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Best Work From COMM 316

Compiling my best work from comm 316 into a portfolio

For the last 4 months, I had the immense pleasure to be involved in COMM 316 also known as Professional Imaging. I learned so much from my teacher, Caryn Esplin, and my very talented classmates. I was able to build a portfolio with a wide variety of images and styles.

During this process, I discovered that although I like portrait and landscape photography, I also have a love for food and product photography. I love arranging the food and the product and making little aesthetic pieces to place beside them. I would say my photography style leans towards landscapes, food, and product photography.  Most of the photography that I would like to do in the future will be based in content creation for social media, so I am very excited to continue developing my style. I played around with different editing styles and as of right now I have decided to have rich browns and oranges and blue skies.

I love landscape photography because it allows me to see the beauty of the world through a new lens, literally. I love recreating the images I take to have a different mood or style. With food photography, I love how I can help people experience what something tastes like before they’ve even taken a bite. Product photography makes me so excited for every product I photograph. I love helping people feel excited about their purchases.

Below you can see some of the best work I have created throughout the duration of Comm 316, many of which involve landscape, food, and product photography. To see more of my best work you can view my portfolio by clicking on the portfolio tab in my menu.

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Comm 316 Best Work

COMM 316 PORTFOLIO || My Best Work This Semester

Winter Wonderland Food & Product Guide

The Need for a Winter Wonderland Food & Product Guide

Let’s set the scene. You’ve just come home from a long day from work. You are exhausted. You plop down on the couch and start scrolling through social media. You’re a little hungry but you don’t know what you want until you see a sponsored ad from your favorite fast-food restaurant (for me it’s Taco Bell). Immediately you start craving that food. We are extremely impressionable as consumers and having quality food and product photography helps increase the likelihood of a purchase. Justuno reported that “93% of consumers consider visual content to be the key deciding factor in a purchasing decision.” Because food and product photography is absolutely vital when it comes to online sales and food purchases, I decided to put my food and product photography skills to the test by creating a winter wonderland food and product guide.

My personal style is taking landscapes and food and product photography. My editing style leans more toward a moody vibe with high contrast and having orange and yellow tints slightly boosted to create an autumn feeling. Although I didn’t use my normal editing style for my project, I did use similar editing techniques to brighten the reds and whites in my photos. For my project, I took photos of 5 products and 5 foods and within each photo, I used backdrops and embellishments to create a winter wonderland theme. I used external lighting to help bring focus to the foods and products that I was photographing.

I chose this project as my final project for the year because I really wanted to push myself to see what I could do. I wanted to strengthen my food and product photography skills as those are the ones that I foresee myself using the most in my future career. My goal is to eventually become a social media manager and I feel that having strong food and product photography skills will help me be more valuable as I can help create content as well as plan the campaigns the photos will be part of. I chose to do a winter wonderland food and product guide because it was the most cost-effective theme as I already own a plethora of Christmas and winter wonderland themed decorations.

I have learned so much during the last few months. The most valuable thing I have learned is what makes an effective product photo. I loved learning how to shoot SQIBB (studio quality invisible black background) and becoming more and more familiar with my camera settings. I feel that I have definitely grown more into the type of photographer I would want to be and I feel more comfortable in professional settings and offering my services.

This winter wonderland food and product guide was the icing on the cake for my learning experience. I feel confident that I could produce effective and visually pleasing photos for an employer because of what I have learned from this project. I hope to continue to develop my eye for food and product photography because I truly believe that effective food and product photography will either make or break a business.

Winter Wonderland Food & Product Guide Process

I learned so much about external lighting during this project. I had to be creative because I didn’t have as many lights as I wanted. I plan on doing a similar project like this in the upcoming future so this was the perfect trial run. I purchased a variety of linoleum tiles to use as backdrops so that I could experiment with what backgrounds looked best with which products. I eventually decided on the marble tile as the wall and the wood as the base.

I used a light on a stand, a reflector, fairy lights, and my phone flashlight to create the lighting that you see in these photos. To see all of my photos be sure to check out my Winter Wonderland blog posts. In post, I raised the shadows, upped the contrast, and brightened the red and white colors so that they would be the most vibrant so that you could easily tell there was a winter wonderland theme in the project.

