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Monthly Floral Photo

May 12, 2017

So many people I have talked to have mentioned how much they have loved Merritt’s monthly floral photos on Instagram (search #themonthlymerritt) so I thought I’d let you in on a little secret of how I did them, in case anyone else wants to attempt them!

I’ll do this question and answer style of some of the most common questions I get.

What do you use for the background? Prepare to be underwhelmed…. I have a large piece of white foam board purchased for around $1.50 from hobby lobby (with a coupon). It’s really that simple. I can prop it vertical behind her, or lay her on it like I did for these photos.

How do you get your photos so white?

So this is sort of a combination of things. I am by no means a professional, nor do I know everything there is to know about photography, BUT thru trial and error and reading online, I have found what works for me.

  • First, you need light…natural light. I never, I repeat, NEVER shoot photos like this with interior lights on, the color is not good. I open windows and find the brightest areas of indirect light I can. Some of these photos were taken in her room on the floor and some taken in the living room, just inside the patio doors, depending on the time of day.
  • I’m shooting with my DSLR in RAW instead of JPEG which allows me to make further adjustments on the computer
  • I’m using manual mode on the camera – all I can say is there are so many websites with great info about learning what everything is on your DSLR. Challenge yourself and go beyond that green automatic setting!
  • I take SO. MANY. PICTURES. So for one of these photos, I may have taken anywhere from 25-80 photos in one sitting. Just keep clicking away and then you have options to choose from when you get them to the computer! This is one of the many reasons why digital photography is so awesome.
  • Photo editing software. I use photoshop and it’s a program I am very familiar with. There are others, but I am slightly partial to photoshop because I know it so well. When you shoot in RAW you have to edit the photos before they can be saved as JPEGs.

How do you get such good pictures of her?

I literally take so many photos and I take them in rapid succession so I get all kinds of faces. Just keep taking pictures and making goofy faces behind the camera with silly noises.

How did you do the flowers?

So back when she was 1 month old and I had this idea, I ran to the grocery store and bought up all the flowers I liked. I brought them home and realized it takes so many flowers to make these numbers look the way I wanted them to. Instead of just making 1 number a month and having to buy all new flowers every month (talk about $$$$), I took time and I made every single number, photographed it, and then cleaned it up/edited it in photoshop to be saved and used later. *side note: I did 2 versions of the number 1 for month 11 so it wouldn’t be a copy paste and be completely obvious.

Because I was using the same background, I figured I could just put her in using photoshop.

How did you put her photo in and blend it so well?

So, I got better at this as the months progressed, but in a nutshell, I would arrange her with the flowers on the image, then I would add a blank layer and use the gradient tool to blend the shadowed areas and make the colors/temperatures of each photo match. I would then have to go in with the eraser tool and delete the gradient from her and the flowers.

All in all, I don’t think it’s something just anyone can do because not everyone has the right setup or knowledge of photo editing software, but maybe this helped you think outside the box!

Did I miss anything? If you have questions, let me know, I’d be happy to answer them!

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