay photo, I pulled back a little further and I'm getting a bigger scene. Then here's where I'm going back in different directions, in different angles. Maybe in some of the photos, I even got really close on the rose heads. This one right here is particularly beautiful. That would have been a nice single shot if I'd gotten in close on that. Remember, if I did or not, these are photos that I took over the course of a year every time I ordered flowers and decided I wanted to do a new set of photos. If it came with roses, then I set up my flat lay table and took another set of photos with whatever flowers that I happened to get. Oh, look, this one's real pretty too coming in from the side focused on a flower petal up front. Everything else is thrown into blur. I love that movement back there. Every time I got flowers, this one's on the angle. I might not edited that one, I had some light coming in, but just playing there. Another angle coming in. Every time you get some flowers, set something up and play. This one actually was using a different lens and I can tell because up here in the corner, this was that Lensbaby Sahlin's with the texture plates closed down because I can see that texture up here in that corner. This right here is what started out off my obsession with these roses and it's the photo framed that I showed you there in the welcome video, but it's so beautiful and it's almost three-dimensional and in person, it almost is like you can reach out and grab that center rose. It just looks so real. This photo is the one that makes me want to take another and another every time I get a new set of roses. [LAUGHTER] Maybe they'll never be as good as my favorite, but the more you practice and the more you try, you never know, you might end up with something you never expected, something different, something cool. I think this one's really pretty with all just the pink roses. Then I started playing with some peonies. There are some photos in the flat lays where I've used other flowers and this was a time when I could get some peonies, a time of the year when they were blooming. These were my neighbors. She actually let me cut a couple of her stems to play with and I thought, well, I've got them. I'm going to take as many peony pictures as I possibly can, and I set them up on my little flat lay table too. Then this is another peony variety. This is actually the peony that I grow right out here in my front yard. I have one random peony plant that was planted before I ever bought my condo, but out front and randomly it's bloomed every single year for me [LAUGHTER] and I don't do anything special to it. It's just out there. It's not my favorite peony. I really like these peonies that have all these petals in it. This is more of a single layer of petals that's in there with the bright yellow center, but right here where they're still closed up, they were so very pretty that I cut the three blooms and thought time to photograph the one peony flower that I grow. This bright pink or red that these come in are actually a harder color to photograph because the pink or red actually comes out almost neon. They're almost too vivid. A lot of times when I go to edit red and pink, I will desaturate the photo just a tiny bit to knock off. Some of that glow, that bright neon coloring that just doesn't even look real it's weird and not a good way to me. I knocked saturation down a couple notches so that they come out pretty. But these are almost like flower portraits here that I've done with these and I love how each one of these came out whether I did two flowers, or three flowers here on the little triangle for composition and this one is more on the angle. I want you to play with your compositions, with your flowers, and see what you can come up with and even a single flower portrait ends up beautiful in this. This would be really pretty as a triptych if I did the single, the double, the triple, I'd have a really beautiful triptych there in that set. It was the perfect flower [LAUGHTER]. Here's one where I've triangled the flowers and then a nice setting where I had two different colors of flowers and I had six flowers and I thought, what can I do with the sixth odd ball flower? Because usually you do things in odd numbers, and here I thought, well, let's just see what we can do and I played with that composition there, almost like it was a bouquet of flowers rather than a flower portrait. Another one where I've got some peonies. These might have been some that I ordered in during peony season from an online flower resource because I think I had a dozen of them when I took this photo. Something that you could consider if you've got a bigger quantity of flowers, try to fill the frame with the flowers. Then one thing that I mentioned briefly in one of the segments in class is this is a really great opportunity, especially if you're tethering to do hand in the frame as part of your flat lay. That's exactly what I've done here. I'm tethering onto my iPad with my wireless tethering device connected to my camera. I'm getting everything positioned, getting the focus on the flower head where I wanted it, and then hitting the shutter button on my iPad with a little timer delay so I had like 10 seconds to really nail it and see what my hands were doing and get that exactly in the composition and the position that I wanted, and then 10 seconds and it snapped the picture for me. The