Originally, I had planned for a portrait sized magazine book but then decided against it as I had taken most of my photos in landscape, so they didn’t look quite right squished.  I created the rectangles to help bring variety in the negative space while being a slight nod to candy cane stripes. I used my brand’s fonts for the title and body text.

If you would like to learn more about my process or would like your own food and product photos captured contact me here.

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Click the photo below to see the full PDF:

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Ultimate Winter Wonderland Food Tour

Winter Wonderland Recipe Guide

Winter Wonderland Food Photography: Part 2

Completing The Winter Wonderland Themed Food Photography Shoot

Welcome to the final part of my winter wonderland themed food photography photoshoot. This is the second part of a two-part blog series of food photography that is winter wonderland themed. This blog post focuses on baked goods.

I decided to go with winter wonderland theming for my food photography because I absolutely love Christmas. It just brings all the warm feeling into my heart and with the crazy year we all have had so far, why not start Christmas a little early by photographing things that were winter wonderland themed.

To kick off my winter wonderland food photography with baked goods, I purchased some baked goods from Walmart. I picked up some carrot muffins and a small individual cherry pie. To style my muffins for the winter wonderland food photography photoshoot I pulled out one of my Christmas dish rags, a wire cooling rack, and some fake pine cones and branches. I took several photos from a variety of angles but below are my favorite ones.

For my second baked good, the individual cherry pie, I removed the dishrag and started photographing it as if it were a big pie. I think the light background helped give it the winter wonderland theming that I was hoping for. I also sliced into the pie to be able to give my audience an idea of the texture and filling inside. For that photo, I placed a red napkin underneath the pie to help create repetition of the color red throughout the photo.

Overall, I am quite pleased with how the photos turned out. I very much feel like you can feel the warmth of a happy and joyful winter wonderland radiating from this food photography.

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The Complete Guide to Food Photography Pricing (Part 2)

Winter Wonderland Food Photography: Part 1

Setting the Stage for Winter Wonderland themed Food Photography

These photos are the companion to my Winter Wonderland Product Photography blog posts. This time I decided to take photos of various foods while theming them for winter wonderland. I made sure to include lots of white and lights. I also made sure the reds were saturated to help give the winter wonderland holiday look.

For my first food I made hot chocolate and placed it in cute gingerbread mugs I found at Target. I then placed marshmallows and sprinkled cinnamon and red sprinkles to make the hot chocolate look attractive. I placed a string of lights in the background to add more light to the photo and bring the winter wonderland warmth to the photo. For the second photo, I added whipped cream instead of marshmallows for variety.

For the second set of photos, I wanted to bring the winter wonderland feeling, so I chose to photograph peppermint bark. Since peppermint is a usual winter treat I figured it would make a great addition to my winter wonderland food photography. The peppermint bark was styled with white chocolate and crushed candy canes which helped add a variety of color. I decided to add lights to help add depth to my food photography. I also added whole candy canes in the other photo to help add more color to my winter wonderland food photography peppermint bark.

For the third set of photos, I photographed food photography of white chocolate colored Oreos. These Oreos were mostly white with little flecks of red due to candy cane crumbs which definitely seemed like a treat that would be eaten in winter wonderland. To continue with my winter wonderland theme I added pine cones and candy canes to help sell that cozy winter feeling.

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Winter Wonderland Product Photography: Part 2

A Winter Wonderland Themed Product Photography Photoshoot

In my last post I talked about my decision to do a winter wonderland themed product photography photoshoot. If you are wondering how it has been going, here is your update! I added two products to my winter wonderland product photoshoot, and I am quite pleased with how they turned out. I styled each photo with fake branches and pine cones.

The first winter wonderland product I shot was aromatherapy. I don’t know about you but when winter comes around I am all about aromatherapy. So I decided to shoot some of my oils and spaced some pine cones in between the gaps to help sell the winter wonderland vibes. In the background, you can see the fake tree with berries and fairy lights I placed. For the second photo, I included the oils in a Santa sleigh to help continue the feeling of a fun winter wonderland product.

The second product I chose to photograph for my winter wonderland product photography was Vince Camuto cologne (which smells amazing by the way). To help bring the winter wonderland to this product I decided to set the lotion on a wooden block that I had and I surrounded it with pine cones and branches. I think overall if someone looked at these photos they could feel the winter wonderland theming and that it would make them want to purchase these products.

