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Found at Home – a gallery on Flickr.

Since we’re shooting at home this week, I thought I’d find some examples from  photographers on Flickr who shot at home.  Notice that personality comes packed in these shots, they have very clean lines — no clutter to confuse the eye — and each has an unexpected element: the whiskers on the cat; the location of the child; the condensation on the can of pop — you get the picture.  Loads of possibilities found right at home.

Which brings us to more discussion from Beginning Photography at Utah State University.   There are two kinds of shots — found and made.  A “found shot” is something you stumble upon.  It is all but perfect and is begging to be photographed.  But as soon as you twist the cup or add flowers or change the scene in any way with shooting in mind, it becomes a “made shot” and you have become a “photographic stylist.”  Actually, that’s how my love of photography began.  I stumbled upon it!

I was at a photographer’s studio late one Friday afternoon picking up a check for one of my children when a call came into the studio.  It was the photographer’s stylist saying she could not come into work on Monday, he’d have to find someone to take her place.  Because it was so late in the day and in the week,  Steve (the photographer) asked me if I could take her place and be the photographic stylist for a cookbook he was scheduled to shoot during the next two weeks.  He told me it would be easy, just bring whatever props I wanted — relating to cooking — and show up for work Monday morning.  His expectation was for me to be an extra pair of hands, buy groceries, wash dishes — and mostly stay away from the shooting.

It sounded fun — so I showed up to work Monday morning with my car packed to the gills with props from my kitchen.  I asked Steve where I should put them and was told, “Leave them in the car.  You’ll know where to find them if we need them.”

Most of that first day I washed dishes and swept the floor and looked in on the sets to give my approval.  Then late in the day the client came to me and said, “Do you like the way this shot is going?”  “Frankly no,” I answered.  Then she said, “What are you going to do about it?”  “Nothing!”  I said, and started to wash more dishes.  But she said, “Yes you are!  That’s what I’m paying you to do.  I was told you are an artist.  Now go fix that shot.”

With fear and trembling — knowing I was not the person she was told about — I walked over to the set and stood next to the art director.  I didn’t say a word, only stood there watching.  It was a french bread shot — and the director had chosen sand colored everything.  The client was right.  It was boring!  Each item blended right into the next.  To my relief, the art director said, “This isn’t going the way I expected.   Do you have any suggestions?”

Pretty soon I was carrying props in from the car and making suggestions here and there.  Candlelight here.  Green ivy there.  We re-vamped the shot (and the next, and the next) — while Steve watched horrified.  But when the shots started getting better, Steve looked relieved.  By the end of the two weeks, I had a job.  I became Steve’s photographic stylist.  And my love of photography was born.

So.  Begin where you are.  At home.  Take lots of shots.  Be sure to include “found shots” and “made shots.”  Each has its place.  And let’s see where this adventure takes you!