thing to think about when you're doing hand-in-the-frame is you want to use a little bit of olive oil. Olive oil is what I use. You want your hands and nails to look moist and manicured like they're fresh and have lotion on them, and I usually do this with olive oil. I'll put olive oil on my cuticles. I'll rub it into my hands real lightly so that my hands and my cuticles look like they're freshly manicured, so don't take a picture with your hand in the frame. If your hand is all dry and your cuticles are dry, go get some olive oil and spread that on your cuticles and your hands and rub it in real good and then take your photos. Another one with the hand in the frame a little bit different composition. Again, I've just got some pretty roses, different compositions there on the roses. Here's the two that I'm showing in class as some examples of with the triangle and then up and down, up and down, and then one with the hand in the frame. Again, I put olive oil on my hand and rubbed it in so that the hand looks nice and moist, and then I'm picking up a flower and focused on hand in the frame, I'm paying attention to where the hand is located, the position of my fingers. I want it to be a nice, elegant hand-holding frame, not something where my fingers are sticking out or it looks odd or something like that. I'm keeping all these things in mind as I'm tethering on my iPad, looking at my composition overall. Here's one. When we go through backdrops and I talk about using different backgrounds. This is one of those vinyl backgrounds that I showed you and you see how beautiful that turns out with the vinyl as the background. If you've just got little vinyl backdrops, you can order some of those off of the Etsy. Etsy is probably my favorite source. These are a little two-foot by two-foot, just random backdrops that I have purchased that I thought, these are pretty, and that's one of them, and it turns out as a great flat lay piece. Same with using my wood floor so that's on the wood floor itself all the way down on the floor, and look how beautiful that turns out. Here it is on the white chipy wood background and that's actually a photograph that I took. I do mention that you can take some of your own photos of surfaces and then have them printed and I have those mounted to foam core board so that I can use them as a backer board in my photographs and that's one of them. That's the side of a house that I took and printed and look how beautiful that is as a backdrop for something like this. This is another one, a texture photo that I have printed out and mounted and used as a backdrop and I love that textured background behind stuff too, so that's fun. Another one hand in the frame, just positioning the roses where I thought they looked the most pleasing, olive oil to my hand up and then tethered to take that photograph and get everything positioned exactly where I wanted it. You can do photos like this with like a remote. If you don't want a tether, you can get everything set up, get down on the floor, and then snap the picture with your remote. I just feel like I'm doing it a little more blind that way and maybe I'll get the photo I want or maybe I'll have to take the photo 15 times before I end up with one that I'm happy with. I just find tethering made that a little easier for me and I tried putting my hand here in a different spot on the photo just playing. I wouldn't say that's my favorite, but I did experiments. I did this one better with the hand in the frame. Our last one here with the hand in the frame and putting some of the flower petals down as your background, and same without the hand. Almost too busy, without the hand, with all the flowers and the petals that runs together. But just fun to experiment and give you some ideas on some different things that you might consider for your flat lay. I hope you enjoyed this little run-through of all the ones that I've played with and experimented in the last year or so. I'll see you back in class [MUSIC]. 4. Background choices: [MUSIC] Let's talk about different backgrounds that you can use for your beautiful flower or rose flatlay. What I'm looking at here is some vinyl backdrops. Normally, I love real wood backdrops and the depth and age that you get on a weathered wood antique surface. But when I did a bunch of these type photos for myself, playing with different backgrounds and different roses, I discovered that I liked the vinyl backdrops almost as much as the real wood background. I just thought I would show you some of the options on the vinyl backdrops. I'm shooting on a two-by-two vinyl backdrop. These are about two feet wide and two feet long, so they are very small. These are fairly inexpensive if you get a backdrop this small, which is a great size for a flatlay or some project like we're doing here today. I love this one because it looks like antique wallpaper on a wall. That was one of my favorites that I've used. This one not so much. When you're looking at backdrops and evaluating whether you're going to like the surface or not. If it's got so much going on and then you put a flower say on top of that surface, I think that what you're going to find is that really no element has its chance to shine. For instance, if I've got the rose on there, it may look okay. But I really think in evaluating the backdrops, I like that one better. But that's personal preference and you're only going to discover some