Tropical Garden Christmas photo shoot

Saffron Marigold - Updated: July 1, 2014

The below video is a walk through of the photo shoot. I hope you find it fun to watch :-). Following the video, I have shared some more details on the photo shoot.

Lighting: 

We decided to do this shoot using natural light. The idea was to take a festive looking table picture with the Tropical Garden tablecloth. As a relatively large area would be in the picture, we would have needed powerful lights. Problem is we didn’t have any + we weren’t sure if we would know how to use them even if we arranged to have them. It was sometime mid December and we were in luck; we had a few bright sunny days in the forecast.

We wanted the lights in the Christmas tree and in the garland to show. We experimented around noon, but the light was too harsh. We decided to wait till around 3pm.

Props: 

A   trip to a close by art supplies store had got us ready with all the props we needed. We had setup the Christmas tree a few days back. The garland was precariously set on the mantle with many sticky tapes.

The gifts, i.e. empty boxes, were meticulously wrapped the night before. There were many of them and finding the boxes ended up being quite an effort. If it had been me, I would have simply wrapped which ever box I could find and get it done. Anisha, on the other hand, wanted every box to be of a certain dimension and we ended up on a treasure hunt to find the boxes that would finally work. Thinking about it now, we should have preserved the wrapped boxes for future use – would have saved considerable time when we do a similar photo shoot in the future (next Christmas?)

Photo shoot: 

To warm up, we took a few test shots. It’s always exciting when the first few shots come out just right. This was one such day. The Tropical Garden print was looking luscious. The glow from the candles perfect. The lights from the Christmas Tree and garland just right.

Below are a few test shots. To start off we weren’t too concerned about the specific camera settings. Overall, props were looking ok, and our decision to wait till 3pm was a good one. The Poinsettia in front would mostly have to move. The picture would have to be panned a little to the right and we had to figure out how to get rid of the shadow on the top left.

ISO 200, f/7.1, .3s, 31mm
ISO 200, f/7.1, .3s, 31mm
ISO 200, f/7.1, 0.5s, 31mm
ISO 200, f/7.1, 0.5s, 31mm

Little better. Poinsettia at the back. Fruit bowl is gone. Picture panned to the right.

ISO 200, f/7.1, 0.3s, 35mm
ISO 200, f/7.1, 0.3s, 35mm

Got the fruits back but this time on a darker plate. Looks better. We wanted the lights to pop a little more and increase the depth of field so that items at the back are more in focus too. After many tries, increasing the ISO to 400 at f/14 worked the best.

ISO 400, f/14, 0.6s, 35mm
ISO 400, f/14, 0.6s, 35mm

We decided to try using a wreath instead of the vase. But finally decided to use the picture with the vase on the mantle.

ISO 400, f/14, 0.8s, 35mm
ISO 400, f/14, 0.8s, 35mm

Now the final picture  when it went on the website. This is after some photoshop work for the additional text and background/borders. Overall, we took  50 pictures and the photo shoot took 50 minutes or so.

homepage_tg
Final home page

There you have it. If you enjoyed reading this post, do let me know by commenting below. Any ideas or suggestions are welcome too.