Monday, December 03, 2012

CoffeeShop Fruit Still Life Texture Tutorial: Part 1

If you have been following my blog you probably know about my texture addiction.  I love reading the Flypaper Texture blog because Jill and Paul post before/after images with the texture "recipes" they used in their edit.  Honestly, with some limited photography and editing skills and beautiful textures (free or paid), I think anyone can create their own custom art prints.  If I can do it, anyone can!

I read the Still Life Photography Pears post at Flypaper and decided that moment I was going to do a similar edit for my kitchen.  I have the Flypaper textures used in the tutorial so I just needed to go shoot some pears.  Note: You can read Part 2 of the tutorial here.

I have a granite-topped island in the breakfast area of my kitchen across from some windows that has great reflection potential.  It has natural light, but unfortunately because of trees and porch overhang it is very dim,  so I had to shoot manual to make sure I got a sharp image.  I used my Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 , ISO 800, 28 mm, f3.2, 1/8 second.  My 50mm f/1.8 would have also worked for this shoot.  And note to self:  Next time clean the countertop because I had some smears in my final shot that would be a pain to clone out.

I set up the pears and placed my camera on the countertop across from them (as seen in the photo above), and set the auto focus point on the center pear.  Then I set the timer to 2 seconds and hit my shutter.  Since the shutter-speed was so slow I didn't want to shake my camera when I made the shot, so that is why I use the self-timer.  This really works when you don't want to set up a tripod.

You can see the shoot set-up better in this image.  We love fruit. :-)  If you have a busy background, simply tape a piece of neutral paper behind your subject.  It is best if the background has nothing distracting and is one color.

Here is my before image.  I did a quick contrast adjustment and noise reduction in LR3 then exported the image to Photoshop.

At first I wasn't sure how I was going to crop the image, so I wanted to straighten the countertop on the right.  Like most editing techniques, there are what seems to be a million ways to do an edit, and I am just showing you what I did for this image.  I selected the area and Ctrl-J to put it in a new layer.

Then I went to Edit, Free Transform and selected Distort (I think) and dragged the corners until the counter looked reasonably straight.  I then flattened the image.

I originally cropped this where the pears and reflections were centered in the middle of the image without much white space, but I wan't really happy with that edit.  I decided I needed some empty space above the pears and wanted to print a 11x14 metal print.  So I need more background on top.  Luckily I have a neutral background and can stretch it.

I added some extra white canvas on top of the image (Image, Canvas Size).

Then I selected part of the background that did not have any of the pears and Ctrl-J to put that selection on a new layer.

I then Ctrl-T and pulled up the area until I thought I had enough space over the pears.  Since I am gong to add textures it doesn't really matter that the background is a bit distorted.  You could also burn in the left side some, but I liked that it was lighter from the window light.  I flattened the image.

I used the crop tool set to 11 inches wide, 14 inches high, 240 resolution and cropped the image.

I wanted to sharpen the pears a bit, so I duplicated the background layer and used the Unsharp Mask filter to add a tiny bit of sharpening.

Tomorrow I will post the second part of this tutorial (the fun part!); adding the textures.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.


  1. Love it. Can't wait for part two... and to create one myself! I'm thinking pomegranates...

  2. Just had to come in to say: that is a gorgeous image!


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