After Mike left for work today I started surveying the landscape of the house. Cabinets were opened, piles were made, and bins were sifted through. What was I looking for? Props. Why did I need props? For a photo shoot of course.
When I was a photo student, my photo shoots would involve many people. Some were models, some were extra sets of hands and others were merely onlookers. The images from these photo shoots often told elaborate stories, most resembling pictorial soap operas. There would be make-up, costumes, props and sets, resulting in several hundred images for me to sift through, retouch and ultimately tell my little soap operas through.
I’d like to think a few things have changed since those photo shoots (it’s been 5 years since the above two images were taken). My retouching skills are very much superior to where they were in college (in fact, I had to stop myself from re-retouching those two images before posting them to the blog just now). My photo shoots are far less public, in fact, usually I’m the only one who knows that they’re going on. Just like the lack of helpers and onlookers, the sordid tales and soap operas are long gone too. The locations are far less diverse, pretty much always confined to various rooms inside wherever I happen to be living. And the models are not people, rather they are various pieces of paper.
You may be wondering if I’ve lost my mind. Who constructs photo shoots centered around paper after all! Well, you may have heard that I know a thing or two about designing stationery, but that’s just hearsay unless I have a way of showing my creations to the world. Sure I’ve got some on display in my home office, but since Mike and I are usually the only two people spending much time up there, they’re not doing much promotional good. And while snapping a photo of an invitation may seem simple, to make one’s images compelling takes much more than that.
I prefer to work mostly with natural light, which limits when I can take pictures significantly. By the time I get home from work the angle of the sun is too extreme if there’s any sun at all. And weekends during the wintertime tend to be quite overcast. So most of my winter work goes unphotographed until spring. By then I’ve accumulated quite a bit to shoot, so unless I’ve got a day set aside, it’s usually not happening. My last stationery photo shoot was in March, and while I got a whole slew of new photos posted to Studio255’s website, I still had a large pile of unphotographed work.
This Saturday was the perfect day to shoot as much of the rest of my work as possible. Mike was at work, so I’d have the house to myself to run around and make a mess of. The rest of my family and most of my friends were out and about so I didn’t prioritize spending time with them over photographing (spending time with people you care about needs to come first). And it was really hot outside, so I had zero desire to leave the house after my morning trip to Paper Source.
To say I made a mess is an understatement. I shot and retouched images for 6 hours, and when I was done I looked around and got a little drained just seeing the state of the house. Kitchen cabinets were wide open, piles of serve wear sat on the counter. Whole place settings were assembled on the dining room table. Shirts and a bath sheet lay strewed across the couch. The living room table was covered in miscellaneous objects ranging from candlesticks to bandaids. And there were piles of stationery everywhere. I’m not sure why I’m referring to all of this in the past tense, as of right now, it’s all still there! After this blog entry, I have to go clean up.
The list of props that I used today was pretty incredible. A lot of wedding gifts made an appearance (I bet you didn’t think I’d be using my place settings for more than just hosting company and my large wooden serving tray worked overtime being a backdrop): 1 domed cake stand, 1 wedding cake topper, 3 necklaces, 1 strand of beads from Dream Interior, 6 vintage highball glasses + 1 matching pitcher, 4 band aids, 1 wooden tray, 1 swiss army knife, 1 roll of medical tape, 12 generic cold medicine white pills, 1 cheese tray, 1 wedding ring, 1 table runner, a bunch of confetti in 3 colors, 1 chair, 3 different types of place mats, 1 salad bowl, 3 plates, 1 mug, 1 spoon, 3 shirts, 8 candlesticks, 1 pizza cutter and 2 forks!
Below are some of the images from the photo shoot today. To see all of them, check out Studio255‘s newly (as of last night) redesigned website and look under each section (I separated the body of work into categories rather than just having one big slideshow like before). I included a couple photos here that don’t appear on the website 🙂