Life by Selena Photography
Montreal portrait & wedding photographer


The official blog of Montreal photographer Selena Phillips-Boyle. Explore her signature photojournalistic style and stay up to date on her latest wedding and portrait photography projects here.

9 : Aunt Magda Ceramics

Stepping into Renee’s studio, my nose was greeted with a myriad of intriguing aromas. I had never been in a ceramics studio before, and suddenly I was presented with so many novel things: a potter’s wheel in one corner, an electric kiln set to 1240 C in another, and storage shelves filled with the most beautiful ceramics. When stepping into a new studio it’s important to quickly become acquainted with the dos and don’ts--touching that kiln with my bare skin being a huge don’t.

Renee brought me into photograph her latest collection of raku pottery. These delicately exquisite pieces--cups, plates, and vases--are works of art unto themselves. Each piece is carefully formed by she slowly adding clay by hand until the piece is complete. The result is that each piece is wonderfully unique. Her delicate collection of cream-coloured cups and plates are rimmed with a luxurious gold detail that evoke a sense of elegance. Her set of brown and black ceramics have rich gold undertones. Personally, my favorite pieces were the ones which contrast a smooth and speckled grey with a textured matte black. 

Renee had already established a target aesthetic for capturing her work, but it was up to me to find the ideal way to frame and light the pieces. Having recently shot so many humans in motion, still-life photography was a refreshing change of pace: I didn’t have to worry about the vases blinking. The lighting set-up was relatively simple. For my primary source, I used natural light from a series of small opaque windows set high-up on one side of the studio. This light softly and uniformly wrapped around the top of the piece. For the secondary lighting source I used gold and silver reflectors to bounce the window light back onto the piece. With a reflector I was able to manipulate where the light fell: straight-on, highlighting the side, curving along the bottom, or focusing on a particular detail which caught my eye. Within a few shots I found the best lighting for the piece. The choice of gold or silver was motivated by the desire to elicit the natural undertones in each piece. Overall, the lighting in the room was terribly low, which necessitated the combination of a tripod, delayed shutter release, and long exposure time to maintain a low ISO to give Renee the best quality of images.

You can contact Montreal artist Aunt Magda Ceramics through her website, Facebook, or Instagram.

Tech Specs
Location: Montreal, QC
Date: November 5, 2015
Equipment: Canon 5diii, Canon 24-105mm, Canon 85mm, gold & silver reflector

Up Next
On Thursday I throwback to some photos from an apiary adventure.

This Life by Selena Photography blog post about product photography was produced by Montreal photographer Selena Phillips-Boyle. This blog post was edited by Montreal communications professional Max Baru.

Cet article de blogue sur la photographie des produits Life by Selena était produit par Selena Phillips-Boyle, photographe montréalaise. Cet article de blogue fut révisé par Max Baru, spécialiste de communication à Montréal.