Making mundane objects interesting

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For a recent project, our assignment was to take 30 pictures one single thing. My first reaction was yay! I can use a pretty girl and dress her up in a fun dress, or dress up a guy in a suit and do a bomb classy shoot! But no, my dreams were quickly crushed. The prof continued to tell us about the project and that the thing had to be an object – no people allowed.

I was originally not too excited for the project… but then I thought to myself you call yourself a photographer and not find this exciting?! You are a disgrace- ok maybe I didn’t go that far. But you get the picture. (ha ha)

Here’s a few tips on making mundane objects more interesting!

-Create certain feelings using angle: for example, you can make the subject look dominant by shooting from a low angle, or make the object look weak by shooting from a sharp, high angle.

-Abstract: Come in super close and shoot an abstract shot. This will cause viewers to linger on your photo and wonder what exactly they are looking at. This will then cause them to start asking questions… This is good!

-Use natural shadows and highlights to amp contrast: Take note and plan what time of day you want to shoot. Do you want sharp, distinct shadows? Or faded evening shadows?

-Deny information but make it visually interesting, viewers will hold on and figure it out

These are only a few examples/tips I provided you. What are some ways you make mundane objects interesting? I’d love to see some pictures down in my comments!

A few snaps from my project.

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character study

 

character study

“Sometimes, when I’m away from my computer, I imagine my character walking around with me.  Long line at the drug store?  Hmm, how would my character react to that?  Friend late for lunch—would my character wait, or just walk out in a huff?  Car cut you off in traffic?  Would my character yell out loud, or take in it stride?” – Brenda Janowitz 

How well should you know your character before putting them in the spotlight? Should you know every little thing they ever went through? I mean, if you want to. But the reality of it is that probably 5% (probably even less- depending on your novel) of your characters backstory will actually make it onto the pages, but that doesn’t mean their backstory won’t affect how they deal with things, what they say, or what decisions they make. Many writers have many different opinions on this, but ultimately it is up to you and what you feel works best for you as the author.

What I have found through experience is that every time I sit down to write my story, I learn more about my characters and become more confidant in who I have made them to be. And if I write something and do not feel great about it or am unsure if they would really say that or not, I take a step back and get down to the core of my character.

These are some character study questions that help me in times of doubt…

  1. How do they like to socialize?
  2. What do they wear?
  3. What kinds of people are they friends with?
  4. What music do they like?
  5. What are their bad habits?
  6. Who do they look up to?
  7. What kind of person do they want to be?
  8. What job do they have?

These are just a few I found from different sources. There are thousands of questions you could ask yourself about your character which can help define who they are for your sake.

p.s always remember to write these answers down somewhere! Often times we can forget little details about them and the last thing we want is to have inconsistencies. 

references 
https://carlywatters.com/2014/01/13/30-questions-to-ask-your-main-character/
http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/novel-writing-10-questions-you-need-to-ask-your-characters

Tudor period fashion

I have always been amazed of the history of fashion, so I decided I would start with the Tudor era since it is a fairly early era. 1484 – 1603, to be exact.

  • Like I said, the Tudor period lasted from 1484 – 1603 in England and Wales. The Tudor period included the Elizabethan period (1558–1603) which ended with the completion of the reign of Elizabeth I in 1603.
  • It is obvious that old century dresses had more than one layer – it was a minimum of four layers that women would wear in the Tudor period. These four layers included the Smock; Petticoat; Kirtle and Gown.
  • Smock’s were the undergarments, and a Petticoat was a separate undergarment worn under the dress.
  • petticoat
    petticoat

    Petticoats were usually made in the colour red. Red was seen as a health giving colour – this idea was seen as late as the 19th century.

  • The next garment that was worn over the Petticoat was the Kirtle. This was worn under the gown – it gave the bodice shape and supported the bust, giving women a corrected silhouette.  The Kirtle usually peeked out through the neckline and was mostly hidden by the gown.
  • kirtle
    Kirtle

    The gown was obviously the piece seen by everyone and was made with lavish materials such as velvets or cloth of gold.

    tudor gown
    Tudor Gown

    Isn’t it beautiful? I just love how elegant these gowns look. Hope you enjoyed this post! Stay tuned for the next era… The Stuart Period! (1603-1714)

References…
https://sewing.patternreview.com/review/pattern/115932
http://timetailor.co.uk/portfolio_category/tudor/
https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/resources/tudor-life/tudor-clothes/ (This is the website where I retrieved most of my information. Great resource!) 

 

jumping shoes

 

StockSnap_TC284GTXHI.jpgWriting my book, I have found myself questioning POV… Is it okay to jump POV between two characters? Why should you do it? Why not? How? 

Right off the bat in researching this subject I found that it is difficult to have POV switches within one chapter; for example – having a few paragraphs in one characters POV then have the next paragraph in a different character’s POV then switch back again a third time to the original character. This is frowned upon because it takes a while to get into a characters head, and to jump quickly between the two could confuse and detach the reader.