To help elevate the winter wonderland feel in my product photography when editing I lightened the photos and added the red color so it would really feel like Christmas.

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Winter Wonderland Shoot

Styled Shoot in Winter Wonderland – Part 2

Winter Wonderland Product Photography: Part 1

Creating Winter Wonderland Product Photography With Bath & Body Works Products

I decided to practice my product photography skills with a themed photoshoot. With the holidays coming up I decided to get in the mood by having a winter wonderland-themed product photography shoot. I absolutely love Bath & Body Works, so I went and stocked up on some of their winter scents. I thought the packaging would help sell the winter wonderland theme especially when I paired the products with artificial pine cones and tree branches.

I started by taking photos of the candles. I wanted to accent the candles with winter wonderland themed objects that would also help the colors in the product stand out more. For the Frosted Cranberry candle, I set the candle on a red and green dish rag and piled pine cones, berries, and tree branches. The red rag and berries helped bring out the red in the candle. For the second candle I went for lighter tones and decided to pair it with gold and simple pine cones. I used linoleum tiles to create the backdrops so there could be that light airy feeling that many people associate with winter wonderland.

For the fine fragrance mist, I wanted a multiple product shot and a single product shot. I styled the fine fragrance mists with tree branches and a santa hat to help sell the winter wonderland theme. For the single product photography shot I used a dark background and a singular branch with berries.

The next item was Bath & Bodyworks PocketBacs (germ-x). I grabbed several of these in winter wonderland themed colors. I placed the frosted cranberry scent onto one of my fake branches because I thought it paired well with the berries on the branch. The product photo I had all the pocketbacs and styled them with the branch and some candy canes to help bring in that winter wonderland feeling.

In post I edited the photos in Lightroom and bumped up the red saturation and upped the exposure. I throught having a higher contrast with the reds would help bring more attention to the product itself and help create an even stronger winter wonderland feeling.


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Winter Wonderland Styled Shoot (Part 2)

100+ Product Photography Ideas

Landscape Photography: Grand Teton National Park

LandScape Photo Ops

On the second day of my photography excursion I had the opportunity to visit Grand Teton National Park, which is gorgeous for landscape photography. I visited Teton Pass, a waterfall, and String Lake. I also got to photograph some moose and a pronghorn antelope!

The national parks are perfect for landscape photography as they provide perfect opportunities to use foreground, mid-ground, and background which helps create dimension and visual interest. Landscape photography is one of my favorite forms of photography because everything is just natural beauty. Every moment out of nature is different and to be able to capture a moment through a lens is such a wonderful opportunity and blessing.

For the landscape shots, I shot them in bracketing mode to better expose the highlights and the shadows. I then upped the saturation in post to draw more attention to the colors. For the wildlife photos I shot them using a 300 mm zoom lens and a fast shutter speed to capture their movements.

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GRAND TETON PHOTOGRAPHY: FANTASTIC PHOTO SPOTS

Grand Teton Photography Locations

Landscape Photography: Yellowstone & Island Park

The perfect Photo Spots

This last fall I had the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful spots that nature has to offer. A group of photographers and I took a photography excursion to Yellowstone and Island Park. I have visited Island Park before but I had never visited Yellowstone National Park before. It was amazing how beautiful each place was. I genuinely feel that each photo cannot do Island Park and Yellowstone justice.

I took several landscape photos in Island Park and Yellowstone. I bracketed most of these images in order to properly expose the sky and the foreground.

Island Park

In Island Park, I visited River Confluence and Buffalo River, both of which were absolutely stunning. I am so grateful I was able to photograph some landscape shots!

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Yellowstone

I had an amazing time visiting Yellowstone National Park for the very first time. I got to see so many wonderful sites like Mount Hayes and several geysers. I also got to see beautiful elk and geese. Nature is truly stunning! I love that I got the opportunity to capture these amazing sites.

