She couldn’t help herself as she picked up her brush, opened some acrylic paint, spread out a big roll of paper and let it flow. Tamara Knight suddenly brought a full floral backdrop collection to life, full of romantic color and graceful strokes as she imagined a lovely subject placed in front, ready to be preserved in a portrait of lasting signifigance.
I watched the whole thing unfold, you see, it all happened in a little group of 20,000 + members on Facebook for glamour photographers I co-founded in January 2013, for students of Sue Bryce to learn together and become better studio photographers under her education umbrella. Named after Sue’s blog www.inbedwithsue.com This group is InBedWithSue with members that mean business.
We run full circle with an array of topics. No, we don’t get into camera tech a whole lot, but we do love to talk about lighting, posing and well … styling. Styling is the subtle but intense difference in a lasting portrait. Sue reminds everyone to #existinphotos as an heirloom for their families.
Styling … from fluffy tulle skirts, how to make, where to source material, how much of it and beyond to paint colors for poly boards you purchase at a hardware store and strap to the top of your vehicle, a 4 x 8 sheet mind you, and when we buy one, usually it’s really 3. We talk endlessly about gowns and how to work with hair & make up. Then there is the furnishing … let’s see, apple boxes, white ottomans, chairs, sofas and then we have to paint some of these finds. We have researched together and learned how to paint an entire sofa. Yes, fabric too. And we have, many times. We are a glamour machine in this group…
Then the backdrops started and boy did they … It started with painting canvas in a triple layer of paints to create old masters looks. Within one month we probably had over 100 people creating them. Not long after, we had members making flower backdrops in any way they could imagine and playing show and tell. We had paper created ones, coffee filters and artificial florals. Then out of the blue, one of our long standing members showed a few images of herself painting lovely, large pink flowers on some paper. My first thought was Oh My! Now that is something. Tamara Knight then commenced to say soon after “I can’t stop myself” feeling every ounce of energy we gave her in our adoration as a group. Our members love to put it out there too, “I would love to buy one from you” started from many of the voices in her posting threads.
But how? Tamara quickly came to the conclusion she could photograph the work and bring the idea of a line to a good quality backdrop company. Aileen Treadwell of Baby Dream Backdrops had the instinct that these would fill a need for her client base and the Tamara Knight Collection was initiated, coming to fruition and on the market in less than 2 weeks with four different unique designs with more to be introduced.
The building of a collection
From the artist: “It all started with the flower backdrop which was introduced by Sue Bryce. I wanted one, but I didn’t have the time to create it, I needed the backdrop for the next day. So I grabbed my kid’s acrylic paint, the roll of the seamless paper which I had for years, but never used and it all started. I painted my backdrop that night, used it and shared the results with ‘In Bed with Sue’ group. I was overwhelmed by the response! Such a supportive group! Soon after I created 4 more backdrops within a week and approached Baby Dream Backdrops company – one of the best in the industry, I am thrilled that they picked up my designs”.
Any favorite equipment choices and editing programs for your work?
My 80mm 1.2 and 70-200 2.8 lenses. I use Lightroom to cull images and do very basic editing, but it is Photoshop all the way from there. I love working on composites for fun.
Who do you follow as an inspiration or education source?
Sue Bryce, Jerry Ghionis, Lindsay Adler to name a few. But the biggest impact was Sue Bryce and her teaching. I first discovered her on CreativeLive and now I own her courses which are brilliant! If you can only afford one course – get Sue’s 28 days! She is an amazing photographer and a teacher. Very sincere, she moved so many photographers around the world to strive for better. She is my biggest inspiration!
Tamara Knight Photography specializes in modern beauty, children and family photography.