Everything But The Kitchen Sink?

Interesting photo ops are right under our noses…even in the kitchen.

Here are 3 examples. All shot in a kitchen. A demonstration that you can have fun shooting anywhere, anytime.

  1. Flowers in a vase on the kitchen table
  2. My breakfast
  3. Staging colored pencils on a white poster board

We’ll take a look at each one and I’ll share some quick easy tips you can experiment with.

Marc’s Starting Notes:

In automatic shooting mode, you may not be able to change basic settings. I would suggest the P (Program shooting mode). It’s the same as auto shooting, but you can make adjustments. If you’re a little more comfortable, these examples are well suited for Aperture Priority shooting mode, particularly “photo 2.”. Feel free to ask questions.

1. Flowers on the kitchen table (exercise in light)

Anyone who’s been engaged in photography for while realizes they begin to see things they’ve overlooked before. Like how soft natural light can gently envelop the petals of a flower. We naturally become better observers with experience.

Yellow flower photo using window light by Marc Mantha

Yellow flower photo using window light by Marc Mantha

Shooting tips for “Flower on the kitchen table”:

  • Are you using Automatic White Balance? This might qualify for the Shade White Balance preset and maybe even the Sunny White Balance preset. Take a few shots using each preset and select the ones you like when reviewing. Custom White Balance will work best. “Presets”  for white balance are a list of choices for different kinds of light. Look up White Balance Presets in the word index at the back of your camera user guide.
  • The only light source in our example here, is natural from a window coming from the left at a distance of about 7 feet from a north facing window. Therefore the light is even more gentle and diffused than the direct light from a south facing window. The little details do change everything.
  • The light is very weak and therefore using a tripod for still photos like this is perfect. By using a tripod (or even a box on the table to set your camera upon), we don’t need to be concerned with adjusting the ISO to boost the shutter speed like we would for a handheld shot.
  • You can use the self timer (check the word index in your camera user guide, every camera has this feature). This way your hands are off the camera when the shutter releases. With a slow shutter speed in low light, even depressing the shutter button can slightly jiggle the camera and cause blurry photos.
  • If you decide to take this kind of shot handheld, you may need to turbo charge your shutter speed so your photos don’t succumb to camera shake (blurry photos).

On to our next shot from the kitchen…

2. My breakfast (exercise in depth of field or setting the aperture)

My Breakfast by Marc Mantha
Shooting with using a wide angle focal length and experimenting with the aperture setting.

Shooting tips for “My breakfast”:

  • Do not attempt when hungry. You can’t eat the set until you’re done shooting.
  • You can see there was some staging involved.  I took my time, experimenting with composition and placement, while getting hungry staring at my breakfast for about forty five minutes.
  • If you can, choose a position that leaves the background in the distance so it’s less detailed and softer.
  • Well lit for this one, but I still used a tripod to keep my camera in one position as I adjusted staging various items many times.
  • An exercise in aperture setting (f-number).  Use Aperture Priority Shooting Mode.
    • When you like the set up, take a number of photos at various apertures (f-numbers), then when you review your work, you can choose the amount of depth of field (DOF) you like best. In other words, the background will be blurred to varying degrees and you can select the preferred photo.

And one more…

3. Staging colored pencils on a white poster board (making like you’re a studio pro!)

This one is fun and easy. All you need is a set of colored pencils and a piece of white poster board. Shot on a kitchen counter.

Colored pencils by Marc Mantha

Staging colored pencils on white poster board.

Shooting tips for “Staging colored pencils”:

  • Freshly sharpen tips laid in an interesting fashion.
  • Have a bright light overhead.
  • Good meditation as you carefully lay the pencils down.
  • Are you going to use a White Balance Preset or Custom White Balance? Now you’re thinking!
  • Note the consideration for composition. The circle of pencils is not in the center of the frame.
  • Consider other interesting stagings and compositions.
  • Return the colored pencils to the weeping children.

These kinds of assignments help remind us that there is so much more than automatic shooting mode. Once you break out of it, creative control is yours…muahaha!

Show us what you can do!

Your comments, questions and suggestions are welcomed!

MAMA Photography

MAMA supports the creative minds of the planet earth. If you come across somebody doing anything interesting and out of the ordinary, or just something that makes you smile, we’d like to know about it.

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