If you want to jump between characters, some author’s do it by chapter. Say chapter one is character A POV, and chapter two is character B POV. Or you could go in the direction of having a few chapters in a row is character A POV, and then maybe chapter five or six is character B POV. There are many possibilities.

A few pointers…

  • It is good for readers to have questions about what the characters are thinking / how they feel about situations – this means it is not necessary to switch POV’s just to have readers know what another character is thinking. This will keep the readers guessing and on edge!
  • you don’t have to switch POV just to make the reader aware of another character’s emotions, you can do that in other ways – this could be through body language, physical momentary traits of the character (maybe the character is sweating because he is nervous), or dialogue.

 

Hope you enjoyed this post! What are your feelings on POV? 

Storytelling through video

 

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Video can be a very impactful tool to use for storytelling. I recently did a little video workshop, and thought I should share my little tidbit on storytelling.

storytelling

-hook your audience – they want to hear/ or see what happens next – with this It’s also important to know your audience. Write down who your audience is and their level of understanding about your company or products. Use that to establish what’s important to them and how best to target their emotions. After you think about this, you can think of what kind of hook you want.

– begin with a visually intriguing shot/ collection of shots

Storytelling allows you to mentally paint a picture of a scenario to help you make a point.

-To really work though, storytelling must be done in a way that is authentic

-How do I be authentic? Ask yourself these questions… Do you know enough about what idea your selling? Do you know more than the next person?

What is your motivation behind your intended story/ product? If the only reason you are doing it is to get more sales, your audience will know that, and they won’t like it.

-have structure to your story

-strive to make your points short – and the whole story short to keep the attention of your audience members. (This can vary on the subject matter and form of video you are doing. If it is a documentary or movie, obviously your points are going to be a little longer)

-make your story visually appealing

-make sure EVERYTHING is there for a reason

cinematography&storytelling

-cinematography is all about communicating with the viewer

-it is not just about the information – but the way the information is being shown and the way it evokes emotion

-where you put the camera doesn’t just allow you to tell the story, but it tells you what to think and feel about the story – and that is in our control through composition, camera angles, script, editing and scene set-up. (And more)

Filling in the gaps

Your on a roll. You have been going strong for a while now and are really happy with your story and where your characters are at right now. Then the unthinkable happens… you don’t know what to do next. You know what your next major plot point is but you don’t know how to get there. There is multiple things you can do to move your story along…

is there any aftermath of certain recent events that have happened? Emotionally or physically? Does your character feel bad about something he/she just did? Did they get hurt on their last adventure? If they did who helps your character get better? You see what i’m getting at? 

explain things that your reader might not know – how did your character pick that lock? How did they know how to pick the lock? This could lead to some backstory of your character. 

Remember! Don’t have anything random happen. Keep it all in line with your plot and making sense. Don’t force anything. 

Hope you liked this blog! Let me know if you have any other ways to fill in gaps. 

crazy

Even though it’s summer, the past few weeks have been crazy busy for me. Because I will be a student again in the fall, I am working full time which means I have next to no energy when I get home. On the weekends when I am not working, I am usually in the city visiting friends… which leaves almost no time for doing what I love, which is photography, writing, reading and just learning about different things in history. I find when I am deprived of being able to do what I love, my emotions are kind of a rollercoaster because I need to fill up on my passions again! This means we (people like me) just have to find time – even if it is five minutes – to do something we love in the day. The reason I chose this picture as the featured image is because that really reflects my emotions inside lately. It sucks. But as I learn to slowly make time for things, I feel lighter and more happy. I encourage you to do the same! Even if it’s getting up five minutes early to write some of your story or edit some pictures, it is so worth it. Or maybe next time when you come home dog tired from work, make some coffee and I guarantee once you start doing what you want to do you will perk up. The key is just finding time. Sometimes it may not feel worth it to spend only a few minutes doing something, but that few minutes usually turns into half an hour the next day because you wanted to find time to continue your passions.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for this morning. How do you find time to do what you love in your busy schedule? I’d love to hear!

Why I love what I love

Looking around the web I haven’t noticed too many blogs or accounts that are both photography and writing related. They are usually just one or the other… but I didn’t want to choose when creating my blog or Instagram account. Why muffle one of my passions? So I decided I’ll just create different caragories to make it semi organized and write on both. But thinking about it more and more, they almost go hand in hand. They (photography & writing) are both versions of story telling! That is why I am so passionate about the two. I thrive on telling a story, no matter how short or long it is. My goal in each picture of mine is to tell a story – to make viewers wonder about the picture like who is this girl and what is she looking at? Where is she? Telling a story through a picture can be done in a multitude of ways, and that’s why I love it so much. Happy story telling!  

 

Secondary characters

In the world of secondary characters, from my researching – I have learned that there two types of secondary characters: minor characters and supporting characters.