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Photography Around The Greater Yellowstone Region

Park Tours, Wildlife Safari and Photo Tours

Golden Hour Landscapes

Shooting Landscapes during Golden Hour

Photographing nature is one of my favorite things to do with photography. I just love how instead of manufacturing a scene, I get to work with just what is in front of me. When I shoot landscape photos, I tend to be more observant of the beauty of nature all around me. Golden hour is typically the first hour after sunrise or the hour right before sunset. Golden hour gets its name from the golden hue that is cast in the sky. One way to up your landscape and nature photography game is to shoot your photos during golden hour because of the beautiful colors that appear in the sky.

Below you will find a few photos that I took just recently during golden hour.

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Styled Fashion Shoot: Group

Bring Together Multiple Styles

During the styled fashion shoot, I took several categories of photos. I took photos of the men, women, and accessories, but this post is bringing all the models and the different styles of fashion together. The most important thing I learned when posing these styled group shots is that there needs to be a visual connection. Proximity matters. I placed the models where they were close to each other and sometimes overlapping to create visual interest.

It was interesting bringing the two different fashion styles together but I think the energy of the models helps make the photo look like a whole instead of just random elements. When placing people for group photos it is recommended to pay attention to design elements like repetition (with the clothes) and tangents.

Overall, I think the group photos from the styled fashion shoot look cohesive and deliver the style that I was going for within the photos.

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Styled Fashion Shoot: Men

Men’s Fashion

For my styled fashion shoot, I asked two men to model for me. Each man had a different style of dress. The first man was asked to dress in all denim to match his female counterpart while the second man was asked to dress more formally.

One of the models was slightly camera-shy, so I had to prompt him differently in order to get more appealing photos for my styled fashion shoot. I shot a variety of poses with each model to help show off their clothes and bring emotion to each of my images. Fashion not only looks good but it needs to feel good, so conveying emotion is absolutely vital. The greater the emotion or mood that is displayed the more enticing the clothes will be to the consumer.

After the styled fashion shoot, I edited each image in Adobe Lightroom and made additional edits in Adobe photoshop. Overall, I think the styled fashion shoot was a success!

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Styled Fashion Shoot: Women

Women’s Fashion

For this photo-shoot, a group of photographers and I contacted several models and planned a styled fashion shoot. We had two different styles that we were going for. The first style consisted of mostly denim to give a casual and edgy look. The second style was more formal consisting of a dress and booties. I gave both models different prompts to take shots from different angles. With each pose, I wanted to convey a feeling. If this had been a fashion shoot done within the industry it would be important to give the audience that would be purchasing these clothes and experience through the image.

After the styled fashion shoot, I edited the photos in Adobe Lightroom and made slight touch-ups in Adobe Photoshop. I added logos to the last two photos to show what these photos would look like if they were branded by a clothing company.


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Branded Fashion Photos

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Styled Fashion Shoot: Things

Photographing Fashion Things: A New Type of Product photography

An outfit is not complete without accessories. This also applies to fashion shoots. To help complete my fashion shoot I shot photos of a variety of accessories including, rings, bracelets, and aesthetic items. My main priority was to bring proper attention to the accessories. I accomplished this goal by shooting with a low depth of field and by exploring different framing options. I also varied the angle I shot the photos to create more visually pleasing accessory photos.


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Models With Things: Showing Use

Accessories are beautiful but no matter how beautiful the accessory what matters is how it looks while being worn. I had both of my female models use accessories. It is important to photograph things or accessories being worn or used because it allows the view of the photo to connect with the photo in a new way. By bringing in a human element people can begin to imagine what the accessory will look like on themselves which can lead to making a sale.

I also added logos to the below photos to help show what the photos would look like as if they were actual advertisements you would see online or in a magazine.

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Learn More

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Before & After: Using LUTs

Using Color Lookup Themes

I have never used LUTs or color lookup themes, until recently. LUTs aren’t my preferred way of editing, but they do help bring a mood to a photo. For example, look at the photo below that I edited using LUTs.

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Before: Initial Edits

Before I started editing with LUTs I decided to edit the original photo. This would give me a basis for my photo before I started adding color lookup themes. I added some contrast, edited his eyes, and made the color warm. Below is a photo of those edits.

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Adding Luts

To add a color lookup theme in Adobe Photoshop, I created a color lookup adjustment layer. I played around with several LUTs and opacities. I eventually decided on a mixture of three LUTs.

This first photo is with the Late Sunset LUT.

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Next, I added the Beach Bypass color lookup theme.

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Finally, I added the Foggy Night LUT.