of your preferences by actually doing some of this work. If you're looking at backdrops and something really jumps out at you, try it, buy it. Give it a test run. You never know. This was that same wallpaper and a half brick wall. Not my favorite for this project but I do love this particular background. A faux wood surface. Those work particularly well because I liked the flowers and the wood surfaces anyway, especially like my table that we're going to get to here in a moment. If you don't have a real beat-up wood surface, a faux wood surface will definitely do a good job for you. That's a darker one. I have a lighter one. It depends on if you're going for dark and moody like I'm going for or if you're going for light and bright and maybe you want to go with something in the white or the lighter color range. Then this is more medium tones. Not my favorite color tone but it is pretty for a backdrop for maybe some other projects. You see it's really totally getting into personal preference, your own style. Which one jumps out at you and which one doesn't? To figure out which ones of these are going to work for you. Now, something like this, it's almost too busy. But when I put the rose on it, I don't hate it. Just have to give it a tryout and see what you like. This is like antique wood door, shutter kind of thing. Then a really more weathered, got the chippy paint on it. That's a fun surface. This is my favorite surface and it's a beat-up antique table that I got off of Etsy. Yeah, I got off Etsy. It is a 1900s salesman sample of a dining table with drop leaves on it. Both of the leaves on this table drop-down. This was in somebody's attic and a grandparent passed away and it came up as an item for sale that the person wasn't going to keep. I about had a fit. This is the most amazing texture and grunge. Who knows what is going on the top of that table over the last 120 years but it's so delicious to photograph things on top of. As soon as I set my flowers on top of that, I knew immediately that was the surface I wanted to photograph on. Keep your eyes open when you're on Etsy or eBay or at the antique market. Any kind of small table like this. This is only a foot and a half off the floor, so it's very low to the floor, which I like because now the light comes in from the window, a little above it, but from the side, which is very interesting for the lighting. I can put this up on a bigger table if I need it to be up a little higher to work with it. It's just such a yummy surface. Be looking around for the beat-up wood surfaces. Even if I just had this two-by-two top without the base on it, that'd be a great photography board. I could eventually take the base off this and then set this on any surface I wanted to use it on. That would be great. The other surface that I loved using is this wood floor. That made a really beautiful photograph too. If you've got real pretty wood floors and you don't mind setting up your project on the floor by a window, that's a great surface. Another good surface, let me go grab one, would be some type of wood photography board that you've either created or purchased or come across at the antique store. What I like about these is the size. This one is a two foot by three foot, and it's perfect for a project like this because I can move it around and photograph whatever I want right here on the surface. You can make or buy these in lots of different finishes if you're looking for photography boards online. The last one I want to show you is a printed photo mounted on some foamcore board and that's a great surface to photograph on. If you go out and you find the most amazing set of shutters or doors, or wood on the side of a house and you think, wow, look at that great texture and color and I love everything about it and you're like, man, I wish I had that as a photography board. Well, you can. What I recommend is, you take photos of that surface, true to life size of how much you want to print them. Let's say, you want to print them 20 inches by 30 inches. What I would do is measure with my measuring tape on say, the wall on the side of the house. I'd measure 20 inches to figure out how much space that is. I would fill my camera frame with 20 inches. I would get right up close to it, fill the frame with about the size I want to print this. Then when I send it to the printer, I would print it about the size I had in my mind. If I'm working with 24 by 36, like on these photography boards and that's the size I want to print these out, then I would take a section of the wall. I'd get it close enough where I had two feet worth of wall by three feet worth of wall in the frame of my camera and I would take that picture. I would take it on at least an F8 so that all the details and everything that I wanted to be in focus was actually in-focus. Then when you print these, you want to print it on matte or satin photo paper. This is on satin paper. Some printers don't offer like a true flat, so you'd get like an eggshell or satin. You can see, there's some glare on it. But if we tilt these just a little bit or where it's positioned differently in the light, depending on where we are, the glare doesn't make any difference when I have my camera shining down on the surface. That is some of my recommendations on different surfaces that you might consider shooting on. You might look at vinyl backdrops, you could print your own surface, photography board, some type of real fun wood surface you find at say the antique market, or if you've got some wood floors that you love, set right up on the floor. I'll see you back in class. [MUSIC]. 