Minor characters do not further the plot, and a story can essentially be written without minor characters. Minor characters are there to make the world in your story, real, essentially. Daily life would be weird without people filling the coffee shops wouldn’t it? So in essence, each minor character usually appears only once in the story – as a desk clerk maybe or a cab driver – then they are gone from the story forever. They are a necessity to filling up the world/story you created. But just because they are minor, doesn’t mean they can not help reveal certain characteristics of your main characters. Maybe you have a minor character that is an attractive man and your main character thinks hey, i should ask him out, but then is to shy to do so and just awkwardly asks for what she needs – this small scene right here just revealed an interesting trait of your main character. Keep that in mind when you are working with minor characters. 

Supporting characters are more important and vital to the story than minor characters are. They appear more than once in the story because they are vital to the plot – they move the story forward in some way. These guys have a great impact on the story line even while maintaining the role as a secondary character. A great supporting/secondary character is Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series. She adds quirkiness and uniqueness to the series (even though the series itself is unique) which is great for a secondary character to do. 

black and white

For the past few days off work, I have been playing around with black and white edits. First off I want to start with what program I use to do this and why. For these I have used photoshop CC because firstly, I am comfortable with photoshop and second of all, photoshop has a black and white option that allows you to individually tweak the different tones in the picture. (I have no clue if ‘tones’ is the right word… 🙂

So all of these photos look quite different right? Right. That’s because I played around with the different hues a lot. In picture A, I turned the reds and yellows down low. Red’s and yellows usually effect skin tone. And for picture A, that is all I did. I find this type of edit looks more real and raw. It has a very rugged look to it – this can suit certain pictures very well.

Picture B – This one I did the opposite of A. I turned the skin tones up (Red’s and yellows) and also turned the blue hues up to really highlight my models hair. (Her hair is blue, that is why I touched the blue hues). This edit has more contrast to it – the whites are white and the blacks are black.

Picture C – I had a little fun on this one and made this image more dramatic. I stuck to keeping the reds and yellows high, but I turned the blues of her hair down to darken it, so this caused a striking contrast of her skin tone and hair. Just for fun, I also selected the lenses of her glasses and brightened them up to create more of a surreal effect, and I also used a smart blur to smooth her skin out. I’m still trying to perfect that effect.

So obviously, you can create a lot of different looks when just sticking to black and white. Have fun with your editing!

blackandwhiteA
A
blackandwhiteB
B
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C

First impressions.

Today I wanted to talk about prologues and introducing your characters for the first time. Before researching for this blog, I had little to no knowledge on both of these subjects.

Prologues, to me, was like the stocks app on my iphone. It was always there, but a) I never used it and b) I didn’t really know how to use it. Well let me try to clear it up a bit for my sake as well as yours.

Prologues are there for a reason. You don’t have to write a prologue, but if you do, there should always be a reason for it. Prologues can be there to give some backstory before diving into the story, they can be written out of chronological order of your novel to add some needed info or be written in another time setting/ era than your novel. Prologues can also be written in another characters perspective (either a secondary character or anyone that is not your main character). This being said, you should always have a good reason for your prologue if you choose to add one. It should be vital to your story, not just an extra few pages that readers skip.

Introducing your characters for the first time

jack

 

First impressions are crucial. Just think of it this way – you have been creating your character for months now. You are constantly giving them quirks and traits and developing their backstory. You have a great love for this character and after all this you introduce them with a bland paragraph. How would that make your character feel? Your character would probably want to jump out of the pages and give you a slap. “I deserve better than this,” They would say.

So give them a damn good introduction. For example, think of how Pirates introduced Jack Sparrow. His first scene started out as him seeming like a brilliantly composed, confident pirate and quickly turned to him jumping down into his tiny boat and bucketing water out. Even these couple seconds captured the essence of Jack – a compelling yet quirky pirate. Watch this scene here.

So next time you write an introduction for your characters, make sure it captures the true essence of them wether you want them to seem smart, confidant, weird, or whatever else. Just give them justice.

p.s – Even with your secondary characters, their introduction could be only one line but even with that, you can still truly capture their essence.

dog tales

Parker_2938.JPG

So back at Three Hills AB – where I went to college for a year – a friend of mine wanted me to do a photoshoot with him and his dog. At first I wasn’t too worried about it as I thought that it would be like any other photoshoot, but that wasn’t the case. Dog’s move. A lot. The perfectionist inside of me cringed a bit as I realized that I could not pose these two exactly the way I wanted too in a ‘picture perfect’ way. Whenever I do photoshoots I have certain pictures in mind and I want the outcome to be controlled. This is when I realized that as photographers, we can not control everything… and this is why I love this picture so much. It’s real and raw. My friend didn’t mean to get mud on his pants but as the shoot went on we slipped a lot (which was very fun 🙂 and explored the amazing location we were at. I love this photo because it captures the essence of the bond between a man and his best friend. It’s the essence of adventure and uncertainty.