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To get the final product shown in the beginning I adjusted the opacity of the different LUTs and added a mask to help the model’s skin look more natural.

Learn More

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Discovering Macro-Photography

Macro-photography: A World Right Beneath Your nose

I absolutely love macro-photography. It is a type of photography that I never get bored with. No matter what your subject is there is always a new detail to be discovered. I decided to try to rediscover the world that we take for granted through the lens of a macro filter.

To create macro-photography you need a long lens or a macro lens. If you are using a long lens you will also need macro tubes or macro filters. I captured the photos below using a macro filter.  I used 2+ and 4+ filters. At one point I even layered my macro filters to create +6 magnification.

Macro Things

Below are macro images I captured of various things that had interesting design, texture, and color.

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Macro Flowers & Fruits

Here are some macro photos that I captured of flowers and fruits. By far, macro-photography of flowers are my absolute favorite.

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Learn More

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Before & After: Editing Texture

Elevating Edits By Adding Texture

Something that can really help make a photo pop is editing in texture. Adding texture creates more visual interest and can add more depth. For example, look at the photos below, I added the texture in the background. Keep scrolling to see the photos before I edited in the texture.

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The Before: The Very Beginning

Below are what these photos looked like before I made my initial edits. The colors aren’t as dynamic and there are some flaws on the skin. As you can see there are also some pink hues on the white backdrop.

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Preparing to Add Texture: Initial Edits

To prep the images before I started editing in texture, I made initial edits to the model’s eyes and skin. I brightened her eyes and I got rid of some minor skin blemishes. I then edited the color to my liking. For the first photo, I decided to keep the warmer tones. For the second photo, I knew I was going to be using an ice texture as a background, so I wanted the picture to be more on the cold side.

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Editing Texture Into The Photo

Once I was ready, I brought the textures into Adobe Photoshop and adjusted the textures to my liking. The paint texture was originally black on a white background but I didn’t like that, so I changed it in Camera Raw to blue. I got both of my textures from textures.com. Below are the textures I used.

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I then created a mask so that I could reveal the model while having the texture be in the background. Once I had the model how I wanted her, I then played around with the blending modes and the opacities of the textures. Overall, I would 100% recommend playing around with editing texture into photos. It can make a world of difference.

Learn More

How To Add Texture Backgrounds To Your Photos

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Portraits With External Lighting

Mixing Portrait photography with lighting

I love portrait photography. It just amazes me how many ways a person can be photographed! A simple portrait can become even better by adding a little light to your subject, so they stand out more and have more complimentary shadows. The following four photos I took while in Grand Teton National Park. For the first set up I had a flash bender and a little leafy area in a parking lot.

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For the next two portraits with external lighting, I switched locations. I went to String lake.

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To polish off the portraits I took with external lighting I edited my photos in Lightroom and watermarked them. I am quite pleased with the result. I have never liked using external lighting with portraits because I prefer a more natural feel, but these photos prove that natural-looking photos can be achieved using external lighting.

Learn More

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Epic Portrait

What Is An Epic Portrait?

An epic portrait is a portrait that correctly exposes the sky and the subject. A lot of portraits perfectly capture the subject but often forget the beauty that is found in the sky. By showing both the sky and the subject within a portrait it gives the viewer more to appreciate, more variety to look at and it allows your subject to feel EPIC.

Creating An Epic Portrait

To create an epic portrait, I had my friend Ryan model for me. I first took a photo  where he was exposed well. Although he was exposed well you can see in the photo that the sky behind him is completely blown out.

NinaMantle-EpicPortraitskyblownout

Next I took a photo of Ryan but I exposed it so the sky would show up. As you can see below, you can’t see my subject at all.

NinaMantle-EpicPortraitSubjectunderexposed

I then took a third shot that would be my epic portrait. Because I wanted to have the sky and my subject exposed, I had to use external lighting. I left my settings on my camera to where the sky would be seen but my subject would be dark and I had the light pointed at him so that he would be well exposed when the flash went off.

NinaMantle-epicportraitwithlight

To bring my epic portrait to even more epic proportions I edited it in Adobe Lightroom where I bumped up the contrast and saturation to bring more color to the portrait.

