#PssFridayFlowers

Hi, Julz here, this week, I thought I would feature some of my Favorite flowers; Gerbera, Dahlia, Cosmos, Hydrangea and can’t forget the roses;

What are your favorite flowers? Share some images with us…#PssFridayFlowers #PssFridayFeature

~ Julz

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#pssThursdayTheme – Reflections

This week I thought I would use reflections for our theme, any reflections; in a mirror, in water, a puddle, a window. So much can be done with reflections and it is a lot of fun capturing them.

JuliePowell_Reflections-1

This one was shot at BlueLotus Water Gardens in the Yarra Valley, last Summer. Lotus blossom’s need about 8 eight a day of direct sunlight, they close up each night and open again each morning. Many have used the Lotus Blossom as a religious or pagan icon and is often a token or symbol of rebirth.

Share your Reflections pictures with us and don’t forget to hashtag them #PssThurdayThemes and #PixelSistersStudio.

~ Julz, xo

Tuesday Tips – Setting up a small home studio

So you want to set up a small home studio, but are not sure where to start? Some of it boils down to what type of Photography you wish to create and how much room you have. Julie is lucky and has converted her Garage into a studio, but has terrible natural light. Desley has a much smaller apartment, but with amazing natural light, but not a lot of room…you may fit somewhere in the middle.

Lighting

Lighting is the key, whether it is a table in front of a window for awesome natural light or studio lighting. Natural light is free, but not always around when you need it, so continuous is probably the way to go to start with, it is cheaper and can be packed up when not required.

These are not pro quality, but if you are just starting out, they are all excellent, Julie started out with the Backdrop Stand and Umbrella kit. These are just some examples, there are lots of others on offer.

20170806_150658Props and Drops – Conceptual and Standard Portraits

This is unlimited, however, a few key pieces can really be all you need to get started. Go to the local Op Shop or Thrift Store or even $2 shop and have a look, a really good look.

  • Bed Sheets, We suggest you start with a black and a white one. If you find something like bright red or a nice blue grab them too, excellent as dresses! on average Julie pays about $1 – $5 for a sheet (Curtains can work too, but are often more expensive).
  • Cape or cloak; a good black or dark colored cape is fantastic and can be used over and over, Julie uses velvet (as it looks so good in photos) AUD $10 – $20 on Ebay or costume stores.
  • An old chair, this can be one you already have, or bought at a garage sale, endless possibilities, personally, we like something a little more beaten up.
  • Other things Julie has added over the years are different colored wigs, different dresses (Op Shop) and props like knives, swords, guns, bird cages etc, etc, etc. Costume shop sales after Halloween are wonderful too.

20597591_10213839836655627_1776181220_oProps and Drops – Still Life and Products

Beware this can become a bottomless pit, so make sure you just get a few things to start with, check your own house first (or friends, Nans etc), you can be amazed at what you can find, but Op Shops are a perfect place to start;

 

  • A nice teacup and saucer, a plate, a bowl, Grandma’s silverware are awesome!
  • A tray or cutting board, some simple cutlery, Desley has some awesome trays
  • Some simple linen or tea towels, some twine or string
  • Something to use as a backdrop, white/black perspex are terrific but a little expensive (from your hardware store about AUD$50 per sheet), also a mirror (AUD$20), wallpaper samples (faux Marble or timber look great), Contact adhesive, chipboard painted with blackboard (or any other) paint, I have even used wrapping paper! Tin foil can even be used. Using Flat Lay style a simple timber deck or concrete floor can look amazing, and are free.
  • Vinyl Backdrops, these are amazing but can be more on the expensive side
  • A nice simple vase can be good, or elegant glasses; Julie uses Martini glasses a lot
  • Julie loves a simple crate for dark and moody; Op Shops, junk and antique stores
  • Scraps of material, old fence palings……..if you can find it (and store it!) you can make use of it. I have often seen something and thought “Oh that would be heaven”…….but stopped and thought where on earth would I store it, nowhere was the answer, so I walked away.
  • There are also small pop-up mini studio for smaller objects which are brilliant, Desley often uses one, from the smaller ones $25- $35 to 80cm size about $60.00
  • Ask to borrow items in exchange for free photos, terrifying prospect I know, but it can and does work; Pixel Sisters Studio works with Desflora for floral arrangements and floral crowns for workshops
  • And don’t think it all has to be brand new and perfect, chippy China is all the rage right now, as are busted up window panes and scratched up furniture. Especially if you like that wonderful Country feel, timber and natural materials are brilliant. Another option is dying your own cheesecloth. It is quite cheap and easy to do at home, and you can make so many different colors.

~ Julz

P.S. Featured image courtesy Suzanne Balding from our Floral Fantasy Workshop

P.P.S. The above links are only possibly suggestions of what to buy and where to look, Pixel Sisters Studio has no affiliation, nor promotes any e-commerce pages associated.

#PssMondayMacro

Hi, Julz, here again, for another week. Today is Monday, so that means Macro. Yesterday we went for a lovely long drive in the wonderful Spring sunshine, I thought I would post a few images from our wonderful day in the country.

