Tuscany – Textures of Italy

I have to admit it. I had certain expectations of Italy. I try to approach travel with a ‘no expectations’ mantra. But for this trip I was definitely influenced by stories my mom had told me, memories from childhood, Instagram imagery, and, of course, television.

Having an Italian background, I imagined I would ‘find my people.’ I did not. I found the culture in Italy very different from the Italian American culture I grew up around in the South End of Hartford, Connecticut. It was a tight-knit community, very much influenced by their new environment, where they eased up on tradition and became a bit more lighthearted.

 

Tuscany Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Life in the Tuscan hills seems to have remained untouched. Many occupations have obviously continued for centuries … wine and olive oil production, woodcraft and leather craft. I imagine the hills of Tuscany looked very much the same hundreds of years ago.

 

Tuscany - Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany - Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany - Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany - Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany - Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Although I did not find my people so to speak, I did find inspiration. The effect of time on doors, windows, walls, and floors was exciting to look at and photograph. Experiencing buildings constructed in the 12th century or before … I found myself stopping and staring and imaging what life was like so long ago. Amongst this ancient backdrop, women dressed in haute couture, an eclectic mix of modern style and classic fabrics. The juxtaposition of old and new, ancient and modern was exhilarating.  I do love contrasts and textures so, it fueled me creatively. My heart was racing, my brain filling with idea after idea, layers of concepts forming as I walked the narrow streets. Rough stucco and crumbling brick encouraged me to once again work with textures. Intersecting buildings inspired geometric design concepts. Eclectic interiors and clothing design influenced me to craft photography composites.Looking back in time helped me imagine the future. To envision the work I will to create over the next few years, seeing it hang there on the wall as if it has already been accomplished.

Looking back in time helped me imagine the future. To envision the work I will to create over the next few years, seeing it hang there on the wall as if it has already been accomplished.

 

Tuscany - Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany - Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany - Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany - Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany - Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany - Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany - Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany - Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany - Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscany - Textures of Italy - Renuko Style

 

Tuscan villa near Castiglion Fiorentino available on airbnb here.

Tuscan texture packs coming soon. Current texture packs and stock images available here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’d Rather Be In Paris

I must mimic the words of my dear friend Dona Bergen here. This city has indeed stolen my heart. Paris has welcomed me with open arms and has literally taken me in. I resonate so well with the culture and surprisingly so. It has been an unexpected pleasure to find I connect with this polite, kind, gracious, respectful people. It was especially a joy to see the art of conversation has been developed into just that – an art, as beautiful as the art that surrounds you on every corner of every street.

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Art and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Art and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Art and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Art and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

The city was easy to navigate. My husband and I strolled along endless streets in a variety of neighborhoods in order to get a feel for the city. Our main objective was to enjoy the everyday habits of Parisians … coffee, pastry, cheese, and crepes. Crepes are the tacos of Paris. Filled with every imaginable filling, they can sustain you any time of day for any meal or for dessert. You can have it wrapped to take away and eat it on the fly for a mere 4 euros.

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Gardens and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Gardens and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

 

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Gardens and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Gardens and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

With just 3 days to explore the city, we opted not to visit the inside of museums but instead thoroughly experience the gardens and architecture. I was dumbfounded at the sheer scale and massive size of the buildings. Just a glimpse appeared in my minds eye of a time past, these buildings under construction and the artisans who created them. As my daughter remarked, “It is a testament to the capability of humanity. Imagine how much can be achieved if we were to exist in a fully cooperative state, devoid of distress.”

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Gardens and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Gardens and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Gardens and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Gardens and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Gardens and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

Paris is so easy to fall in love with. Everything is beautiful, everything! … from the tiny little spoon that you stir your perfectly executed cappuccino with to the delicately ornate stonework and ironwork on the face of the residences. One can find a complimentary combination of new and old, modern and antiquated in every detail. For me, a country girl with a city aesthetic, I immediately thrive, right at home with the everyday fashion of black and scarves and leather shoulder bags. Citizens and tourists alike walk about the bustling streets with a purpose – to live each day to the fullest. The concept is enhanced by a delightful “Bonjour,” spoken with a lilt at the end and said with a smile that tells me it is meant fully as well.

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Gardens and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Gardens and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Gardens and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Gardens and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

I'd Rather be in Paris - Paris Gardens and Architecture - Photography - Renuko Style

 

And lastly, I must speak to the infrastructure of the city. From the moment you arrive at the airport, you realize that your experience will be pleasant. I don’t know how they do it, but thousands upon thousands of visitors are cared for wonderfully without massive traffic jams or packed tight streets. We are fed without having to wait very long and can walk pretty much anywhere without fear. I tip my blue baret to you, dear Paris. I will return to you again. I must, for now, I have left my heart with you.

