Hi there, and welcome to Paper Flowers 101 & How to Take Professional Images. So if you followed along with my Paper Flowers 101 Series you need to know that the paper flower tradition that started more than 200 years ago in Mexico is also wildly spread in the US, Asia and in Europe.
The paper flowers nowadays are used in wedding bouquets, to decorate special occasions, but also to gift paper blooms to allergy sufferers.
Today, I like to share a Paper Flowers 101 & How to Take Professional Images and introduce you to a Mom(Cherie)-Daughter (Meredith) team from Amaranthus Paper & Flora.
I love their story and I believe you will too, enjoy!
Paper Flowers 101 & How to Take Professional Images
The Story Behind Amaranthus Paper & Flora
Vibrant and blooming in all seasons, we hope our immortal paper flowers bring joy year-round.
After careers in banking and volunteering, Cherie (mom) began working with live flowers through the flower guild at her church. Meredith (daughter) is an educator, artist, and designer who has always loved paper arts.
We started making paper flowers three years ago, to help Cherie’s sister who runs a nonprofit pediatric oncology camp. Kay’s Kamp is the legacy of her daughter Kaylyn, who lost a brave battle leukemia at age 18.
For the organization’s annual benefit gala, we created paper flower centerpieces. Guests loved them so much that we were inspired to grow this seed of an idea into a business, and we launched Amaranthus in early 2014.
While our blooms are inspired by nature, we don’t feel bound by strict realism. Rather, we think of our paper flowers as interpretations of real blooms and treat each one as a little paper sculpture.
Though we live in different states, we both work on different types of stems (Cherie especially enjoys creating peonies and ranunculus, and Meredith’s favorites to make are magnolias and poppies).
We love every opportunity to get together for production and markets. In-person events are our favorites because we are delighted to meet our customers and hear about how they will use their blooms.
Many people think the flowers are real as they approach our booth at a market, and we are always tickled when children try to smell them.
How did your giving initiative come about?
But we didn’t anticipate the response from people needing an allergen-free flower-alternative. It turns out, that our low-maintenance paper blooms are excellent options for allergy sufferers and those who are in the hospital.
Fresh flowers can be an infection risk for patients with weakened immune systems. Our clients have shared touching stories, of the joy and hope that our lasting and allergen-free flowers have brought to loved ones suffering from cancer and other illnesses.
We were deeply moved by these testimonials and wanted to serve this audience in a special way. So we developed a monthly giving initiative, “Flora Good Cause.”
For each bouquet that we sell, we donate one to someone fighting a serious battle for their health. To respect privacy, we partner with organizations already serving these patients and their families.
We are honored to work with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Atlanta and deliver bouquets for their resident families.
What resources do you use to find new flower inspirations?
We follow a ton of live floral designers and flower farmers on Instagram including @thefarmersdaughterflowers, @tulipinadesign, @ponderosa_and_thyme, @runningwildflorals, and so many others! We also regularly come back to a few books for inspiration including
We also regularly come back to a few books for inspiration including The Flower Recipe Book by Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo of Studio Choo, and The Flower Workshop by Ariella Chezar. Google image search is also a super helpful tool when looking for images of a particular bloom.
How does a typical workday at Amaranthus Paper & Flora look like?
My mom and I lead fairly different “typical” work days. I tend to focus on email, website, and social media in the morning and photo shoots when needed.
I usually do more production work in the afternoons, and I’ll often continue working on stems into the evening as my husband and I watch a movie. My mom prefers to do a lot of her stem construction work in the morning and will often cut loads of petals at night.
We text or call back and forth frequently to touch base, ask each other questions, and share pictures with each other.
Where do you see your business in 5 years? Or What are your goals?
We’d love to live and work in the same city — or at least the same state! A dream would be to have a semi-public studio outside our homes.
We could meet with clients there, host pop-ups, and develop an interactive/workshop-based element in which we enlist community participation to create the blooms that we donate for our Giving Initiative.
My Favorite Items to work with:
We mainly work in 180 gm crepe paper. We prefer the heavier weight because it has the most stretch for sculpting, and we think it holds its form best (which is important to us so that blooms are resilient enough be shipped). We buy most of our papers from Carte Fini Crepe Paper and Paper Mart, and we also have started using some 160 gm colors from Castle in the Air, too.
We use hot glue with LOW TEMP hot glue guns. We are totally accident prone and burn ourselves regularly, and the high temp guns just hurt too much! We found issues with white/liquid glues discoloring the crepe paper, so we prefer hot glue because it doesn’t have that issue (and dries faster).
We have quite a collection of scissors, but nothing super fancy. My favorite scissors are probably my Westcott Titanium Non-Stick pair because they are pretty heavy duty and can also cut tape without getting a clunky buildup.
How to Take Professional Images
- I take all our photos with my iPhone!
- Use only take images during natural daylight time. I will actually turn OFF any lights so it doesn’t mess with color or shadows.
- If I have a day with great light, I will take a bunch of photos at once to use in the future.
- Try to shoot where you have diffuse light rather than direct sunlight/shadows.
- I make sure my phone is on FULL BRIGHTNESS when I take and edit my photos.
- My preferred app for photo editing is Afterlight. I don’t use any filters, but after lots of experimenting with the “look” I want, I tend to stick to a general workflow of steps to edit my photos. Generally, I make them brighter, increase contrast a little, then decrease shadows, increase highlights, brighten again, tweak temperature, and sharpen the focus. Occasionally I’ll play with color balance when necessary.
Paper Flowers 101 & How to Take Professional Images
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