Project 52

Week 3 - Still Life With A Flower

The assignment for Week 3 of my 52 Week project was to create a still life.  The brief stated that you had to include at least five objects from around the house, and a flower had to be present somewhere in the image.  I began walking around the house trying to figure out what would be interesting enough to make a still life, find items that would work together, and have a flower not be totally out of place in the shot.  That went on for more than a few days.  Mixed in was our vacation to France, and while Doug would beg to differ, I didn’t have enough of my gear with me to pull off a solid image…but I found plenty of opportunities for things to shoot while there – it figures!

Upon arriving at home, I again began to wander around the house.  I sat down at my desk and sketched out a few thoughts based on objects I had seen, and came up with a concept centered around a decanter of scotch and a cigar. 

I spent a few minutes gathering props from around the house – an old bow tie, some cufflinks, the decanter, a glass, the cigar and an ashtray.  Doug kindly ran to the store to buy some roses, while I styled a set on our dining room table.  The shot was going to be challenging, because a) the decanter and the glass were going to bounce light all over the place, and b) I wanted the cigar smoke to show up against the black background. 

I addressed the reflecting glass first, by not using direct flash but shooting through a white umbrella.  I also wanted to show of the texture of glass, so I lit the scene from the side.  I had to play with the angle of the flash and also ended up putting a diffusion material between the flash and the scene to reduce the reflection / highlights even more.  I wanted it to feel a bit moody, so I underexposed the flash a touch and stuck with one light source.  To not completely lose the right side of the photo in darkness, I put a large white card on that side of the image to bounce some light back into the scene.  Depending on the brightness of your monitor, you may be able to see the cigar smoke. 

The final product is the image below.  I’ve entitled it “Always a Groomsmen, Never a Groom.”  I hope you enjoyed the post.  Next week’s assignment…shoot an entrepreneur for a magazine cover.