Modern Portrait Photography


DIY tissue paper flower backdrop { Rifle, CO Photographer }

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Tissue Paper Flowers/ Hanging Pom-Poms How-To:

I made this about a year ago and am just now getting around to blogging about it!


1. Cut the paper- I bought the pack of tissue paper in the photo above. This size was 18″x20″ so I cut it into 4 parts so the size of the sheets are about 9″x10″. You can really do this with whatever size tissue paper depending on how big or small you want your flower to be. I also have made the pom pom balls for a baby shower decoration and you make them almost the exact same way only you would use big sheets of tissue paper like the ones above but uncut or even bigger.

2. Stack the paper- You can also use any color of tissue paper. I used white to be neutral and because it was a lot cheaper. You need to stack about 6-8 sheets of paper on top of each other (I did 8). This is also where you can stack multiple colors of tissue paper  to get a multi-colored flower. Try to line them up- but you don’t have to worry if it doesn’t match up perfect- mine never did!


3. Fold the paper- Accordion fold the stack in about an inch folds


4. Tie the paper- Twist floral wire around the middle of the stack to folds in place.


5. Cut the tips- Cut the ends of the paper to desired shape. You can make the ends rounded or pointy or many other shapes. I even forgot to cut on some of my flowers and they still look pretty cool- although it would be better without the straight ends.


6. Pull layers up and fluff- Separate layers by pulling up one sheet of paper at a time up towards the middle. If you are going to make a pom-pom then you would pull half the layers up and half the layers down to make a complete sphere instead of just half of a sphere.


7. Glue finished flower onto board- I hot glued each individual flower next to each other to completely cover a large piece of foam board. I just used a board like you use for science fair projects because of its availability and ease to transport- but you can do bigger… it will just take extra forever!


After I had used the white flowered background a few times I spray painted it different colors as pictured below for a new and different look. I love how it turned out! It does take a bit of time to make all the flowers, but I love the look of all the repetition and texture. I think it makes a great backdrop since it’s not too distracting yet still adds a little interest! Go give it a try or do a set using hanging tissue pom-pom balls… or use as decor for your next party!

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Compsition Tip #7: Capture Emotion { Silt, CO Photographer }

The last tip I shared at my photography class in Silt, CO last spring was to capture emotion. This one I think trumps all the others. You can have a photograph that is poorly composed but have a great story or emotion captured and it wouldn’t matter. So go document what is meaningful to you. I love this photo of my two boys because of my little one’s face. He looks a little freaked out because his brother is squeezing him too tight! Go practice photographing more of the candid moments that happen… these photos will probably be more memorable! And remember the best type of camera is the one you have with you! I often use my cell phone for photos bc it is what I have with me or I can use it quickly to capture a moment I want to remember!


Composition Tip # 6: Framing { New Castle, Photographer }

This tip can be a lot like creating depth. If you add a frame with in your frame you can add interest to your photograph. An easy way to frame your subject is to use doors, windows, arches, … things that already exist like a frame. Or you can do what I did with these two senior girls last year and use nature to frame your subject. Notice how I decided to place the subjects where the trees and weeds make a subtle frame around them. This little trick will step up your photography for sure! Now go give it a try!


Composition Tip # 5: Perspective { Silt, Colorado Photographer }

This one is another easy one: change your perspective to add a little interest to your photographs. You can create totally different looks of an image just by changing your perspective. This is one thing I learned in one of my photography classes in college that whenever photographing something, consider all of the perspectives and different sides of it. You may be missing out on some amazing images if you never look around the back side or other possibilities. Try shooting with a worm’s eye or bird’s eye view- the photo above I stood on a ladder to get this beautiful girls photo.  How boring would that be if I always shoot from my 5 ft viewpoint- not to mention this would not be the most attractive point of view for all of my subjects. When changing your point of view, be mindful of the effect it will have. If you shoot down on someone they will appear smaller. If your subject is concerned about a double chin, then shoot at a higher perspective and it will hide it. With kids it is fun to get on their level and shoot from the way they see the world. If you want your subject to appear larger, taller, or stronger then shoot low looking up at them. Now go give this a try! Choose one subject and then photograph it in all the different perspectives you can (straight on, worm’s eye view, bird’s eye view, the front, the back, the side, the top, the bottom, and so on)!

Composition Tip #4: Add Depth { Rifle, CO Photographer }

To create a more interesting photo you need to create depth. Depth is where you have a foreground, middle ground and background. The way I love to do this is to place the subject in the middle of something that way I have some some elements in front and behind them- like I have pictured above with the weeds in the foreground and background. The trick I’ve learned is if a foreground is not naturally there, then you put it there. My clients usually look at me a little weird, wondering why I am carrying weeds in my pocket!

Photography Composition Tip #3: Fill the Frame

I think often times when you take photos you include too much in the frame. To make sure your subject is the emphasis you need to fill your frame with it! Now this doesn’t mean you have to always zoom in major close. Include enough of the background to set the scene or create the look you are going for without taking away the emphasis from your subject. I have included a couple sample photos that one of my parents took on our trip in Kawaii. The first is from further away so me and my family are barely noticed. Another photo features my family where we fill the frame and you can see us a lot better! Now if you are wanting to document the whole cave then you should make sure you include it. Just make sure you only include elements that help complete the photo without creating distractions for your main subject.

Photography Composition Tip #2: Consider your Background { Rifle, CO Photographer }

I am finally continuing to blog a more of my slides from my portrait photography class that I has in Silt, Colorado. It was a class more specifically on lighting for portraits but I gave my top composition tips. Number 2 of my composition tips is to make sure you think before you take a photo and double-check you background. In my example above you can see where I have intentionally taken a bad photo. So many of us do this. This tip may seem obvious- but some many of us…even professionals sometimes forget to double-check your background. So I have placed this girl directly in front of a tree so it looks like she has antlers growing out of her head- not the most attractive! In addition I have everything in focus. So to make this photograph better I had the girl take a couple steps over to the side and I shot wide open with a large aperture (f 1.4) to make the background go out of focus and make sure the focus was on my beautiful model! You can also increase the distance from background to your model to help create blur and separation from your subject. When you use some of these techniques it increases your ability to use almost anywhere as a backdrop!

If you are not familiar with some of the basic terms in photography or could use a little refresher about aperture, shutter speed, ISO… I’ve been working on doing a Photography Basics class at the Rifle Library but they had a change in managers before it got finalized and now is my busy season but stay tuned! I will be having another photo class in Rifle or Silt, Colorado soon… maybe after the holidays. I will keep you posted!