Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | July 29, 2013

Photo Styling Series Part IV


My transformed and hand-painted 1940’s Jacobean sideboard staged for brunch.

While I am an admitted newbie in the blogging world, I do have a long history of selling my photography as a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines and as an art photographer. I’ve had 20 years of studies at Art Institutes, the Maine Photographic’s and others and I have written about and have sold my photography for many years using traditional cameras and films. I’ve exhibited my work framed in numerous galleries and even owned my own art gallery as a fine artist.

DALinterdunalsBA publicity shot from when I was the Artist-in-Residence at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 2002.

My genre was then; human interest feature photography (people) and landscapes both in black and white and color films. I also used many now defunct art films like black and white infrared, hand-printed them in my darkroom in silver print and hand-colored them in a unique art photography style.


A color landscape I photographed from the Indiana Dunes and transferred onto my own handmade paper.

Then the digital revolution hit and I felt like a child just learning again. And to complicate my path, I didn’t have the budget to buy expensive new cameras, programs or computers. About a year or two ago I wanted to get serious at photo styling and photographing my hand-painted furniture. I began to study, read, research and teach myself a few tricks. Currently I only use a simple point and shoot digital camera, so I am limited equipment wise. But even with a modest camera I’ve discovered we can take some interesting photographs and with PicMonkey we can make then shine.


My 1940’s Jacobean sideboard staged for the period and for typical use. 

To improve my photography I created a dedicated photo space in my art studio and hung two panels of fabric that act as curtains and backdrop and a neutral wall and flooring color to accent but not overwhelm the shot.

I learned to create a “stage” for my photographs that uses appropriate vintage and antique “props” that work with the piece I am photographing. I took pains to select items in the right color, age and style for the piece of furniture.

In this staged photograph I wanted a 1940’s, elegant dining room feeling. I painstakingly selected decorative pieces to set the scene for the era. I used fine Phoenix Bird china bowl on a almost Chinese feeling stand and wooden candle sticks with glass globes that might have been used in the era when this piece was new. The red wool cloth is embellished with shiny and dangling black beads on it and draped over the basket give a Victorian feeling as well. Ferns are a very Victorian greenery so I  choose ferns over say, hydrangeas or day lilies. The final colors were very important to me so I choose items in reds and blue to accent the blue and cream side board.


A burgundy red brocade runner sets the scene for blue and white dishes and while linen napkins, red leather bound book and vintage blue glass vase with ferns.


This view shows the red wool table runner with black shimmery beads that coordinate with the black tones in the backdrop panel.


My PicMonkey collage highlighting the most interesting of the photograph of this sideboards most unique features.

I know I can still improve in my skill level but when I compare these images to my early one, I am happy with what I have accomplished in about a year and a half of study and work.

If you would like to read the other parts of this photo styling series click on “photo styling” at the bottom of The Small House home page.

I find the challenges of photo styling a fascinating pastime and hope you do as well.

Sharing at:

1) Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

2) Creative Inspirations Blog Party/ Embracing Change

3) Miss Mustard Seed

Small House / Big Sky Donna


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