Capturing moments - Guide to preserving memories by Radhika Shenoi Sethi


Pic Courtesy: Radhika

Diwali is just around the corner and it’s time for us to bring out those shimmering lights and bright colours. Getting out our favourite decorations such as string lights, candles, oil lamps, can be a lovely and overwhelming experience all at the same time. Trinket after trinket brings back a festival memory to savour, but every bag of trinkets begs the question, where do I begin? The answer is easy: The dining room.


For starters, our dining space is usually the most popular spot in the house for any festival as our family and friends gather around for long conversations, a hearty laugh and most importantly, the gorgeous food.


As we enjoy the moment, we often think about loved ones who live far away and can’t make it, or we just want to share the experience with our many friends on social media and what better way to do that, than through pictures of our home, dining space and food.




Taking a nice picture is an art form, and to help achieve the perfect balance of reality and art, we spoke with Radhika Shenoi Sethi who knows a thing or two about taking a great picture. A flourishing career in finance has kept Radhika busy but over the past 3-4 years she has managed to focus on her passion, which is home décor and that led to her starting an Instagram page.


Her first set of pictures showcased her favourite festival, Christmas, and the attention her posts garnered, gave her tons of confidence and the motivation to move forward. Radhika may not have a degree in interior designing but she more than makes up for it with a keen aesthetic sense and limitless passion to craft beautiful spaces in her own home as well as people she knows. Never one to stop learning, Radhika draws inspiration by following fellow decorators on Instagram and Pinterest.


Given her appetite for the unique, it's no surprise that Radhika’s thoughtfully and intricately curated home is transitional, blending modern, traditional, country and even old-English elements together. Radhika’s dining space can be best described as “effortlessly chic” as it combines earthy greys and warm whites to create a space that is warm and comforting. One of her recent possessions is her 4-seater dining table which doubles up as her workstation on weekdays. It was only after getting her dining table, she experimented with different tablescapes and understood more about the different tablecloths, runners and placemats available and how to use and care for them.


All the images featured here have been styled and shot by Radhika. You'll find more such gorgeous pictures on her Instagram handle @the.whimsicallife.


For her table, Radhika loves using neutral colours such as greys, whites or beige and when paired with a centrepiece like fresh or faux flowers, or candles, or even fresh greens used as a runner makes for a nice statement. Radhika believes that investing in good table linen is paramount as it adds texture, elevates the centrepiece and is practical as well.


Pic Courtesy: Radhika


At the moment, she is in love with the “Winter Grey” tablecloth, a new addition to The Yard House collection as it transitions seamlessly from being an everyday piece to a highlight for a nice formal gathering. “The Yard House products combine aesthetics as well functionality by protecting my table with its spill-proof and easy to clean features”, she says.

Radhika has broken down her top tips and tricks that will transform your table setting photos from amateur shots to compelling composition:


# Focus on the main element

It may sound like basic advice, but this is the most common mistake most of us make. Steady the phone to avoid shaking the camera and focus on a point near the main element. The viewer should have clarity on what you want to convey through that picture. For instance,

- Food pictures - focus on its most enticing detail, like the interior of a sliced layer cake and keep the rest of the elements blurred.

- For table linen, ensure that you capture every minute detail of the table cloth whether it's a far angle or a close shot.

Pic Courtesy: Radhika


# Never tamper with the colours

Natural light allows for nuances in a photo that a phone flash just cannot do. Shooting in natural light ensures that the original colour of the product is not lost while editing the picture. Use the highlight option to reduce the highlight and increase the shadow, and the picture adjusts itself without any changes to the colour.

Pic Courtesy: Radhika


# Try taking photos from multiple angles.

Take a few shots from different angles. Stand up and take an overhead shot of your table, or duck down to meet your table at a 30 to 45 degree angle. You’ll have the freedom of picking a favourite later.

Pic Courtesy: Radhika


# Keep it clutter-free

Avoid placing too many things around the table as you tend to lose focus on the main element. Add only as many elements that are required to be in that frame and space them out well while blurring the rest. The final picture should look nice and clean.

Pic Courtesy: Radhika


# Set a mood

To bring about a mood to the picture, adjust the warmth and that makes a big difference. If the picture is very bright, try decreasing the warmth, and if it is dull increase it. It also depends on the kind of setting you want. For instance, if you want to capture the mood on a rainy day, make the frame look a little darker than your normal picture.

Pic Courtesy: Radhika


# Practice. Practice. Practice

If you’re serious about becoming a better photographer, you need practice. Take three or four or even a dozen photos of the table. Review them and pick the one you’re happiest with to post on Instagram.

Pic Courtesy: Radhika


As you take more photos, you’ll become more comfortable with your phone’s camera features, learning the benefits and limitations of the camera. You’ll also come to understand how to adjust your framing or stylistic approach and the time of day when your home gets the best light. These little details will help you make beautiful images.

 

AUTHOR


Deepthi Velkur (@deepthi9844) is a Bangalore based freelance digital content writer, and mom to a busy 10-year old. Her writing credits include health and fitness magazines, running stories and wedding planning articles. While redecorating her apartment she fell in love with home styling and now marries her love for home decor with writing.






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