5. Styling our flat lay: [MUSIC] Let's talk about styling our set. For this particular project, I like to use five flowers, and in this case, the roses have become my flower of choice when I'm doing this flat lay photo for the flowers. What I like with the five flowers is now I have a chance to style where I want those flowers to go. You'll notice as I'm laying them on there, there's a lot of leaves still on these flowers that are distracting. So I want to take off most of the leaves really. I want to take off all the leaves that are further down. I might leave one random leaf on some of my flowers, but I don't want to leave most of the leaves there. I want to pull off any of the ones that are fuller down and then maybe I will strategically come back in and place some of these that we've pulled off and still use them, so don't throw them out. I want to be careful not to have them sitting under the flower really, I don't want them to be so distracting that they look strange. Let me set these behind me. When I pick out these roses, I want to have long stems. If you go to a florist and they try to cut the stem short on you. Tell them no, you want long stemmed. When I frame these out, I like the flower head and the bottom of the stem to be in the frame. I want the flowers at this point to probably be fairly fresh. No brown and peeling spots on the petals. That one had thorns. [LAUGHTER] If you've got a petal that looks particularly bad, go ahead and pull that off. These don't look too bad. I've had them for a day or two so that they can open up. I like the stems to be as straight as possible. Then the prettiest flower, I want to be the center hero. I'm just going to visually adjust and figure out what's the best layout that I like. As I've taken many of these as each time I got roses, I'm like, let me go to a rose photo. [LAUGHTER] I actually started experimenting with the composition. I've liked this composition. I also like it when you bring it down and you have the flower heads in a row, and they're going up and down. You can also do a composition where they're in reverse and you have a nice V going rather than the original where we have an arrowhead going. Get creative and play with the different elements that you've got and decide what's the layout that's appealing to you the most. This is also the perfect type layout. You want to practice with your hand in the frame. I've taken several of those also. What I'll generally do is sit by the table and I'll have my hand in the frame as I'm down low. Then maybe I'm holding a flower and I'm taking that photo of that setup with my hand in the frame. I've done this particular setup with lots of different types of flowers. I like peonies. Roses are great. You could do tulips. You could probably do calla lilies. I have some calla lilies in this bunch. If you want to get real creative and you had enough flowers, you could throw in a few other elements in there as you're experimenting with your layouts. Those would be fun. Take the photos, and just be thinking what's the best lighting, what's the best composition? Let me move these around. Let me trade the flowers in and out from where I have them. Maybe I want the flowers to be set up more with the bigger, blowing the ones out further. Play with them. I like the two-tone roses when I do stuff like this because they dry really pretty and then I can keep taking photos with them. But get creative and play with these. I'm going to set these back up, take some photos of them, and then play around a bit and just see what I get. [MUSIC] 6. Shooting with natural light by a window: [MUSIC] Let's talk about the lighting of this setup. I'm set up by my window here in my studio. I'll show you a pullback of that real quick. What I've got is I'm by the window and the window has curtains, they're close because it's pretty bright out. There's a photography scrim in this window. The reason why I have the scrim in the window because if I take this scrim out of the window and I opened the curtain, look how bright and harsh the light coming in on that picture is. To really get an understanding of the light, it'd be really great if you took this photo with the bright harsh sunlight on it. Then took this photo with say, the curtains closed a bit. Then took this photo with the squirm in the window. Just see which of those layouts, which of those lighting settings on your computer do you end up thinking looks the best? I'm using natural light for this setup. I have all the lights in the room off and I'm pulled right up within about a foot of the window. I'm only going to have the natural light on this frame. The way that I have this setup, the light is coming in here from the side a little tiny bit above it because I'm sitting below the window. But I'm going to have the yummy side lighting with all the shadow here on the right side. If I wanted to do a photo where I had backlighting and I wanted the light coming in, backlighting the photo. I could rearrange this setup this way. Then the light would be hitting the top of flowers and coming down the stems. Just as a side note, when I threw those down like that, look how pretty the little stems crossing over each other just did. That might be something you