Still life is a genre that dates back way before the birth of photography.
In the early days of photography, exposures were very long, so having a subject that could remain still for a long period of time was crucial. Thus still life photography was born, and it has been around ever since.
To this day, it is a very important branch of the industry. At a high level, it is called product photography and it is one of the most lucrative fields in professional photography.
So let’s get you started in still life photography with these tips.
1.Setting up the scene
Don’t be under the false impression that you need a high end studio to be competitive in still life photography. However you will need to create a scene where you have complete control over light. Unlike portrait or landscape photography where there can be a considerable number of variables, in this type of photography it all has to be up to you. You can set up a scene using a table, a white backdrop or a product tent.
This is entirely up to you. You can start by looking around your house for an interesting object. Start with just one item and practice a few lighting schemes on it.
Classic still life subjects include flower pots and fruit baskets. You could try a few of these classic shots because they are good exercise, however you should always try to be different and think out of the box. It might seem like a simple arrangement of random objects, but still life photography can have a very powerful artistic and conceptual feel to it.
The lighting scheme can be as simple as using a reading lamp or it can be a complex one with multiple studio lights. The best advice I can give you about lighting a still life scene is to change the position of the lights a few times. Play with light and observe how it falls and how it casts shadows on your subject.
Also remember that you can use natural light to your advantage by setting up the scene next to a window.
Quality light is useless without the right composition. Since you will most likely have more than one element in the frame, it’s very important to create a sense of balance between them. Consider the rule of thirds and the golden rule, but don’t be afraid of trying something different. Just like experimenting with light, you should try as many angles as possible until you find the one that looks just right. After you find it, mount your camera on a tripod, make sure everything is in place and confidently press the shutter release.
Tethered capture is one of the blessings that previous generations of photographers didn’t have. The advantages are quite obvious. No matter how good your camera’s LCD screen is, it’s still just an idea of how the image actually looks. Once you connect your camera to the computer, you can see the final image in real time, in full size. This will help you make the best fine adjustments and will also point out errors in lighting or composition.