The photographic explorations of a former film student.


Last week, I set out to photograph the entirety of some vases from my collection. I started by photographing the light-colored ones against a white background. Since I don’t have lights, I used a large window. Lack of lighting control resulted in an unevenly illuminated background, which was corrected in Photoshop. I went through the trouble of making an effort to do it in camera for two reasons. 1) It’s a challenge. 2) The closer you get it in camera, the easier it is to fix in post anyway. I started with a white vase on the white background for practice shooting white on white. 

Up next, my favorite pink vase. Although transparent, it has a beautiful iridescent coating on it. Charming, but tough to get on camera right.

The last vase I shot against white was an antique I got from my grandmother. Sadly, this vase bears the marks of wear. I love the shape and colors, though.  


Next, I moved on to the black background, partly for the sake of doing it, but mostly because I didn’t think this handmade vase would look good on white. I used a piece of black poster board for the background and lit the shot with a desk lamp and two mirrors. Having to fix the background in post again made me resolve to obtain a piece of black velvet larger than my poster board. The larger the piece, the more distance I can put between my “lights” and the background, besides the fact that velvet  absorbs light.

Last but not least, I did some more artistic shots. When it comes to shooting at home, I may not have lights, but I do have a wonderful prop library. For this shot of the antique vase, I used an old suitcase and a dried snowball bush flower. In addition to fitting with the age of the vase, they also went well with the colors. Window light provided a soft, reflective mood.

I also used  window light for this shot of the handmade vase. The lace leads to the vase and complements its curves. A dark wood background provides elegance without steeling the show.

The idea for this shot came to me in an odd way. I just set the vase down next to the nesting doll and noticed the colors went together. So I made a funny scene. Unfortunately, the vase is nasty to light. I used several pieces of poster board and a speedlight, but glare was still an issue.

One night, the nesting dolls go exploring in the library and find a vase . . .


Next Time: Knitted Rose Pins

At the request of my sister, I’m photographing her creations this week. They’re unique items, and I already have ideas for what to do with them.

Is there something you’d like to see me photograph or post about? Leave a comment and let me know!



4 responses

  1. I really enjoyed these pictures. The first one on the black background was stunning.

    January 17, 2011 at 8:29 pm

  2. Very nice photographs…good tips also 🙂

    January 20, 2011 at 8:30 am

  3. I love photography blogs! I love the pictures you did with the backgrounds…not a fan of the white background and the background picture was amazing!

    March 3, 2011 at 4:27 pm

  4. I love your Grandmother’s vase. The pink and blue one? I have one very similar, it’s made by Roseville Pottery. Yours may be very valuable. You can research them online. Happy hunting and excellent shots! – Amy

    June 3, 2011 at 12:23 am

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