Photography, Reworks

Teacup Ballet ReWorked

I haven’t done a rework for awhile, so I decided that it might be time to start getting back to normal and doing the posts as I used to.  I have thought about this image a lot, and one day I will redo the whole image, that means photographing it as well.  I always wished I had ironed the cloth the cups were on.

Teacup Ballet - OriginalThis is the original I did way back when, I should find the original post, I do remember the image was based on an Olive Cotton image.  You can see the Olive Cotton image in this post Teacups Following the Ballet, and  you can see the original post for the above image in this post Lighting the Ballet.

There wasn’t a lot wrong with this image, but I did wonder if I did it again, would I do it differently.

Teacup Ballet - ReworkedI think the answer is yes.  The new version is darker, though I think the cups stand out more.  I did some blurring and tried to make the highlights stand out more. I just find the wrinkled cloth a little distracting.

Both images began as HDR images that were processed in Photomatix Pro.  The Reworked image was then processed in Camera raw and a lot further processing was done in PS.  I did some further processing.

The Ballet in Silver EfexI used Silver Efex for this image.  It seems ages since I processed images with it.  It was nice to take another look at it.

Ballet with Color EfexThis one saw the Classic Soft Focus being done to it in Color Efex.  I have also missed using it.  I must get back into using the Nik Software products.  It will be nice to start experimenting again.

I love using the new 27 inch monitor to do my processing now.  I still can’t get the higher resolution, apparently a problem with my laptop, but we have ordered a new cable which might allow it.  It will be good to have it.

I am now off to do some more research for the Virtual Photography Field Trip that a client has purchased.  Off to find out about a place in the world I didn’t know about before.  Almost as good as travelling.  Almost.

Just a quick note, if you would like to find out if the notes I have written about learning your DSLR are helpful, please check out the testimonial  here.


  1. annotating60 says

    It is just shy of 11:45, I’m a poet and working this evening, probably at least until 4 AM to feed the dogs at least but no doubt an all nighter–something I try to do once or twice a week–deep breath, exhale-so. I was sitting here looking for an excuse not to work on a piece that is problematic at the moment, when your post came on my email. I prefer, b&w, but I like the sepia? tinted at least. You say rhe wrinkled cloth bothers you. I think in contrast to the duplication of a platonic tea cup several times it provides an excellent background. However, the thing that bothers me and draws my eye immediately is the reflection along the back edge of each cup, though different in each , seems to take something away from that repetative shape. About 60-75% of my poems come from something visual-art, photos, etc., so I react verbally in my head to images. I like what you do and have never stopped to tell you. So of course the first thing I say is a criticism. I guess in my case I always believe someone very critical, over someone who ‘loves’ a piece–those people make me suspicious. Be well. >KB

    • Small criticism and I can handle that. I think what you are referring to is because the light is above the cups and at the back. It was a strange way to light a still life, and not one I have done before. It would be something I should try again. I find as I develop as a photographic artistic i find new ways I want to do things. It was very nice to hear from you, and I hope the all nighter isn’t too hard on you.

  2. I quite like the first image, actually, though I’d prefer it if you’d framed it a little differently (too much space beneath the set, not enough at the sides, in my opinion). But I love the final soft focus version. I wonder, if you had the set handy, would you compose a shot where the tea-cups are still in a circle, but more at the top right edge of the frame, leaving the rest of the frame for the play of light, dark and shadows? I’m not a very good photographer, but I do enjoy composing still-lives, and I think it might make a beautiful picture.

    Also, work takes me away from the internet often, and it’s such a joy to come back to your lovely photography :-) Very nice header pic, too.

    • I was limited quite a bit with the image because I was copying the composition from someone else. I like the idea and love the original Olive Cotton version. You can learn a lot when you copy masters, or try to imitate them, it can also be quite restricting. I might try it again one day, but with my own composition. Lovely to hear from you and I appreciate that you are busy, so thank you. I am enjoying the header, always me feel cooler in this heat.

