the archives

photo styling behind the scenes

04.30.15

friday faffing | humphrey and grace

One of the questions I am asked fairly regularly is ‘how do you arrange a photo’ so I thought this would be as good a place as any to begin! Since tea and flowers are my favourite subject let’s start with them…

Today I have (clockwise from bottom left) clematis Montana, forget me nots, pulmonaria, bluebells, helichrysum and ferns, all gathered from the garden. I like to use whatever is on hand and growing at the moment. If it comes from the garden then I’m even happier.

For this photograph I’m using a little crackle glazed cup, it’s quite small but then so are these flowers. I start with a loose idea, a ring of flowers around the cup, so I’ll place a few sprigs and see how they look…

With a little trimming they lie quite happily. Then it’s really a case of layering until it looks right. I try and hide the cut end of the stems and lie the flowers so their faces can be seen…

friday faffing | humphrey and grace

I quite like the open circle here so I’ll keep it. Next for coffee and bluebells. I’ve snipped the bluebell flowers from the stems so I can dot them around the arrangement.

If I’m honest this is perhaps where I would stop, I am a fan of simplicity and feel that this is where I’m happy! But not this time, I’m adding some more to it for comparisons sake.

I love these ferns, one from a shady corner of the garden and the blue fern which lives in my kitchen (ok so that’s not exactly my garden…) I’m not sure they look right though, the arrangement feels unbalanced, maybe a little ‘top heavy’ so they’re out.

I thought I’d try some clematis buds and leaves. They work better than the fern fronds as they are more delicate although I wonder if it’s still a little top heavy. Perhaps by turning the arrangement round so the fullest part of the arrangement was at the bottom it may feel better balanced. Or perhaps by adjusting the angle of the photograph (see below) the end result is perfectly pretty!

So in answer to the question, that is how I arrange a photo. It doesn’t always work and sometimes I give up all together, I have a ten to fifteen minute rule by which I mean if it’s not working in that time either leave it or try again (I’ve definitely got quicker, it used to be a half hour rule…) Not all of the ‘ingredients’ made it into the photo either, I’ll keep them though and use them next time.

This photograph is styled for Friday faffing competition, if you follow me on Instagram you may well be aware that it is a styling challenge that I co-host with @katherinedorrington and @am_i_dreaming_now, we would love it if you joined in too!

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12 comments on “photo styling behind the scenes”

  1. This was a great insight – especially the tipping point where you would stop, or continue. I suppose the one thing it’s not possible to really share is your eye for composition, and that’s what makes your photos, or anyone else’s unique. I’ve really enjoyed spending the last few days observing & considering all that – you make it look easy, and of course it’s anything but! S x

    1. Thank you Sara! Such a lovely comment, and really that’s what I meant when I said that what you faff will be uniquely you! Finding a composition that is pleasing to your eye is the key, if you are happy with it then that’s all that matters xx

  2. Fascinating to read about your processes and the thought behind your beautiful pictures, Julia. What a gorgeous result! And congrats on getting your blog up and running – look forward to reading more :)

  3. Ahh. What a superb cheeky look at how it’s done (*rapidly making notes)! Fabulous! Thanks for sharing. X

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