2008  -  BEAD PHOTOGRAPHY : Shannon Brickey & Don Meadows

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If you missed this meeting, you missed a wonderfully professional, thoughtfully constructed, consistently interesting, and dead-on useful presentation on photographing beads.  It was given by Shannon Brickey, a graphic artist, web designer, and photographer.  She is also the wife of Don Meadows, a SF member and a glass artist who makes beads, figures, goblets, fused dishes, blown vessels, marbles and more.  To check out their work go to their beautiful website Shadows Unlimited.

Shannon Brickey

Don Meadows

This may be first time that Southern Flames has had a Power Point presentation projected on a large screen (OK, a wall) .   The title of this screen, is "Finding the Magic".  Shannon's point was that it is very important when photographing a bead is to decide what is most special about it and use the camera and set up so that those properties are featured.

She used examples from books to show how different photographers showcased specific qualities e.g. transparency, texture, shape, etc. a It is difficult to see in this photo, but very clear what the photographer was doing when we viewed the projected image.

Shannon used this poster of Kristina Logan's beautiful dotted beads to illustrate some pointers for photographing bead sets.  In this case, while there are many beads in the photo, pattern, texture, and color (orange, blue, cream) are repeated which makes the whole cohesive. 

In photographing glass beads, Shannon listed a number of challenges are always faced: stabilizing the piece, lighting it to show depth, texture and sparkle while avoiding reflection and shadow; arranging the work on a background that complements rather than overwhelms the work. Shannon showed us the set up she uses - a small tent with a neutral graded background flanked by two floodlights. The camera sits on a tripod.  Sorry that there is no photo.

Don Meadows brought some examples of what he and Shannon use to display beads and keep them stationary when being photographed.  Shown below are goblet bases that Don made (aren't they beautiful). The beads are placed on the stem and then the stem is erased from the photo using Photoshop.

In these photos you see Don's wine stoppers and marbles displayed on the tops of sawed off wine bottles - red wine works best because the bottlenecks are straighter then bottles for white wine.

 

 

There were additional challenges when beads were photographed for the SF postcard.  Shannon and Kristy Nijenkamp who worked with Shannon, wanted to showcase all the beads equally - so all the photos had to be the same size and on the same neutral ground color. Shannon discussed many of the individual beads on the postcard and the specific challenges they presented - for example, the detail on large pieces was easily lost.

Shannon said that this bead by Maureen Lovell posed the greatest challenge. Because the small bead had raised gold stringer, it was difficult to find a way to focus so that both its surface and raised areas were clearly defined.

It was a wonderful presentation and we hope that Shannon and Don will let us post the Power Point outline in our Tips and Techniques section so that everyone can learn from it.

The theme

 

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