Amy L Smith Photography
Who Doesn't Love Twinkle Lights?! - Add Some Whimsey to Your Work!
Updated: Sep 19, 2019
Sometimes you want a darker, moodier feel to your images and sometimes bright and fun is what you’re going for. Well, here is one super easy and quick way to achieve that light and airy feel! You will see that my examples are with food photography/still life, but on a larger scale, these ideas can definitely be used with portraiture, (indoors or out depending on how much effort you want to put into it). The results would look great and worth the extra bit of setup!
All you need are some of the small twinkly fairy lights and a board or backdrop to adhere them to and you have a perfect setting for some super cute and fun photos, that alone would be good, but this will help take it to the next level!
Simply use clear tape to adhere the lights in a somewhat “purposely-random” pattern on the board. In this instance, two strands were used so that they were scattered across the entire surface. One strand probably would work if you take a bit more time and space them out a little more. The battery packs were able to hang off the back and/or sit on the table out of the frame without any issues.
If you shoot with a larger depth of field (a low f-stop/wider open aperture), you can shoot your subject as the board is shown above, and the wires will barely show, if at all. That is something you can experiment with to get the effect and look you want! In a few of the examples, you will see that some translucent paper was used to diffuse the lights and add another layer of interest to the background and scene. (I found these beautiful handmade sheets of paper along with a few others at a local art store for around $5 per sheet – super exciting find!) You can always apply a little LR or PS magic and make the wires disappear too, if needed! The aperture settings range from 2.8-5.0, so the bokeh you get of the lights is gorgeous and the blur is very forgiving in regards to the wire. A wider aperture also helped the pattern in the paper not be too distracting, so as to not take away from the subject.
A few variations on this would be to use different colored lights, or regular/colored tissue paper on your backdrop. You could keep it flat for a clean look or crinkle it up t o add a little bit of interest and texture!
I truly hope this inspires you to try adding some lights or other items you have around that you think would be a fun addition to your images! Please be sure to share any of your ideas or photos - if you share on IG be sure to tag me (@foodplayandflatlay or @amylsmithphotography) so I can see what lovely setups and images you create!