Friday, June 22, 2012

Open Studio Friday: Jen Cameron

Welcome! We are going to be spending most of our time outside today so I can show you my photography set-up during nice the weather months.

The back of our house faces a southwest direction, which is perfect for later afternoon/early evening photo shoots.

When I first walk out the back door, I step onto this small deck. It's not really a deck in the traditional sense...mostly just a method for getting from the kitchen to the back yard.

Floor of back deck glass addictions jennifer cameron

Example of photo taken on the deck: 

Modern Terra glass addictions jennifer cameron

We built this house almost 6 years ago and the wood of the deck is a beautiful weathered gray...perfect for taking bead photos. However, hubs threatens he's going to stain it every single year. So far I've prevented it. We'll see how much longer that lasts...

Deck railing glass addictions jennifer cameron

The railing of the deck is also a great spot to take bead pics. Not only do you get the look of the weathered wood, but also back lighting from the sun. 

Mushroom Hunting in Wonderland Lampwork Focal Bead by Glass Addictions

The deck is a really handy because I will also sometimes use this post to take photos (thank goodness I always have a "helper" close by...)

Jun 21 2012 048 resized

An example of the post in use:

Davy Jones' Locker 

Once I make my way off the deck, I still have several options. We have had lots of stone retaining walls built over the years that serve various purposes...mostly so I have someplace to take bead and jewelry pics!

We had this fire pit area added onto our patio last summer. (Ignore the stripe of dead grass. We are getting ready to make that area into a landscaped bed.) This area is perfect when I've waited a bit too late to take photos or if it's overcast (like it was when I took this picture because we actually got RAIN yesterday!) Otherwise, this area gets too much sun and is too bright. 

Firepit retaining wall jennifer cameron

Here I've piled up beads ready to have their portrait taken.

Lampwork key beads jennifer cameron glass addictions

Again, I have a helper. My favorite rock on the fire pit wall is the one to the far right where one key is by itself. The reason I like that rock is that it has less red and brown than most of the other rocks. 

Outdoor photography studio jennifer cameron glass addictions

On the other side of the patio, we have a retaining wall with a bed filled with burning bushes. This spot is usually perfect late afternoon when it's too bright for the fire pit rocks but still later in the day so the sun is being blocked out a bit by the bushes.

Back patio jennifer cameron

My favorite rock is the big one where that red planter thingy is. I've been using that one the most lately. Example of it in use: 
nightmare insomnia series bead glass addictions jennifer cameron

I've even used this giant hosta plant to hold bracelets while taking pics (can't find an example at this moment). 

hosta glass addictions jennifer cameron

But what about when the weather is bad? Taking photos in the cold or snow does not appeal to me at all. Sometimes I break down and use the photo cube. Especially because in the winter days are so much shorter, I don't have time to take photos when it's actually daylight. 

However, when the light is good and the problem is it's too cold or too snowy for my outdoor photo studio, I have big southwest facing windows and the perfect bead backdrop ceramic tile in the kitchen. 

Back door

Jun 21 2012 028 resized

Nightmare Insomnia Series focal

My other option is our kitchen table. It makes a great backdrop, but the wood has a lot of red in it, which doesn't always work.

kitchen table

Hangtag and earrings glass addictions jennifer cameron 

Even though I spent money on a photo cube set-up and the mega daylight fluorescent bulbs, I prefer using natural light whenever possible. It's not that the photos are bad in a photo cube, quite the opposite. There are a couple reasons I prefer natural light.

#1- I personally cannot photograph the "hot" colors like red, orange and pink accurately with the photo lights. Natural light is much better for my current skill set.

#2- The lights are so bright and so nicely diffused, that it sometimes makes the bead look even better in the photo than it does in real life. I do NOT ever want to mislead my customers.

Thanks for visiting! Just so you don't feel cheated by not seeing where the magic happens, I will share a picture of my torch area right after I cleaned it up last January (it's not this clean any more).

Jan 14 2012 clean studio glass addictions jennifer cameron

I also want to invite you to my virtual beady pajama party on my blog tonight. There will be lots of door prizes, new beads, and other fun stuff. However, you do have to be present sometime during the party to win. Visit my blog for more details. 

Blog Party glass addictions jennifer cameron


  1. Always fun to see creative spaces!! Thanks for sharing!! BTW I want that first set of beads, I don't see them on your website!!! :)

  2. I want to not only see you work but also now watch you photograph while sippin coffee in this gorgeous backyard! Awesome tips!

  3. I sold them forever ago about 2 minutes after listing them. I know it's bad to show pics of beads already gone, but it was the first example I found of using the deck floor. I will make more someday. When I do, you will be the first to know :-)

  4. Thank you very much for sharing your photographing tips! I used to shoot all my pictures outdoors on the deck but after I got a light cube, went to shoot only there. But you are right, natural lights are better and lampworked beads just look great photographed on stone or wood. I definitely will give it a try again!

  5. Great post full of helpful tips! And even some that let me know I'm on the right track too--always nice to have an expert confirm that. ;) Beautiful work!

  6. i loved this post! Seeing the inside of it all is so fun for me. I really enjoyed all of your beautiful pieces that you photographed as well!

  7. Awesome post!! Thank you for some interesting ways to photograph my jewelry and beads. I love the natural look of wood and stone as your backdrops. Beautiful! The Bead Party sounds really fun for tonight. I will be sure to stop in after I get home from helping out my sister.

  8. So very cool! I wish I had weathered gray wood. I have to scrape up my knees on concrete!

  9. Thanks for sharing all your cool spots. I'm loving the beads in your first photo.

  10. Great post Jen. Thanks for sharing. I struggle with my indoor setup and the expensive daylight bulbs. You have encouraged me to take it back outside.


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