  3. I love the original Olive Cotton photograph of the teacups and was really interested to see what you did with this. Her photo inspired me to do a series of photos based around teacups as well. I really like what you have done with this, especially the final one with the soft focus. I’ll keep an eye out for your reworking if you are going to do it. Elaine

  4. lensaddiction says

    I like the darker sepia treatment the most of the new version I think. I see what you mean about ironing the cloth – I think the pro shooters use large rolls of paper for this kind of shot for that reason :)

    • I don’t know why I didn’t use paper either, I have so much of the stuff from my printmaking and drawing days. I also have large rolls of the stuff, I will have to remember that next time. :)

  5. Hi Leanne – I find the first image the most tactile and the creased cloth gives it a sea-like quality so the cups appear to float – it’s a satisfying contrast to the very smooth surfaces of the teacups. Nice to see your working and thinking – the sense of not being able to truly recapture an image if it’s (mentally or physically) over-worked is so familiar.

  6. Actually, my favourite is the first picture. The others are a bit too dark for my taste.
    But I also like the last one with the softfocus :)

  7. I think my fav is the second one but having said that it depends on how the photo was to be used…the third would work nicely in a dramatic and or horror setting, can’t you see it? regardless, they are great work!

  8. I LOVE the second image…I think it’s the re-shoot, untouched? Wow! The way the cups glisten!

  9. I love the second image–the color and light are so dramatic–it makes the teacups–something ordinary into something very special all their own-thank you too for explaining how you set up the shot and processed it-

  10. The original, I like. Your re-works, I like even more because of the glistening appearance and the more intense shadows. Well, well done!

  11. Having just checked put your site for the irst time, I realize what a neophyte I am with my photography. I love the pieces I’ve seen and will definitely be back..hoping to learn something.

  12. I just figured out that I had a light setting on my little camera the other day – so I could get cooler light – only had the camera for 5 years, but as I told you – I never bother with reading manuals. It’s too much information and far too small letters.
    I like the second image from the top .. best.

  13. This is educational and entertaining for me and it is a fun way to learn a thing or two about photography. Do love the color in the first one. Thanks for inspiration.

  14. la vie bohème says

    beautiful works here Leanne and btw thanks always for all the likes and visits.

  15. oneowner says

    What is interesting to me is that this is a great photo to start with and can still be interpreted many different ways. It takes a trained eye to see the variations possible and you certainly have it.

  16. adrienclay36 says

    I really like the second one. It’s just a beautiful photograph, and the contrast and the light reflecting off the rim of the cups is purely amazing. Great work! :)

  17. Whilst I am partial to your original here, Leanne, I also ‘fell in love’ with the B/W image! The wrinkled fabric does not bother me, as it’s a wonderful contrast to the smoothness of the porcelain(?), yet it somehow does bother me in color–does that make sense? I really love the ‘over-blown’ whites in the last image…so it and the B/W are the best of these re-works, IMHO. They all have that ‘mystery’ about them…when will tea be served? Where’s the sugar, and the cream? Doesn’t one get a spoon, dearie? (Of course, these questions are asked in my best ‘Australian accent’–Haha!–time to watch some more ‘Crocodile Dundee’, huh?).

    Seriously, I find the composition (arrangement) here quite fine, and the lighting you used is superb! Table-top shooting can be a great challenge, yet you’ve achieved here something that not many others have…simplicity, from complexity!

    • Tea will be served anytime you want 1000. Well all that other stuff is on the side table waiting to be called, or should I say they are in the wings. That Aussie accent is hard core mate, you betta watch out or you’ll be one of us before ya know it. ya get wat I mean.
      I wish I could take credit for the composition, but it was stolen from Olive Cotton, but I love the idea of it. You are right about the table top shooting, it is very hard and having the light coming from in front is even harder.

  18. petit4chocolatier says

    Elegantly beautiful. I especially like the Silver Efex :)

  19. I am very fond of these little cups and the many aspects we can bring up with these! The ballet sure is interesting ; )

  20. Hi Leanne, I’m sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. The holidays moving into our new house and the flu all seems to be my excuse. I haven’t forgotten the trees, I just haven’t figured out what to do with them yet. It will come to me some day. Love your work with the tea cups ,only wish I had some of your talent. Happy New Year just the same. Jim

    • Hey JIm, no worries, sounds like you have been very busy, I know that feeling. It is up to you what you do with them. I don’t mind, really. I have been thinking of going out and getting some photos of trees so I can try the tutorial on those. See I learned a lot doing them as well. Take Care

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