consider. If you've got stems that aren't quite straight, maybe crisscrossing the stems to make an interesting pattern would be really cool for your photo. I didn't try that when I took lots of these flower photos in the past. Some of these are not straight stems. In that styling, I might consider crisscrossing those and see if I liked that layout. When you're set up in a window or you're set up by the window you've decided to photograph in and I want you to diffuse the light, take a picture with the harsh light if you want to see the difference in the outcome at the end. But I want you to diffuse the light, turn the lights in the room off, and shoot this photo with just the natural light. [MUSIC] 7. My behind-the-scenes camera setup: [MUSIC] Let's talk about the set-up that I have going on here to take this photo. Now, if you want to stand over the photo and hand-hold the photo and just shoot straight down, definitely try that out. But the older I get when I'm taking photographs, the less in a hurry I am. At this point, I've already done the years and years of hand-holding and taking a thousand photos, trying to get the one great photo and standing over things until my back hurts so bad I couldn't stand up straight again [LAUGHTER] and doing all the things. What I would really consider the hard way, the working harder, not smarter way for me. I have decided on these flat lays, it's much easier to use a tripod with a boom arm, and that's boom, B-O-O-M and that is the telescoping arm that comes out 90 degrees from the tripod. That makes this job so much easier. What would really make it nice on that camera that I have is if it had a flip screen and the screen flipped up and then I wasn't trying to look through the eyepiece. I found that difficult too and at some point, I decided to start tethering my camera to my iPad or my computer. You can tether your camera in many different ways. If you don't have the capability in camera like a lot of the new cameras do now. You can tether with wireless tethering devices, which is what I use. I've got the CamFi, C-A-M-F-I wireless tethering device that hooks right on the top of the camera and plugs right in. Then it talks to the CamFi app on my iPad. I control the camera from my iPad. I can see the scene that's going on. I can focus my lens so that my focus is perfect. Then I can take the photo from the iPad and do everything from that wireless tethering so that I'm not touching the camera the whole time causing any shake. That's my very favorite way to take the photo. Because when you're looking at the photo through the little tiny eyepiece as you're standing over it, it's really hard to decide if that composition is dead on exactly where you want it. Whereas if you're looking at it on a bigger screen like your iPad, you can get over there and move those roses around and tweak that layout until it's absolutely perfect. Looks really great for composition. Everything is exactly where you want it with the extra leaves that you added in, you'll take that picture once or twice and then you've got the picture that you wanted. That's so much easier to me than standing over the setup for an hour, snapping and then looking, thinking no I still don't have it, let me try again or miss the focus or the focus is in the wrong place or the layouts wrong, or I was looking crooked, so it's slightly skewed and you just eliminate all those extra steps in the photo. I really get the most beautiful ones when I take a moment to set it all up, put that camera on that tripod where the arm telescopes out, tether it to my iPad so I can tweak it just right. Then I can comfortably be sitting in a chair taking that photo. [LAUGHTER] Then you can see my pullback of my scene here also, where we're in the window and there's enough light coming in because you can see how that light is reflecting on the curtain. There's enough light coming in that I needed to diffuse that off the table itself. I do have that round reflector diffuser sitting there. I don't have harsh light on that table setup. Now reflecting through that curtain because that curtains thin enough for the light to come through, but still is a good diffusing agent. If I wanted the roses with a little bit of sunlight on it, but not super harsh, like it would be if I opened the curtains, I could move the diffuser, leave the curtain shut and get a little bit of the sunlight streaming on the flowers and that might be pretty because it's still diffused. Just a personal preference and choice there. Just wanted to give you a little look at my setup. Talk about tethering. If you've got a camera that's got the Wi-Fi in it that already connects to its own app on your computer or your tablet. Use it. The newer cameras have that. You can also tether with a tethering table. There's so many choices out there that there's no way for me to really tell you what's the best for you. There are just a lot of tethering options and if that sounded interesting and definitely look further into that. I'll see you back in class. [MUSIC] 8. Tethering and Camera Settings: [MUSIC] I want to talk about tethering, a moment more as I talk about camera settings. I just showed you that we're set up still. I tweaked it a little bit as I was going, but I got the CamFi hooked up so I could show you what that looks like tethered here on my iPad. Why I really loved this is because now it's much larger for me to see, and I can zoom