Practice Makes Perfect

There is probably not a single day that I don’t pick up my camera and snap a picture or two…. or three… or even more.

That’s what I do to try to become a better photographer.

It may sound cliche but there’s just no substitute for practice and practice makes perfect… even if it takes a little time to get there.

In fact, practice shooting is at the heart of these pretty cones and ice-cream.

crepe myrtle tree

I was inspired by the blooming crepe myrtle tree that stands tall and wild in front of my house.

When we first built this home, the tree was just a twig and I still marvel at its speedy growth and widespread coverage.

The delicate, lavender-colored blooms stay vibrant until the first fall frost.

So, we’re able to enjoy this tree long past the summer season.

ice cream tin

I was looking for some color to add to one of my practice shoots and the crepe myrtle blooms were abundant and most convenient.

When I snapped the photos for this post, I wasn’t even planning a blog post.

Again, I was just practicing.

homemade ice cream

I hate for nice photos to go to waste so, even if I don’t use photos on this blog, I’ll use them on my Instagram account.

Folks, I’m starting to love IG for its lovely inspiration and sharing of gorgeous locales.

After I downloaded the photos and started to look through them, it occurred to me that the shots would make a decent blog post after all.

waffle cones tray

When putting this shot together, I was trying to create a pile-high stack of waffle cones but I didn’t make quite enough for the height I was going after.

Instead, I left the cones low in the tray and decided to let the dark, splotchy backdrop take more center stage.

Further down in this post, I’ll show you how I came up with this cool, rustic background.

cones and ice cream

Regular readers may already be aware of my affinity for homemade waffle cones.

I think once you make your own cones, you will never go back to buying store-bought again. I mean that.

You can see some of my other waffle cone posts HERE  and  HERE and HERE.

While these practice sessions are used to improve my photography, I also take the opportunity to practice my photo editing techniques.

ice cream and cones

I used to think that using editing software like Photoshop and/or Lightroom was somehow cheating. I’ve changed my mind about that now.

On this shot, all the elements made the scene look so busy and I wanted the focus of attention to be on the pan of ice cream.

So, I used the blur feature in Photoshop to make the cones and area around the pan a little blurry.

In retrospect, the blur could be a little more subtle but achieving that balance is something I’ll have to work on.

waffle cones setup

Keep your eyes peeled for backdrops and unusual props around your home. I think you’ll be surprised by the unexpected treasures you’ll find.

You can read my previous post on turning a picnic bench into a backdrop HERE.

Also, if you don’t have crepe myrtle trees, check out my post on incorporating linens and dishes into your food styling efforts HERE.

Happy practicing… for perfection.

waffle cone upright

Thanks for stopping by.

See  you back here next time. 

  • Simone | My Blueberry Basket

    Dear Lisa, I have just discovered your blog and I am simply fascinated by all the beautiful photos, the wonderful ideas and the delicious recipes. I’ll be coming back many times, that’s for sure. I’m really looking forward to reading all those blog posts! Thank you for sharing all your ideas and photos with us!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      You’re so sweet Simone. Thanks so much.
      I’m thrilled you found my little corner of the blogosphere.
      I know I’ll be seeing you around now that we’ve connected.
      Have a lovely week.

  • Marisa | Marisa Moore Nutrition

    Great idea to use the baking sheet as a backdrop! I’ve used it flat but never behind the photo. Smart!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Marisa, definitely raid your family members kitchens for those wonderful “burned” baking trays-lol.
      Thanks so much for popping by.
      Hope you’re inspired.

  • [email protected] Designs

    Not only are your photos perfection, your styling is simply amazing….you can take everyday items look exquisite!…..Have you ever thought of doing a photography styling class….I will be the first to sign up!!!!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks so much, Shirley. I glad you’re inspired to look at everyday items in a new way.
      Hmmmm, I’ll have to keep the course idea in mind (smile).
      Happy weekend!

  • Krystin Grenon

    Your creativity and photography abilities are impressive! You are not just a talking head! 🙂

  • Penny at Enjoying The Simple Things

    I love these moody looking shots! Can you share what lens you used?

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks so much, Penny.
      That dark and moody style is really big right now. I’m still trying to figure it out but I did write a post about that technique a while back.
      I’m pretty sure I used a 100mm and a 24-70mm lens for the photos in this post.
      If you do a search on my blog for “Dark and Moody Photography”, it should come up.
      Also be sure to check out the Photography section in my navigation bar. I have several other posts I’ve written about various techniques I use.

  • Peggy

    Your photography skills and talent are so inspiring! I love that you are so generous with details. I could copy everything to do and still not have the beautiful, crisp, jump off the page images you do.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Peggy, you’re oh-so sweet. I really appreciate that.
      I’m thrilled you’re inspired and I hope it gives you that little push to play around with props and backgrounds to see what wonderful new shots you come up with.
      Happy day.

  • Carole @TootSweet4Two

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! Thanks for the “behind the scenes tips” for all of us that are aspiring to your level of mastery!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks, Carole.
      You know when I look at some of my earlier photos… I cringe-lol.
      I’m proof that you can get better with practice and I really do work on it every day in some way.
      I’m glad you enjoy my “behind the scenes” elements. Good luck with your photography too.

  • Jeanne

    Lisa – Love to see your still life set ups and styling tips…a true master. I’m always excited to get an Ohhh moment when viewing your photos…that cone…Wow!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks so much, Jeanne.
      You’re such a sweet supporter and I appreciate that.
      This is another one of those recipes that your kids would really enjoy.
      Of course, they’ll definitely love eating them too.

  • Rebecca

    I haven’t graduated yet to having a blog, or even owning a (real) camera. (I’m still using my IPad to take pictures.) But recently I asked to borrow my daughter’s camera because I’d like to try some of your suggestions. I love how you share tips, and truth. The background. Your pics and styling are pretty amazing. I’m sure we could be friends. Smile!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks, Rebecca. I’m happy to be a bogging buddy.
      Feel free to email me anytime if you have any questions that are not covered in a post.
      Happy day to you.

  • Patti

    I never thought of making waffle cones! What a great idea – beautiful photos!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks, Patti!
      I think you’d really enjoy making cones. I’ve made so many over the years.
      They really do taste much better than store-bought and they make a lovely gift.
      I gave my new neighbors a house-warming gift a while back featuring homemade cones and a gallon of vanilla ice-cream.
      It made for a wonderful (and unexpected) housewarming gift.

  • Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    What I need to know is who volunteered to eat the ice cream cones?? 🙂 Beautiful shots, Lisa. And yes, I need to practice since I FINALLY got a DSLR. And to think of all the hours I used to spend with SOS pads trying to clean my baking trays :-(. I love reading about your setups for a photo shoot. It certainly gives me inspiration. Have a great day!! Making a birthday cake for my daughter today — not your typical cake.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Oh, Marisa… I can’t wait to see how your cake turns out. Hope you post it.
      Yes, hang onto those deliciously-burned baking trays-lol.
      I have 5-6 trays like this that I found in my mom’s basement and I was soooo glad she didn’t get rid of them.
      They’re among my favorite backdrop props.
      Happy day to you and thanks for all your sweet blog support.

  • Botanic Bleu

    Your photography is stunning, and your photo styling tips priceless. You always have great posts that inspire me.


    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks so much, Judith.
      Keep your eyes peeled for those “burned” baking trays-lol.
      You’re such a great cheerleader. Glad to know you’re inspired.
      Enjoy your week.

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