Last Updated on January 13, 2019
One of the benefits of shooting static objects is that you can take your merry time framing and shooting without ever hearing a complaint. Shooting stills are also of great benefit if you’re a particularly shy person who doesn’t feel all that comfortable handing out instructions to models or whoever is posing for a portrait. But even though your subject isn’t capable of moving on its own, there’s still an art to making the shot look artistic.
Here are a few still life photography tips and techniques:
Choose a still life subject
Anything that doesn’t move is considered a still, so it doesn’t really matter if you start photographing a vase full of flowers or an apple. The beauty of this kind of photography is that you can pick just one item and try to make art with it or be more creative by grouping a bunch of similar objects together.
Sometimes, the best way to start is with items that you actually like. For instance, if you’re a lover of any reading material, let that be your starting point. You can start by arranging books in a particular order, grouping by color, or organizing by color after which you try to take pictures from different angles. Books can be left on shelves, scattered all over the floor, or arranged neatly on a table (which works well with overhead shots).
You don’t even necessarily have to think about a subject you’re going to photograph for the day. You can go about your daily routine and find things that make good subjects for still life photography. Take your breakfast for instance. You can take a close-up of it or shoot it from above to highlight the rest of the meal (drinks, utensils, the day’s papers, etc).
Learn to understand light
Light can come from the sun or your bulb. It may even come from the screen of your laptop or whatever device you are using. And understanding how it works is the key to taking still life photos that seem alive. Move your subject around to see which angles work best.
Go for a plain, not overly distracting background
Simple works best when photographing static objects. The focus should be on your subject and not what’s behind it. Your background can be as simple as a piece of fabric, a cardboard, or the wall of your home.
Whichever you choose, still life photography allows you to practice on focusing and depth of field. For instance, you can picture an entire bowl of fruit completely sharp or just focus on one fruit, leaving the rest blurred.
A camera may allow you to just point and shoot but knowing how to compose a shot goes a long way when shooting stills. Good composition can make subjects look vibrant and alive even though they are inanimate – something that is of great help when shooting products to entice customers to buy them.
Shooting with inanimate objects doesn’t require any fancy equipment. It’s just you, some objects (or just an object), and your camera (whichever one you have). Having this kind of set up allows you to learn more about lighting and composition, which you can then use for other kinds of photography.