in on that flower and nail the focus of whatever it was I was trying to get in focus. I can now adjust my camera while I'm looking at the iPad, and I can get the focus exact, exact, because I'm using manual lenses when I'm shooting this scene today. I'm using a Lensbaby Velvet, and maybe my eyesight is not what it used to be or looking overhead at this camera angle. It's hard because I don't know, you're standing over, you're looking down, maybe you can't really get a clear sight in your screen there, and on here, I can nail the focus on the head exactly where I want it and I love it. I can adjust all the little flower stems. If I think, there's an open spot right here, I could go get some leaves and fill that in, and I can just make all my adjustments and then take that photo. Keeping in mind camera settings. I want to have great exposure, I want the ISO and the f-stop and my shutter speed to all work in conjunction to give me a beautifully exposed photo. To do that, I want the ISO to normally be between 100-400 so that I get not too much grain. If you're on a really nice camera and you can go higher than that and not be very grainy, then that's the decision that you can make. Also want to make sure that the f-stop is at the right place for the amount of blur that I want for this setup. If I want all the roses in focus, maybe I need to be at an F8 or something along there. If I want the main flower in focus, the head thing, but the background to fall into a little bit of blur, maybe I want to be on an F4. If I want it to be really blurred and glowy for this lens, maybe I want to be on that 2.8. I prefer, and you can see the sun going in and out, you can see your exposure varying a little bit. But I prefer the flower to be in heads, to be in focus, so I want to be on about an F for my own preference on these photos. Then once I know that I've got to have an ISO of say 200, an f-stop of say, F4, then the only other decision that I got to make is how fast does that shutter need to go to give me a properly exposed photo. I had it set up when we started this video at on 1, 120 bit of a second. But we can see now the light has gone in a little bit and I would need to change that to probably 180th of a second or 160th of a second. Being able to see this on my screen and judge what exactly I want that exposure to look like really makes that nice and easy for us. Then you can see I can just take that photo right there on the screen and then move to the next photo. I really loved tethering. I like to get the exposure right in camera so I'm usually going to be adjusting those settings working it as I go, so that I've got great exposure. If I move that scrim out of the way, you can see some brighter light come in on our scene, and you can see on the iPad what that light does. You can see, we really don't want that stream of light, so I need to go and close the curtain a little bit more but it's pretty on the rest of it. If I go and close that gap, having that little bit of light on this setting might be pretty today. I might test that out just to see. Then I might open it all the way up and get a good harsh picture just to show you the difference. That's my little spiel on camera settings. Decide how much blur you want and that's your f-stop, and to do that, I do little tests with my photos at like F2, and F4, and F8, and just see how much blur do I want. Then I'll do a little test on ISO at 100, 200, 400, 800, or 1,000 and see which one is just too grainy, and I'll stay below that. Then the shutter speed is just how much that shutter speed needs to be sped up or slowed down, depending on those other two numbers, and how much light that I've got coming in that window when it goes behind the clouds and it's really cloudy, that shutter speeds got to slow down because it's got to stay open a little bit longer to let that light in to get the good exposure. But when the sun pops out from behind the clouds and it's shining in like it is now, well, I got plenty of light, I can speed that shutter speed up, get that photo a little faster and still have a properly exposed photo. I'll see you back in class [MUSIC]. 9. Shoot recap & Editing in Lightroom: [MUSIC] I thought it would be fun to go through and edit one of the photos that we took of this exact set that I was just showing you. If you zoom in really good, you can see how I really nailed the focus on that with the tethering. This particular table has big lines in it where the leaves come up and then you have a line in it. A lot of times if I'm shooting a little closer up, I will try to shoot the flowers in between those lines so that I can crop the lines out. Sometimes before I get to that, I will come down here to the transform window and I will hit the auto button because when you're shooting straight down on something, sometimes maybe you're not as straight as you think [LAUGHTER] because I didn't have a level set on that camera. [LAUGHTER] If you hit that auto transform, it might pull some of the distortion out for you. This is generally that transform feature that when you're taking a photo of a tall building from the ground and the building looks distorted the further up it goes, this helps you undistort those buildings and it's the same concept here on a flat lay. I like to come down and just hit the auto and see if it straightens and tightens up that photo better for me. If I don't like it, I can always turn it back