 

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Epic Portraits

Epic Portrait Series

 

Indoor Product Photography

Exploring Lighting with Indoor Product Photography

Product photography is vital in the world we live in today. Many brands and businesses rely on social media to advertise and sell their products which require the use of multiple product photos. The trick to creating interesting photos especially when photographing a product indoors is to switch up the lighting.

Indoor product#1 using Natural and continuous light 

The first product I decided to photograph was a set of books that I received for Christmas last year. I am an avid reader, so I was excited to photograph a subject that I love.

I tried to capture the books from different angles to create a variety. It was a bit of a struggle since there aren’t many interesting sides to a book. I tried to highlight the cover. I used natural lighting as the main source of light and used a small continuous light to bright light to the more shadowy areas.

Indoor Product #2 – Speed Light

I really struggled with my second product. I had originally wanted to use bath bombs that were in plastic packaging but I accidentally damaged them when I tried to place the bag in some bubbles which activated the fizzy part of the bath bombs.

I then decided to use some of my favorite perfume. I placed a mirror beneath my perfume and sprayed some water onto the perfume and mirror to help create some texture. I then used a flash bender to highlight only the product and blackout the background.

As far as indoor product photography goes, I am quite happy with the way the light highlights my product. The background is simple which also helps bring the focus to my product.

Learn more

The Beginner’s Guide to Product Photography [Tutorial + Examples]

How to Master Product Photography on a Tight Budget (We Did it With Less Than $50)

Harvest Muffin Food Photography

The Need for Food Photography

When it comes to food, our eyes can be just as hungry as our stomachs so it is important that food looks appetizing when it is photographed.

I decided to try my hand at some food photography. Harvest muffins are my favorite fall time dessert, snack, breakfast, treat, you get the idea, I eat them all the time! I decided to photograph my favorite muffins to hopefully show the world how delicious these muffins are.

Food Photography: Creating an Experience

The main challenge for me was capturing the textures of the muffin to help my audience experience the muffin visually instead of through their taste buds. I started to create this experience by taking up-close shots of the muffins so that my audience could have an idea of what the muffin looked like and felt like.

FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY: Styling the Food

It may sound silly, but presentation matters. How the food is presented will change the mood of the environment. For my muffins, I wanted a warm cozy mood, so I placed my muffins in a small basket and surrounded it with fall foliage.

Creating Action in Food Photography

To put it all together I decided I wanted to add some movement to my shot. I initially played around with having someone cut a muffin or drizzling honey or butter on to the muffin but I didn’t feel like it would make sense because I have never placed honey or butter on these muffins. I eventually decided to warm up chocolate and squeeze it in between the two muffin halves and pull it apart. This felt more natural as there is already chocolate in the muffin. The end result had a nice chocolate stretch helping the muffin appear moist, gooey, and fresh out of the oven.

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Food Photography Basics

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Outdoor Product Photography

Experimenting with Outdoor Product Photography

Product photography is possibly one of the most important forms of photography because, without it, we would have to change the entire way we sell items. Product photography can make or break a product before a customer has the opportunity to experience it through themselves. 

I decided that because product photography is so vital, that I needed to learn how to do it. 

Product #1 – Bath & Body Works Lotion

The first product I decided to experiment with was lotion from Bath & Body Works. I used to work for Bath & Body Works and during my time with the company, I accumulated more body care items than I care to admit. I decided to put my plethora of lotion to good use by photographing it.

I decided to use Champaign, Apple, & Honey because the colors matched the incoming autumn colors that I was beginning to see outside. I knew that I wanted to do outdoor product photography for this project because many of the scents that make up perfumes and lotions come from the outdoors. 

The first shot I created by simply placing the lotion on a table. I had the river in the background with some vegetation, so I was pleased with the composition in the basic sense. I did immediately notice that I didn’t feel like I could experience the lotion from just looking at the photo, so I decided to try two more times. 

The second set up I think is my favorite. I found some leaves that had the perfect colors to match the lotion’s packaging and placed them at the base of the bottle. I feel that adding the leaves helped the product feel more natural in the environment. I also captured some chopped wood in the background to help sell the outdoorsy, natural feel.

