Photography Styling Challenge #4 – Morning

Ah, the first Monday of October. Time for yet another Photography Styling Challenge post. Usually I crib about the days flying by, and a little Boy growing up too fast for my liking. But when the last week of a month rolls by, I find myself looking forward to our monthly challenge posts! This month’s theme, as the title suggests, is ‘Morning‘.

Mornings – I wish it were a time when I could relax, meditate and get energized for the day ahead, sipping a cup of hot coffee on the patio and listening to the birds. Instead it turns out to be a mad dash against the clock. The fact that I am at my laziest early in the morning does not help matters. And I can’t blame Boy for sleeping in, I think I passed that gene to him!

So, what says good morning better than coffee and a healthy breakfast? Maybe a little reading, if time permits. If you have been following my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I like my photos bright and colorful.

Since we are a quarter way through the challenge, I felt it was high time I came out of my comfort zone, aka bright, natural light. The following photos stay true to the concept, but were shot nowhere near dawn or morning time!

For this challenge, I simply concentrated on getting dark shots, and not much on capturing different angles, as you will see. I did try out some other angles, but none of those shots impressed me.

Morning Coffee and Breakfast

I shot these photos on a dark surface and background, lit from the sides.

Morning Coffee, Fruit and Granola

I would have preferred a teeny-weeny bit more light, which I can normally fix during post-processing, but since the challenge rules say no to any kind of processing, I am putting up these photos in all their ‘raw glory’!

Morning Coffee, Granola and Reading

had to include the next photograph just so you can read the title – Thank God For Music. How true!

Morning Coffee, Fruit and Reading

Finally, I am including a photo shot on my patio on a rainy morning. I am not sure if I am allowed to do so (i.e, if all the photos need to have the same background and setting), but I wanted to show you all how I managed to capture the steam from the coffee!

I am pretty sure the guy who walks his dog on our street every morning thought I was crazy, to be photographing my morning cuppa. Here I was, enjoying the slight drizzle, and the next thing you know, I am clicking away like a mad woman!

Morning Coffee, Smoke - Outdoors

I shot this with a shutter speed of 1/20, an aperture of 6.4, and ISO – 100. The bark of the tree formed a natural dark background.

I found this excellent tutorial on capturing steam from food in photographs. I tried to recreate it indoors, but failed to get a shot I was proud of. Any tips, guys?

The first three photos are my favorites of the lot. What do you think of my effort? Yay or nay? Let me know in the comments.

Check out the other posts at these participating blogs. A warm welcome to our two new participants, Roxy and Vaishnavi. And welcome back, Inge. Nice to see you after the break.

Be sure to check out next month’s post on the concept ‘Bedroom‘.

And remember, it’s never too late to join in the fun! Do let us know if you’d like to take part in future challenges. Go here for the full set of rules.

To recap, here are my entries from the previous months.

A textured wall vignette in September.

Close up of Basket Wall Hanging

A pretty table setting in August.

Simple Centerpiece with colored bottles and twigs in Table Setting

July’s food shot.

Photo Shoot_Vanilla Cake 1

If you like what you see, please follow my blog via Email (button on the right), Pinterest or Bloglovin’, or maybe even all three!!!

24 thoughts on “Photography Styling Challenge #4 – Morning

  1. Its challenging to shoot against darker backgrounds primarily because they reflect light, but when done well they make for some of the best pictures.
    I really like the last one. The soft steam is captured beautifully and the cup in good prominence.

    • I badly wanted to try something new. Dark pics scare me and after all, this is a challenge. No point in remaining in my comfort zone with bright, natural light. I plan to learn some more and use artificial light sources for illumination too.
      I actually didn’t own a tripod when I did this challenge. Now that I do (thanks to my hubby!), I plan to reduce the shutter speed way down and practice some steam shots.