 

And lastly I must speak to the infrastructure of the city. From the moment you arrive at the airport you realize that your experience will be pleasant. I don’t know how they do it, but thousands upon thousands of visitors are cared for wonderfully without massive traffic jams or packed tight streets. We are fed without having to wait very long and can walk pretty much anywhere without fear. I tip my blue baret to you dear Paris. I will return to you again. I must, for I have left my heart with you.

 

 

 

Photography notes:

For most of my stay in Paris, I sported my Nikon 3200 DSLR with a Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens. My F-stop was set at 6.3 for street shots and architecture, ISO 200-400 as it was never really bright and sunny, and a range of shutter speeds to suit the subject and time of day. I found in particular if I focused on the beginning of the right or left of the street, not the center, the depth of field was correct. I used a 35mm and 50mm lens at Luxembourg Gardens and generally shot at F 5.0. I always had my iPhone 7 in my pocket everywhere I went and used it for quick indoor shots or to zoom in on a subject from far away. I jumped between using the stock camera on my phone as well as the ProCamera App for specific settings and to shoot in Camera Raw. I always upload everything to Lightroom and edit there.

Additional note:

‘I’d Rather be in Paris’ was first written for Bangor Daily News featuring Dona Bergen, owner of Mars Hall Gallery in Tenants Harbor, Maine. The post has since been archived.

 

 

 

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September Soul

A ray of sun peeks through the trees and beckons me to stillness
I breathe a sigh, a heavy one, as heavy as the moist evening atmosphere

How I long for summer to stretch on into eternity …

And yet I am of two minds
That same ray of sun that beckons me to stillness carries with it a cool zephyr
Hinting of quieter days, soft and simple reflection, days filled with no purpose
Feet slowing to walk instead of run

And I quickly give in … to the idea of autumn … and the promise of peaceful contemplation

 

 

 

September Soul - Renuko Style

 

September Soul - Renuko Style

 

September Soul - Renuko Style

 

September Soul - Renuko Style

 

September Soul - Renuko Style

 

September Soul - Renuko Style

 

September Soul - Renuko Style

 

September Soul - Renuko Style

 

September Soul - Renuko Style

 

The images are from a late summer day spent with Hilary from Everlong Gardener at golden hour. A yearly excursion to Endless Summer Flower Farm is never missed and was made even more enjoyable with her companionship. As we arrived back home to play a bit more in my garden, the last few rays of light shone just above the scene. Oh, how I love that September golden glow!

 

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Sea and Salty Air

The air is so salty you can taste it on your tongue
both pungent and sweet with the unmistakable odor of piled kelp 

High clouds and heavy mist

These are the days of stiff breezes and billowy sails and voyages to far off places
of long lost stares and journey’s to nowhere

 

 

Coastal Photo Shoot - Lifestyle Photography - Renuko Style

 

Coastal Photo Shoot - Lifestyle Photography - Renuko Style

 

Coastal Photo Shoot - Lifestyle Photography - Renuko Style

 

Coastal Photo Shoot - Lifestyle Photography - Renuko Style

 

Coastal Photo Shoot - Lifestyle Photography - Renuko Style

 

Coastal Photo Shoot - Lifestyle Photography - Renuko Style

 

Coastal Photo Shoot - Lifestyle Photography - Renuko Style

 

Coastal Photo Shoot - Lifestyle Photography - Renuko Style

 

Coastal Photo Shoot - Lifestyle Photography - Renuko Style

 

Location – the Breakwater, Rockland, Maine.

Model – Corie DeMaria

Shot with a Nikon D3200 and a 50mm F 1.8 lens. Edited in Adobe Lightroom.

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5 Essential Tips for Brand Lifestyle Photography

5 Essential Tips for Shooting Lifestyle Photography for your Brand - Renuko Style

 

Shoot Your Own Brand Lifestyle Photography

I was thrilled when Zoe Bond of Heirloom House in Thorndike, Maine contacted me regarding a brand lifestyle photography shoot for her new shop. Zoe opened a Parisian style boutique in the center of her small town. She wanted imagery that spoke to her brand, a beautifully styled shop with an eclectic mix of vintage and modern – clothing, jewelry and items for the home. She envisions the shop to be a meeting place as well, offering coffee and pastries in a space meant for community and family. I see this being such an asset in her community and enjoyed meeting her so much! The place and concept is so inviting, I wanted to do my best and deliver imagery that she could use on her website and with social media.