The third and final image I captured of the lotion was similar to the image that I shot above except that I changed a few of the elements. Just like the shot above I placed the lotion on wood and surrounded it with leaves. This time though, I found some berries that I thought would help sell the scent of the product. Although the product name doesn’t mention berries I felt that It would be a nice touch since berries are used in many fragrances and the shade of the berries matched the lotion packaging perfectly.

Product #2 – Limited Edition HydroFlask

For my second product, I decided to use my handy dandy Hydroflask. I knew that I was going to be taking outdoor product photography photos, so I thought that my Hydroflask would be a great addition since many people use Hydroflasks for hiking and other outdoorsy activities.

I’m not going to lie, capturing a decent photo of my Hydroflask was more challenging than I anticipated. I was at a beautiful little waterfall but every time I set my Hydroflask where I wanted it the water would carry it away! I was finally able to wedge my bottle between two rocks to keep it from floating away. 

Because the waterfall as so beautiful I tried to capture it in different ways while highlighting my Hydroflask. I used a slower shutter speed and a tripod to make the water look soft. I took several different photos doing this technique. Sometimes I zoomed out, others I zoomed in. 

I also tried capturing the water where I got crisp bubbles.

I am not sure which style is my favorite for the Hydroflask, but either way, I think having the bottle surrounded by water was extremely vital. I like how in many of the photos you can see water running off the bottle from the many times the Hydroflask tried to escape. I think having the water on the Hydroflask helped give it a purpose and lived-in feel that is important when people are considering purchasing a product.

Learn More about Outdoor Product Photography

Product Photography Tips for Outdoor Shoots

14 Product Photography Tips to Make You Look Like a Pro

Recreating the About Time Movie Poster

Recreating the About Time Movie Poster: The Why

I decided I wanted to put my photoshop skills to the test by recreating the About Time movie poster. The photo selected for a movie poster is possibly one of the most important decisions made when advertising a movie. If the photo doesn’t look interesting, no one will want to see the movie.

I wanted to learn what went into creating a movie poster, so I decided to recreate the poster from About Time, a movie about a young man who learns he can travel through time. During his travels, he learns the importance of not taking simple moments for granted. The love of family and learning to love the mundane things of life is why I adore this movie so much.

Below is the original About Time movie poster that I was trying to recreate.

The Challenges of recreating the about time movie poster

I knew recreating the About Time movie poster that I would be in for a challenge.

The first challenge was capturing a photo of my husband and me without help. In order to do this, I practiced posing in front of the mirror so that the pose would feel comfortable and natural. I then went to a local garden with my husband and set up my camera on a tripod.

I framed the shot around my husband and focused my camera on him. I set the timer for ten seconds, so I would have enough time to press the button to capture the photo and get into position. In general, this system worked except for my husband looking and feeling extremely uncomfortable in all the shots.

I then had to focus on getting a genuine reaction out of my husband while taking a self-portrait. I did this by whispering inside jokes that made him laugh.

To me, it was important to capture genuine emotion in the photo because the emotions in the movie poster looked so natural and genuine. I felt that having these genuine and natural poses and reactions would help sell my recreation of the movie poster even more.

Below is the image I captured in the gardens.

recreating the rain

The second and most trying challenge was recreating rain onto my movie poster.

The original movie poster had large streams of rain. I tried to create this rain by creating a layer and adding a noise filter. I then added a motion blur. The motion blur helped take the little noise grains and make them long like rain droplets. In order to make the rain look more realistic, I added two layers of noise grain with motion blur going in different directions as if it was being blown in the wind.

On paper, this sounds easy but due to the amount of noise I created, I found very quickly that my computer would shut down and delete my work while I was editing the rain. I learned this can be caused by a lack of ram in the computer. My computer restarting wouldn’t have been a massive issue if I could have saved my work but due to the size of the photoshop file being over 2gb I was unable to save my work, which meant I spent several hours recreating rain.

Bringing It All Together

When I was finally able to export my rainy photo I was then able to start adding text. I chose a plain san serif font for the title text and added a slight drop shadow to help it have depth. I also added a small summary at the bottom of the poster in the classic movie poster font. 

I added the names of my husband and me above the text in a serif font to create contrast and hierarchy between the title font. I also decided to add more rain because I felt in my original edit the rain wasn’t noticeable enough. 

Below is my final recreation of the About Time movie poster.

