Holiday Decor

Paper Winter Tree

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

It was a crafty weekend around here, and here’s one of the sweet projects I finished up yesterday: a paper winter tree created with cardstock and cupcake liners. It reminds me of a combination between those bottle brush trees and all the coffee filter crafts we’ve seen this past year. 

paper winter tree centsational girl

These are so inexpensive to create, and you can make them any height you want, tall ones from poster board and smaller ones with cardstock.

Supply list : white paper cupcake liners (I used 50 jumbo liners from Safeway for $1.50), white 12 x 12” cardstock or poster board, clear packaging tape (not shown), hot glue gun, and mini ornaments (I used a $1 gold grape flourish and pulled it apart).

paper tree supplies

 

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Tips for Magazine Quality Photography

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Hello all, thanks for the kind comments on this morning’s post on better home photography!  I have a great guest today, one I’ve had the pleasure to work with and observe create magic in front of and behind the lens.

Please welcome back Matthew Mead, the incredible stylist, writer, author, and photographer behind Holiday Magazine.  I invited him to share a few of his best tips for improving your photography, especially those detailed close ups he’s so brilliant at, and that desirable bokeh backdrop created with twinkle lights that we all love so much during the holidays. 

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”When it comes to taking beautiful images with your camera it truly is a “practice makes perfect” proposition.  But there certainly are some tricks of the trade that I have found repeatedly useful in photographing food and still life imagery.

tips for magazine quality photography

I own a Canon Rebel XTI camera which is truly my right arm when it comes to my work.  I have several different lens which I use for things like room shots and up close imagery like miniature items or tight details but the magic for me resides in the 50 mm 1.4 lens.  This lens allows me to select a sharp focal point with everything else in the frame falling off softly in a very palatable “out of focus” style.  I use multiple F-stops between 1.4 and 3.0 in order to achieve the desired degree of focus depending on the subject.

To begin, set your camera to manual. This will give you the most control over the image and allow you to manipulate the light to the best possible outcome.  I am a huge fan of auto focus and find it most helpful when shooting food to allow me to work quickly and select multiple focal points in just a few minutes.  The benefit of a manual shot also allows you to shoot RAW files which are the largest format file that you can create and will allow you the ability to manipulate your image in many different types of photo programs.

I shoot all daylight imagery so make sure you set yourself up in a situation that allows for plenty of light.  A shear curtain or “scrim” is useful in cutting the light if it’s too bright or harsh.  Remember that subjects that are light or white are best on the opposite side of the light source as they will become over lit or “blow out” in too much light.

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