Have you ever looked at fabulous still life photos thinking “How did the photographer manage it?”. Still life photography is an art and like any art, it can be mastered. Here are some useful tips to help you get started photographing still life.
Construct the Image
Unlike other photography genres where you are capturing a moment rather than an image, still like photography gives you the luxury of spending as much time as you need to construct your photograph. When shooting still life, you can compose everything – the background, the lighting, the subject or subjects, and arrange things the way you want. So take your time and construct the perfect image before you start shooting.
Experiment with Lighting
Shooting still life photography is a great start for those who don’t own fancy equipment. You don’t need anything special to light a still life scene, but you can and should experiment with the brightness of the light, its angle, and its color temperature. Are you going to use natural light? Or perhaps use flash? Or a softbox? When using artificial light, pay attention to color temperature. Around 6000K gives you cold white light, 3500-4000K is natural white light, and 2700K is warm white.
Do take your time to experiment with your light’s intensity and angle. Unless you are using natural light, you should be able to easily move the light source around. And if you’re using the light from a window, make sure you can easily move your subject.
Choose the Right Background
A good choice of background for your still life photo can really make the final image stand out. You can use pretty much anything – a wall, cardboard, fabric, wood, a large object, a mirror and so on. Just remember the golden rule for finding a good background – it should not distract the viewer from the subject. Avoid busy patterns and bright colors for your backgrounds because they can be a distraction and ruin your composition.
Give still life a try and we hope these tips will help you create great photos.