December 2013

This week’s P52 assignment calls for an image that screams texture. The challenge for me is to find a suitable subject. There’s a variety of textures all around us but how to make them interesting? My starting point actually has nothing to do with texture, but more to do with an off-hand comment regarding still-life subjects “they don’t talk back”. This made me pause for thought, I enjoy portraiture but rarely spare the genre the time and effort afforded to my more patient models of Cognac, Bourbon and perfume bottles. My new challenge, how to find texture in portraits!

The first task is to set the lighting, I make such a great stand-in-dummy with my far off “what’s that coming over the hill” stare Texture in portraits - Self Portrait The second task is to find some appropriate texture-rich attire to help frame my intended victim model. Finally, I must motivate my intended model to don said clothing, stand just so, position eyes/head right there… I think it worked. It seems that these posts are becoming a chronicle of my P52 assignments. While it’s great to chart my progress, it’s clear that I need to find a personal project; a project that puts this new found knowledge to use. It’s not just the taking of photos, but the interacting with people outside my usual circle of friends, family and colleagues – in other words, experiencing the big (not so bad) world in the guise of a more rounded photographer. Texture in portraits - Woman Wearing Scarf and Fur Lined Hood

The Project 52 assignments are really helping me to understand how to light subjects. Our last assignment was a free-shoot so, drawing on my new found knowledge, I set myself the task of creating a portfolio-worthy image of a perfume bottle.  Here’s the image I submitted for the critique.

Men's Perfume Diesel Fuel for Life


Once I had my safe shot, I then attempted to photograph my wife’s perfume; this turned out to be much more of a challenge than I had anticipated. The bottle, designed to look like a diamond, is pleasing to the eye but trying to capture the beauty called on some resourceful techniques.

Initially, I wanted the bottle to glow with the idea of a “Diamond in the Rough” shining out.

Perfume Diamonds First Shot


The result was okay but I wanted the diamond facets to be clearly defined. Fortunately, I had shot several images with various lighting arrangements so after a few moments of editing I had a final and more appealing version.

The good news is that I have at least one image for my portfolio, if not two… mission achieved.

Perfume Diamonds Second Shot