Set ups for photos. Everyone is curious but most people are kinda disappointed when they see them. Even budding photographers.

I don’t blame them. They come hoping to see beauty laid out before my camera, lights shining majestically over a beatific dish, and me – no doubt suave and showered and rested – snapping professionally and making each photo flawless. That is, after all, the picture my photos paint, right?




Not so much. In fact, I play the Macgyver game when it comes to set-ups. I show up, hoping the screen door doesn’t bang into the one softbox light over my shoulder, frazzled, on my afternoon off, to take a picture of a dish handed to me by a harried dinner chef. I’ll grab some colorful cloth, a few cardboard boxes, some silverware, and biff it all on a table in an inventive arrangement. Then I, sans tripod, pull out a camera and begin experimenting with each shot until I find an angle, focus, composition, and aperture that pleases me. I have even been known to go without the softbox light on a sunny afternoon and just stretch a white apron over a sunny window.

Think I’m joking? Take a look.


I ran across the confusion this gap between reality and imagination causes just the other day. A budding photographer acquaintance of mine asked if she could visit during one of my shoots. I said, “Sure!”

When she showed up to find a scrap of burlap draped over some newly arrived packages and me switching the light off in the room so my studio light had a chance to do its thing… she was definitely confused but was too polite to say anything. I took pity on her. She thought from my other work that I made my shoots look beautiful from all angles, all focuses, all- well, you get the idea – BEFORE even taking a picture. So I handed her the camera and told her to look through the viewfinder while the lens was zoomed all the way out.

“Looks kinda ugly, doesn’t it?” I asked.

She laughed outright and added sheepishly, “Yeah.”

I had her keep looking at the dish while I slowly zoomed the lens farther and farther in. “And… now…?”

“Woah,” she said.

I grinned. She got it.

It can look bizarre from the outside, arranging a set up for a shallow focus, close-up, but when you know how to use your surroundings to make a beautiful photo… it can really pop!

Anyhow, I’ve been working away at a dessert series, so feast your eyes below or in the photo gallery over there. *waves hands in the direction of the gallery*

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