In my previous post about photographing peppers, I mentioned that they were intended for a commission that didn’t work out. This is the reshoot for that commission. I had a much more specific talk with the client about the look they were after. It turns out, it was pretty much the exact opposite of what I had done. I was under the false assumption that after looking at the dark paintings I was working on, the client would want something along the same lines.
So I took more photos. And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. Arranging peppers for a top down shot is much, much harder than it appears. The peppers either look very obviously arranged, flat, too spread out, or too clumped together. On top of that, I had a really hard time creating nice arrangements for a square format. For my final shot, I tossed the peppers on the floor and mostly left it. The haphazard approached worked better and looked more natural than arranging each pepper by hand. I do really like some of the deliberate arrangements though.
Since I’ve been practicing mostly dark photography this year, it was really fun to experiment with bright photography. The set up as essentially the same, but the effect is entirely different. My favorite part of all of this is the barn wood background. The boards are actually from a chicken coop that was given to us by our neighbor. It was rotting in his yard and we needed a coop so he told us we could have it if we moved it. It was a whole big thing to move it the 50 feet from his yard to ours that involved completely dismantling it. I’m pretty sure we didn’t reassemble it correctly because we had a pile of leftover boards. I found the least damaged boards I could and whitewashed one side to get their current look.
Here’s a quick peak at my set up in action and my lovely studio assistant, Ki-ki. She just loved messing with the white sheet hanging up. The little devil spent most of her time on the other side of the sheet attacking me through it whenever I got close enough. But she was a fun distraction from the tedious job of arranging peppers. 🙂
This is the final image selected. It’s the result of trying to make the peppers look dimensional, natural, and well composed. It isn’t perfect, but it was the most successful, natural looking shot and most importantly the client loves it. A few things need to be addressed to create a better composition, but it is easy to move things around in a sketch.
When I paint, I don’t just copy my reference photo. It’s my normal practice to change things so they work better as a painting. For a while I had a problem with my husband directly comparing my paintings to the photos and focusing on things that were different; things I either changed on purpose or messed up and didn’t mind or even liked. I kept telling him that an exact copy wasn’t my goal, but he couldn’t help but compare them so now I ask him to critique without looking at the references. This is the same reason I don’t normally post photos of the references with my paintings. I think the comparison is an unnecessary distraction. Has anyone else run into this problem?