Winter Workshops #3 – Dark and Moody Fruit

I ran another Dark and Moody Fruit Still Life/ Food Photography shoot in the home studio, pretty much the same as last time, I had three workstations set up and similar ideas and fruit. Berries, Citrus and we also did some Light Sculpting to start with. I had even less time to shoot at this workshops as I have five newbies, who needed lots of help, both with their cameras and settings. I confess, I still get a little panicked when working with brands I am unfamiliar with; this workshop there was no Nikon, so I really had to fumble around (quite literally in the dark) and figure our settings on cameras I have no real idea how to use, however, the upshot is that I am starting to get quite good at figuring out what’s what.

So three hours of fun in the dark, well it was light and moody after all. I love showing them simple setups and perhaps discussing a few ideas, throwing in a suggestion here and there, and then watching them get quite creative as their confidence builds, some more than others. Some even had a go at some light sculpting on their own; so cool.

I was very naughty and forgot to take behind the scene images as well, so sorry about that. I have one more workshop, which is a special request for some VIP…more on that another time, and then on the 29th July Pixel Sisters Studio has it’s very first official workshop, so exciting.

~ Julz

Monday’s Musings

July………….WOW, where has this year gone! Not much to report, but lots going on. This past week has been all about forward planning, and loads of it. I have my own shoots, plus Pixel Sisters Studio stuff in the mix. Desley and I have our very first Floral Fantasy Workshop in four weeks, and still so much to arrange. We spent Sunday doing just that, planning, arranging, scheduling and coming up with exciting ideas for the weeks and months ahead……..but more on that over on the website.

For me………I have two shoots coming up this week plus another Still Life Workshop in the home studio; busy, busy, busy.

I had a truly fabulous weekend, even though I barely touched the camera, on July 1st I had two images published in Artists Down Under magazine, I also had two images published for the first time in Fine Eye Magazine as well. Then to top it all off found out I won 6th place for my Helmeted Honeyeater in Light Space and Time “Season’s” competition

Julie Powell_Helmeted Honeyeater-1

Same picture also won 3rd Place in the Photography section and I received an Honorable Mention for another image…… excited.

Add that to the Shift Art tutorial that was posted last week and I have a very successful week.

Here’s hoping to another very successful week, I hope you have a great week too

~ Julz


Winter Workshop #2 – For the Sweet tooth

I ran my first Winter Workshop with a dark and Moody theme a few weeks ago, so this time I went light and airy and instead of fruit and veg; it was cakes and candies, much to the delight of this group of six; five women and one gentlemen.

I set this workshop up with 4 work stations and groups of two, which moved from one workstation to the next and then we changed up the settings and props.

Table 1 – Light and Bright

Little white side table in front of diffused window light. Lollie (candies) in cocktail glasses, pastels and brights with backlighting. Little bowls full of yumminess, deconstructed Rocky Road (Chocolate, Marshmallows, popcorn)


Table 2 – High Tea

Large table across back wall, white backdrop and lots of umbrella lights and soft boxes. Timber mini backdrops and trays of cupcakes and biscuits, lollies and tea pots and cups and saucers. Human touch with people holding tea pots, cupcakes and handfuls of M&Ms. Chocolate Chip cookies and small bottles of milk.


Table 3 & 4 – The Play Tables

I called these two the play tables for lack of a better word, white perspex as the surface and/ or backdrop, and also a slightly darker component, and added a little country charm as well. We experimented with interesting shots; dripping frosting off beaters, macarons on white or black trays, brightly coloured liquid in mason jars, and shadow play.


Again we looked in-depth at placement and shooting angles, placement of light and how to expose properly in such bright, white environments. Making colours pop or subdued. What was the hero, and how to use varying F/ stops to your advantage. Cameras, even DSLR don’t like to work to your advantage in these overly bright situations and like with snow you actually have to over expose each image by about 1/3 to 1 stop to get correct exposure.

Behind the Scenes

As per usual, I did not get to take many photos, just a few before and after, as I spent most of my time teaching and helping people with camera settings and instruction on various styling and techniques. So much fun. I just love the looks of concentration on their faces. Everyone agreed it was the tastiest workshop they had been too, as they got to eat most of the food we shot!

~ Julz


Winter Workshops #1 – Dark & Moody

Well Winter is here; the cold, grey, windy, drizzly days in Melbourne are upon us. Yes, I could rug up and go out chasing waterfalls and such, and I probably will; but it also means it’s time to run my Winter Workshops. I have advertised three so far, and all are fully booked, granted not overly hard when I limit them to six people each. I will run more and am currently looking at a larger studio space (but more on that later). I am also running themes for each of these workshops to keep it all a little more tightly controlled; and………….they are only for three hours, not six – too exhausting! 🙂

Workshop #1 is Dark and Moody Fruit & Veg

I had three workstations set up, and I split my students into groups of two, very manageable. They get to spend at least 30 minutes at each workstation and then we change them all up, so they get to shoot approx 6 settings each.

An Introduction to Light Sculpting

As everyone in this group attended one of my Beginners Classes last year, I decided to teach some more advanced techniques, so we spent the first hour introducing them to the intricacies of Light Sculpting or Light Painting for Still Life. Sitting in the dark with my light wand, we did two set ups to show the difference between flat matte and colour and shiny metal objects.