And it’s a perfect opportunity to share my brand lifestyle photography process with you!

So here are 5 essential tips for shooting lifestyle photography for your brand, whether it be a store, product, any type of artwork, or service.

 

5 Essential Tips for Shooting Lifestyle Photography for your Brand - Renuko Style

 

5 Essential Tips for Shooting Brand Lifestyle Photography - Renuko Style

 

Tell Your Story with Real-Life Situations

What real-life actions and situations would your customer be engaged in? Imagine the scene as if from the movie of your ideal customer using your product or shopping at your store. Would the items be used in a luxurious home or are they for everyday use? Is your store filled with precious items or is it a welcoming place for families? If your brand is a service rather than a physical product, imagine the feeling your customer will have after using your service and set the scene depicting the feeling or emotion that relates the benefits.

Props are extremely important and should be chosen carefully. They should add to the story of your brand and relate to the words you have chosen to describe it.

 

5 Essential Tips for Shooting Lifestyle Photography for your Brand - Renuko Style

 

5 Essential Tips for Shooting Lifestyle Photography for your Brand - Renuko Style

 

5 Essential Tips for Shooting Lifestyle Photography for your Brand - Renuko Style

 

 

 

Choose Your Models Carefully

Another thing that must be carefully considered is your model choice. Family and friends may work out perfectly … or they may not. You do not need professional models but they should feel comfortable behind the camera and enjoy having their picture taken. If the friends you ask to help don’t readily say “yes!” – consider putting out a call on Facebook or advertise in a local paper. You will be surprised at the response. My latest call for models was extremely successful and I live in a pretty small town. Have them email you several pictures so you can choose someone who has an aesthetic that would fit well with your brand. If you have an opportunity to meet with them beforehand, choose someone who can move gracefully and slowly.

 

Direct Your Models

Tell your model ahead of time that you will be bossy and be telling her how to move. You may also have to move her arm or turn her head in just the right way, so make sure she is OK with that. You can also demonstrate by standing and posing in a similar position to make your vision clear to her. Help her forget you are there and direct her to go about doing normal things in slow motion. Speak in a calm and soft tone to facilitate the process. Use words like dance, dream, imagine, to help her relax. If two persons will be interacting, make sure they relate well to one another. They may need time to get to know each other a bit if they don’t already.

 

5 Essential Tips for Shooting Lifestyle Photography for your Brand - Renuko Style

 

5 Essential Tips for Shooting Lifestyle Photography for your Brand - Renuko Style

 

5 Essential Tips for Shooting Lifestyle Photography for your Brand - Renuko Style

 

Pay Attention to the Light

Brand Lifestyle Photography - Renuko StyleOf course, as with all photography, lighting is the most important element to consider. Interior shots can be challenging, especially on dark, cloudy days as it was at this shoot. Thankfully there were plenty of windows allowing light in from several directions. Even so, I was glad to have extra lighting. In the image below you can see the equipment  I used to cast extra light on the scene. I also used this set-up to create balanced lighting for Zoey’s head shot. She was standing by a window to her left and the light was to her right. I was very happy with the effect, soft light with very little shadow. You can find the equipment I used here on Amazon, I loved it so much (it being quite inexpensive and pretty great!) I ordered another.

In some cases, I left the lights in the store on as well. They all had a warm glow which added another dimension to the images. I especially like the shots where we caught a mirror reflection too. Artsy, don’t you think?

For more camera setting and lighting tips head over here.

 

5 Essential Tips for Shooting Lifestyle Photography for your Brand - Renuko Style

 

 

 

5 Essential Tips for Shooting Brand Lifestyle Photography - Renuko Style

 

5 Essential Tips for Shooting Brand Lifestyle Photography- Renuko Style

 

 

 

Keep on Clicking!

And last but certainly not least … click away! The only way to catch nuances of expression in your models is to continually click the shutter. There is no way around it … if your model stops and poses it will not look natural. So make like a fashion photographer and click, click, click! You might come away with hundreds of images to cull through but it will be worth it. And the easy way to do that is with Lightroom, but you probably already know that!

 

5 Essential Tips for Shooting Brand Lifestyle Photography - Renuko Style

 

 

 

5 Essential Tips for Shooting Brand Lifestyle Photography- Renuko Style

 

 

 

* Just a little heads up guys. I am now an affiliate for several companies and may link to products and services that I use and love. They will turn around and pay me a small percentage for this, which is awesome because it helps pay the bills. Thank you in advance for using my referrals.

 

 

 

 

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