off. But you can see I must have been slightly tilted because it's not as straight as it could be. I'm going to leave that on auto for that and then go back up here to the basic and start tweaking our photo. I'm actually going to crop that in. I don't want these lines in the photo and I'm going to hit the shift key to retain my ratio. I'm just going to decide. I just want to crop the lines out. I'm either going to include the lines on purpose and take that photo with the intent of the lines being there or I'm going to take my photo inside the lines with the intent of cropping them out. With these particular photos, I do like to crop those out. I'm just going to go through and tweak wherever it is that I feel like maybe it needs it as I'm going down. In my basic panel, I'm tweaking some different things here, just eyeballing it to see where I'd like to have it. I may go back and change those and tweak them again. I might add some clarity, a little bit of texture. Maybe I want to add some vibrance, but in one of the other videos I mentioned, pink and red are sometimes harder to photograph, especially if the entire flower is bright pink or bright red, and in that instance, I'll come right down to this little desaturation button and I'll just come down a little bit on the saturation of that two or three or 10 little points and just pull the, knock-off the intensity of the pink or red, because sometimes the whole flower is red, it's almost neon and it looks weird. If you'll desaturate that a tiny bit, you'll make that flower look a lot better in its photo. I'm going to keep going. I always throw a curve on these. I start off with maybe three control points here. Then I'm going to make it matte because I like the matteness. I wanted to delete that point I accidentally added. I want it to be a little more matte. I like the matteness. It's a little more film like and as I go down, I may go back up to the top and adjust some of those sliders again. I always go to the detail and I up the sharpening and we can be right here on our flower if you want to see how much that sharpens. Then I'm holding down my Option key on a Mac, my Alt key on a PC, the Option Alt button there. I'm going to mask it off because currently everything is included in the mask, so you're going to be sharpening every single pixel in the photo, which might add some grain that you didn't intend and I don't want to do that. If you mask it off while you're holding that button down, moving that mask button, you can see exactly what's being sharpened and now I'm not over-sharpening every pixel in the drawing. Hold down the Option Alt key and you'll see what's being masked and mask it off to where just the details are showing up there for you. If you have any noise, you can make things with the noise reduction here if it's too noisy. You got to be careful with that button because if I push it all the way up, it makes the whole picture look plastic. [LAUGHTER] Be sparing with that button. I've seen people before in videos say, I just push it to 100 every time and I think, oh my goodness. [LAUGHTER] I like to come down to the effects on these and I do want to vignette, I wanted a fairly large midpoint that's rounded and I want to pull the eye in by darkening the corners. I can determine how feathered that is, Here you can see exactly what that is. I would like it nice and feathered. Then I might go back to the very top here and start tweaking again just to get my final thing in. It's almost, I don't know that I like the vibrance up and I may want to desaturate it just a little bit. Because it's almost very vivid and color in its own. That's really pretty right there. Just make sure I've got everything here where I want it and I may want less contrast rather than more contrast, Let's see. I'd just like to go through and be like, do I like this, or do I like that? Then if I've got any spots that I want to heel off my photo, like there are a few spots on here that could be heeled on that table. I actually prefer to do that in Photoshop, but I don't know that I'm going to do that in Photoshop today because I don't plan on doing anything else to the photo beyond what we're doing. I might see what these look like doing it in light room. I prefer it in Photoshop because I feel like the spot heal works better in Photoshop but for those little spots that I was doing right there that took care of what I needed, and I could get the ones out here that are bigger on this table. These are actual spots from the manufacturing of the table, but, see that looks good. Take off any blemishes you can before you're finished. Sometimes I'll put this in Photoshop and do an extra layer of sharpening and maybe I'll add a texture and just see what I like. But for these flat lays, I generally like a really yummy edit and I'll call that a day. Here is our photo that I set up. I hope you enjoyed walking through the editing and I will see you back in class. [MUSIC] 10. Final thoughts: [MUSIC] Wow. Now you've taken the class. I hope that you have been inspired to set up a flower flat lay near a window in your own home and taking some photos. Then I would really love if you went back to your class assignment and made sure that you come back and share at least one of the photos that you took of your flat lay. I have really loved having you in class. I hope you enjoy and are inspired by this particular subject. I'll see you next time. [MUSIC]