  2. Pingback: Photography Styling Challenge #4: Morning | Redesigned By M

  3. Pingback: Photography Styling Challenge #4: Morning » Inge Kathleen Photography

  4. I really like your steam picture! Way to go capturing that steam. Then I like #2 and #4. I think the pages in the book help offset the darkness around it. Very nice getting out of your comfort zone! It’s good to try new things. 🙂

  5. How daring-to shoot on a dark background. I recently acquired some props for attempting this. I’m all motivated now. I think that photos 1 and 2 appear too boxy, my eye is drawn to the seams in the background. This is less intrusive in the other shots-angle, maybe? I had this issue as well, it gave a sense of random horizon-or something. I love the clear bowl of granola, the light reacts so nicely with the glass and I enjoy the rough shadow the granola casts. Photo 3 is my favorite. I struggled in my shoot with shadows in my mug-I didn’t like how they darkened the beverage. How did you feel about the light/shadows as you shot? Awesome steam, by the way.

    • I know what you mean by boxy. I thought so too. I actually did not own a tripod when I shot these (I just got one). I am thinking of re-attempting these shots with a stable hand!
      My fave is the third one too. It is cleaner and I love the shadows on the book. I actually lit the area from slightly behind at both sides and slightly angled down. Obviously, I had a lot of issues from shadows. The profile angle shots were no good. Of course, you could eliminate problems with reflectors and such gear (which I obviously do not own). Staging these shots actually made me respect professional photographers more than ever!
      I have the tree to thank for. It created a nice backdrop for the steam!
      Thanks for the feedback, Nicole! I was so nervous about my dark shots. But, that’s what a challenge is all about, isn’t it?

  6. Your pics remind me of the days when I wake up suddenly before dawn breaks and all is silent. What better time to catch up on reading accompanied by a stolen cuppa and a favorite snack!

  7. Hi Anjana! I have been following your blog and you do have a very consistent aesthetic in your photos (I’m sure we’re all developing a style we like to shoot in), which is why I’m very excited to see this new setup from you! So proud of you for breaking out of your comfort zone and trying something new… it really worked! I’ve always been a huge fan of contrasts and this just screams of it. My favorite is #3… it is simple and understated. If it had been just the mug set next to the book (as opposed to on top) without the bowl of granola, I would have loved it even more.

    Excellent attempt at capturing the steam! I have not mastered this art yet. Perhaps you should ask Roxy? She seems to have done well with her steam photo. 🙂

    Love how passionate you are about this challenge! Hope you’re enjoying it! ~M.

    http://redesignedbym.wordpress.com/

    • Thanks a lot, M! I am so happy that my gamble paid off!
      Photo 3 is my fave too. I loved the shadow cast by the bowl on the paper. But the mug and book alone would have worked too.
      I am really loving this challenge and I see the themes getting tougher now!
      I really must get Roxy’s input on shooting steam.

  8. I love the third shot and go you for trying something new! That dark background photography thing is all the rage among the food bloggers I read. I love it, but I’ve never tried it either. And that steam! Congrats! Thanks for the how to article. I’ve pinned it.

    I don’t have any specific feedback for you. I liked that third photo just as it was and I’m sure it will be even better with a tripod! It’s revolutionary, I swear. Shooting without one this time (mine broke) was No. Fun.

  9. Hello! ^^

    I agree with you the best part of morning is a nice breakfast. The granola looks delicious. I like that you did it dark and tried something different. One idea would be to make a mound of granola and place the fruit on top of it. I think with food photography, it feels nice to have an abundance of food. So perhaps fill the bowl all the way up or scatter the granola everywhere.. What do you think? 🙂 Good work.

  10. Your dark background- photos are so vibrant! Amazing clarity! And what fascinated me the most is, your materials/contents are comfortably fitted in the frame. Lovely loose, breathable framing 🙂
    Love and hugs. Best wishes,

  11. Pingback: Photography Styling Challenge #5 – Bedroom | At the Corner of Happy and Harried

  12. Pingback: Photography Styling Challenge #4: Morning - Planq Studio

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