Still Life Photography Techniques

There are many mediums to choose from in photography.  Often a person will begin with still life photography and work their way towards portraits, wildlife, or landscapes depending upon their interests.  Still life photography teaches a person to use light and shadows to find the emotion of the object.  Here I will discuss many different aspects of still life pictures.

Still life expresses the photographers self while using in animate objects such as pottery, flowers, candles, leaves, and fruit.  The first step in still life photography is the lighting.  You will want the object to have light from a single direction, so that you can cast shadows as well as light on the object.  This will give it a depth of field, and dimension.  You will need to choose whether you want a soft or harsh light.  The more harsh the light the more shadow you will have.  Often in still life reflectors are used to tone the light down.  The best type of lighting for still life photography is side- lighting because you will attain more contrast between the object.

With still life photography, you have color control.  You can choose the colors of the objects you use.  When choosing the colors say with leaves and fruits you will want a contrast in colors, but retain a natural look.  Harmony is the best word to use when attaining color control.  The color will attract the viewer’s eye, so if it is displeasing to you the chances are your viewers will find it just as displeasing.

With still life, you can choose an abstract motif.  You may choose to put two objects together that do not make sense, but create a moving picture.  You might have an interesting cut on fruit, such as a melon to reveal the inside core.  The angle of the cut and the meaning of the picture will require thought from the viewer. Some viewers see different from what another viewer might see. This happens in the art world daily. What one thinks represents art another finds unappealing. Never let these influence your dreams and stop you from becoming even better in your work as a photographer.

You can also have control of variations.  You can use the same subject repeatedly with different backgrounds, arrangements, and other objects.  The key is to avoid clutter while creating contrast.  The rule of thirds of composition is a great way to utilize still life objects.  You can create a pattern based on the rule of thirds.  Setting up the arrangements and trying several shots will lead you to finding the harmony between the objects.

You may think still life photography lacks the depth of other mediums; however, it can be used as a stepping-stone to greater photography.  Still life can include an arranged garden to please the eye or a natural look.  You can use natural light to offset the shadows and find the contrast.  Still life inside or outside creating the arrangements is just one way to find pictures you will wish to display or give to friends.  Remember lighting, color, and variations on arrangements will provide you will tons of subjects.

Applications for still life photography can include taking photographs for magazines.  Often magazines have still life photos to show flower arrangements or decorating ideas for the home.  With the many choices in photography, still life takes a special eye for arranging objects and understanding lighting techniques.  With all of photography being art you need to pick the subjects that will speak most to you and make them speak to others. These types of pictures go well when deciding to sell your photos or display them for the public. All pictures whether you think it or not may be just what someone wants to display and may offer to buy it. This helps you start a real goldmine of a business if you feel confident with your work.

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