Table 1 – Dark Backdrop, Natural Light

So this first table is actually old fence palings still held together (just) on the floor in front of the window, with diffused and quite poor afternoon light. Just enough of a challenge. This table features some country charm, citrus and pears and a little autumn colour.


Table 2 – Dark, Dark, Dark

This is probably the easiest table, but looks the hardest. My small, old works bench with a blackboard backdrop to keep out all the light, in the darkest spot on the studio (with the lights off), using just one artificial light source, with a snoot – to keep the light pin point precise. The trick is to underexpose each shot by st least 1/3. This is the Berry table, it was also be a bit of an experimental table for some.

Table 3 – Vintage

This was actually the largest work area, as we switched between a shabby chic table table with old vintage elements, coal scuttle, enamel ware, linens etc. And then brought out the perspex to really have some fun with light painting and reflections.

We then finished off with trying to capture dusting icing sugar over a chocolate cake, much harder than it looks………..oh and then finished off by eating the cake!!

Even though we kept things fairly simple this was a more advanced class than the ones I taught last year. Concentrating placement, exposures and shooting angles; which works best on tall objects Vs flat objects, which is better for various light conditions, flat lay or 90°  or 45° or even 20°.  WHAT is the hero of a setting?

What a blast, so much fun sitting in the dark with six friends playing with light wands and random bits of lighting.

~ Julz

Winter Workshops – Still Life # 4

We ran yet another Still Life / Product Workshop in the Studio on the weekend just gone, one of the biggest groups so far with 9 of us. A little cramped, but we managed……it is possibly the last one for the year, definitely for Winter, so I had a lot of interested people, it’s hard to say no.

Needless to say I was kept very, very busy and most of the shots I did take were during set up, or clean up, with only a few shot during the day, mostly as examples while tethered.

We had lots of trinkets and flowers brought in, as well as cakes, muffins and tarts…I had to grab a quick shot of the tarts before they were all eaten, how GOOD do they look? Apparently divine…..I couldn’t eat any, all full of lovely things like, milk, eggs and flour!! I can drink them in with my eyes instead.

Next year I think we will run a different time table and format, but more on that next year, I guess.

Til next time, happy snapping…

~ Julz

Winter Workshops – Fine Art Nudes # 2

I got such a great response from the images I displayed from the first F.A.N Workshop I attended a few weeks back and was asked by some fellow Awakers (Photoshop Artistry group) if we could run one too… I quickly spoke with our wonderful model Chey Anne and set up a  time, before she disappears on an extended interstate trip. I know there are other models, but I was more comfortable working with Chey.

We did not have the expert tutelage I had last time, but we muddled through, Chey as always so gracious and helpful…..but this is a group of artists who had preconceived ideas of exactly WHAT they wanted to capture, myself included. Rather than photographers learning the best techniques.We especially concentrated on creative lighting and using additional textures. Anyway it was a wonderful session on what was such an awful day, weather wise, glad to be inside.

I truly do love the images I obtained during this session, soft and feminine but evocative as well. We also had a cheeky bit of fun………recreated my favourite shot from last time, but with red!


Til next time, happy snapping…

~ Julz

Winter Workshops – Still Life / Product Shoot # 3

Have you ever started something and then thought, wowsers! This is becoming bigger than I thought? My Still Life Workshops are kind of like that…….they have sort of taken on a life of their own and it has been so much fun!

I hosted another group recently, slightly smaller and all women this time (not planned that way, just how it happened), so I decided to ask this group of creative women to bring a few bits and bobs for us to play with……….messages went flying back and forth as to what everyone could bring, some wanted to bring special family mementos to capture and work with, I really like that.

We set up multiple shooting areas again and split into teams as it were, as there was not so many I was able to shoot more this time around as well, yay! Each one I run I am getting more confident and having more fun, the ideas created in this environment are amazing and everyone brings something a little different.



Loved this one in camera, but the backdrop requires further steaming to remove creases

I already have another one booked full for next month and I am going to run one more in September, then I’ll take a break until possibly next year. They are so much fun, but a lot of hard work and can be exhausting.

~ Julz

Winter Workshops – Still Life #2

On Sunday Moth and I hosted the second of our Winter Product/ Still Life workshops. This was a very different group from last time, no less keen, but a few more seasoned photographers and perhaps a little more laid back. Still super and trying out new ideas, but also adding their own.

We had a special treat, well actually two……….one Lady brought in some vintage cameras for use to use, and one guy brought in some early mobile phones (I did not however manage to get any images of those). We split again into two groups and focus on Product Shoot on the Glass and Black Perspex, and the other group on Still Life, with fresh flowers, crates, old teapots and the like, on softer white and timber backdrops.

After lunch the groups swapped sides and then proceeded to switch back and forth, we even set up a third smaller table for some pretty flower shots as well. This group finished a little earlier for us this time, so Moth and I got a little time to play as well.

Also Bev let me hold onto the vintage cameras for a little while longer, so I could play in my own time………isn’t that nice?

That’s about it, til next time, happy snapping…

~ Julz