These were all taken at the Pyalong Trestle Bridge…on Central Northern Victoria about 2.5 hours from Melbourne.

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Here’s hoping you have a wonderful week… and don’t forget to share and tag your Monday Macros #PssMondayMacro

~ Julz, xo

#pssSaturdayStillLife

Happy Saturday! Julz here again, Yay it’s my birthday, so I bought myself a little present, and why wouldn’t I? This is a lovely old(possible replica) timber scotch box and it was only $5.00, fabulous!!

So I had a little play around with it and did three different set ups, used some hand dyed cheesecloth from yesterday’s post; this time, green tea, it makes a lovely natural ecru color, isn’t it simply divine?

DSC_4945DSC_4949DSC_4961

I also have special birthday gifts for you as well.  Visit my website and I have loads of Digital Packs for Lightroom & Photoshop you can download for free. There is also some quite cheap. Check back from time to time as I will have more added every now and then.

http://www.juliepowellphoto.com/freebies/

Til then, don’t forget to share your Saturday Still Life #PssSaturdayStillLife and #PixelSistersStudio so we can see your gorgeous creations

~ Julz

 

 

#pssFridayFeature – D.I.Y. Dyed Cheesecloth with natural dyes

Julz here, I thought I would break away from our traditional Friday Features and feature a technique; this week I thought I would write a post dying your own cheesecloth to use as pretty props in Still Life, perfect for Spring. A great weekend project if you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary.

After seeing a few Facebook posts featuring your own home dyeing, I thought I might give it a try.  I have always been a bit lax in the fabric department, I don’t knit or sew or makes curtains or clothes, I certainly have never attempted dyeing fabric. But as Google is my friend I did a bit of research of using natural dyes. I seem to have no problem staining my clothes, so surely I could purposefully stain some cheesecloth? I was also a bit timid about using commercial dyes, I didn’t want to stain any of my pots, nor kitchen benches/utensils, so I wanted to use common household items and natural dyes.

Requirements:

  1. Pot. Use one as big as you need and can successfully carry. If using commercial dyes, try to find a pot that you can use exclusively for your dyeing crafts…that is if you ever attempt it again. As I was only using household materials, I used my normal cooking pots.
  2. Cloth. I used plain old Cheesecloth, this was washed and dried before proceeding
  3. Dye medium. Here I’m using Coffee, Green Tea and Pomegranate (grenadine syrup). There are so many interesting possibilities for colors, from plants, juice, spices, and teas.
  • blueberries – light purple
  • blackberries – dark plum
  • Beetroot – light pink to red
  • saffron – golden yellow
  • turmeric – bright yellow
  • Strawberries – rose pink to salmon
  • Pomegranate juice – Blush pink
  • Coffee – light brown
  • Green/Black Tea – ecru

4.Preparing the Fabric – Mordant. Before you start, you need to treat the fabric to be dyed. The term mordant (French “to bite”) making it so that the color will hold on and not wash straight out again. There are different types and methods for mordants, some are toxic (chemical dyes) – so here are 2 that you can use safely at home (and not worry about pouring down the drains):

1. Vinegar – use for plants (1 part vinegar to 4 parts cold water)
2. Salt – use for berries (1/2 cup of salt to every 8 cups of cold water)

Process

  1. Fill your pot with water and add your mordant, bring to a boil, add fabric and simmer your fabrics for 1 hour.
  2. Turn off heat and let the fabric sit in the pot until the water cools. Remove and rinse under clean water –  and then you’re ready to dye!
  3. If using plants you will need to extract the color from the plant material. Chop it up, crush it, pour or sprinkle it into your pot of water (double the amount of water to dye medium) Boil for 15 minutes to 1 hour – depending on the dye medium (some release their color quicker than others, if it’s juice it’s just a matter of heating it up). Turn off the heat and leave to cool a little before adding the fabric. If you have bits of plant material, scoop them out.
  4. Now, place your damp fabrics in the pot of what is now, your dye color. Simmer together until the fabric reaches the desired color  (even overnight if you want a deep rich color, just let it soak!) The color of the fabric will be lighter when its dries.
  5. You can repeat the dyeing process two or three times to intensify the color and improve its resistance to fading.
  6. Muslin, silk, cotton, and wool work best for natural dyes. Also, note that all dyed fabric should be laundered in cold water and washed separately.
  7. Check the color of your cloth and if it’s dark enough, remove the fibers from dye bath, rinse with cold water until water runs clear
  8. Hang to dry. Once fabric has dried, hand wash gently with a mild detergent

Now I am not sure if I didn’t soak long enough, or perhaps they needed a slightly stronger mordant, or even if I needed to repeat, but my colours were quite soft and delicate, I personally quite like them and especially use the coffee and green tea coloured cloth often, as they are so neutral. The Blush of the Pomegranate is lovely with bright flowers as well.

I purchased my cheesecloth from a local Spotlight, but I am sure you could get them at home depots or haberdashery and they are very inexpensive. Also using products you may already have at home for the dyes (tea, coffee, spices), is also a great cost saver. Do let us know if you give this a try, we would love to see your results.

~ Julz & Desley