Overall, I loved creating this movie poster. I learned so much about editing and what creates an effective advertisement for a movie. If you are thinking about creating your own movie poster, I would definitely recommend it!

Learn More

Learn Photoshop by Recreating Movie Posters

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Studio Quality Invisible Black Background

What Is a Studio quality invisible black background?

SQIBB stands for studio-quality invisible black background. It is accomplished by using a single light and synching it with a flash trigger. When the flash goes off, the light will highlight the subject of the photo while the background remains black. Having a studio quality invisible black background is extremely convenient because it creates amazing opportunity for photography.

Learning to create a studio quality invisible black background

I had never tried capturing a studio quality invisible black background photo before but I love the style, so I was very excited to get started. My initial attempts were very disappointing.Despite becoming discouraged, I found that having someone point the light at my subject helped me get a better light and a stronger black background.

NinaMantle-StudioQualityInvisibleBlackBackgroundbts

 

Conquering SQUIBB

Once I got over my initial insecurities with capturing studio quality invisible black backgrounds photos I was able to capture some awesome shots. I took the following three photos after being introduced to SQIBB. The photos of the bear and the baseball mitt were both taken outside, which was tricky trying to combat the natural light.

NinaMantle-StuidoQualityInvisibleBlackBackgroundbasebasllmit

NinaMantle-StuidoQualityInvisibleBlackBackgroundbear

NinaMantle-StudioQualityInvisibleBlackBackgroundflower

I even decided to try my hand with studio quality invisible black background (SQIBB) portraits! I had the beautiful Megan White model for me and I was able to capture the portrait below. My favorite part about the photo is that the black background helps bring more attention to her nice green eyes.

NinaMantle-StudioQualityInvisibleBlackBagroundgirlwithhat

Studio quality invisible black background At Home

After a few days had passed I wanted to verify that I didn’t let me newfound studio quality invisible back background skills to go to waste, so I decided to do a little product photography.I used my Apple Watch and some artificial flowers I had to create a photo I felt would highlight the watch.

I set up on my grey kitchen counter and once I started shooting photos I noticed that the counter was throwing off the color scheme. I didn’t own a black backdrop so I took a solid black t-shirt and laid it beneath my products and resumed taking photos. Below is one of my favorite photos that I took. As you can see, it looks like I have a  studio quality invisible black background behind my watch. You do not see my counter and microwave in the photo.

NinaMantle-StudioQualityInvisibleBlackbackgroundapplewatchandflowers

Overall, I think creating studio quality invisible black backgrounds is a super fun photography technique and I would like to encourage anyone who is reading this to try it. You never know you might find that you love it!

Ordinary Spot, Extraordinary Shot

Elevating an ordinary spot into an extraordinary shot

There are so many beautiful views that we take for granted each day. Growing up, my mom always encouraged me to stop and smell the roses. So I decided to go out and smell the figurative roses of ordinary spots that I visit to find and capture an extraordinary shot. There are so many ordinary spots that I frequently visit so I went to these ordinary spots to search for some extraordinary shots.

The First Ordinary Spot and The Extraordinary Shot

The first ordinary spot I tried to see in an extraordinary way was in my apartment clubhouse. There is a foosball table. I haven’t ever played foosball but I have definitely walked past this table several times.

NinaMantle-OrdinaryShotExtraOrdinarySpotSpot1

Looking at the table from afar it appears exceptionally ordinary, just a regular foosball table. But that was the issue. I was looking at the table in an ordinary way. Once I tried looking at the table from different angles, I began to see an extraordinary beauty that I was missing before. So I chose this place to capture my extraordinary shot.

Below is the extraordinary shot I was able to capture by looking from a new angle.

NinaMantle-OrdinaryShotExtraOrdinarySpotFoosballtable

 

The Second Ordinary Spot with The Extraordinary Shot

My second location was even more of an ordinary spot to me. I decided to take a closer look at a flower bush right at the base of the stairway that leads to my apartment.

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I decided to get out my macro lens to get an up-close look at the details of the flowers. In the extraordinary shot, I captured you can see all the tiny extraordinary details that make focusing on the smaller things absolutely worth it!

NinaMantle-OrdinarySpotExtraOrdinaryShotflowerhead

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Ordinary Spot, Extraordinary Shot!

Ordinary Spot, Extraordinary Shot