Still Life images can be just about anything that doesn’t move. Still life photographs consist of inanimate objects, often arranged in some striking or artistic way. These include flowers, food, etc. They are life forms but they don’t move. Still life photographs consist of inanimate objects, often arranged in some striking or artistic way.
Like all studio work, getting strong enough lighting to light the subject suitably is the tricky bit. Remember that lighting is the most important consideration with photography. Lighting a small area though is much easier in one respect but much more skillful in another way. However once lighting technique has been mastered, setting up a still life studio will be quick and easy.
Daylight – The most natural form of lighting is undoubtedly daylight. The problem though is it’s impossible to fully control. Optimum lighting conditions can be predicted but then the photographer must schedule their shoots accordingly. Some control of the light can be obtained through the use of reflectors to bounce light into shadow areas and diffusing material to soften strong sunlight falling on the work area.
Flash – For full lighting control flash is the most versatile answer, even flash lighting from a standard flashgun. Exposure, lighting angle and lighting quality can all be fully controlled in any situation or location. A flashgun that can be used on and off camera is preferable.
An off-camera flash gives the advantage of using directional lighting from any angle. Also this gives the option of diffusing the flash. The flash can be diffused by either bouncing it off a reflective surface, such as a large card, or firing it through material to soften its effect. It is also quite easy to use more than one flash through the use of slave units.Try taking your photos at different times during the day and in different lighting conditions. Many master artists and photographers are famous for their studies in the use of light.
-You don’t have to be in a studio to do still life
While a studio is a great place to do still life photography, it’s not the only place. Great pictures can be set up at home without a jot of professional lighting equipment. All you need is a well lit room with a few large windows at different angles (think a corner room), thick curtains to block of light if you need to and perhaps a bit of reflective material, a large white card will do, or even some tin foil wrapped over a large book. Be creative!
-Arrange and rearrange your subjects
composition is essential in studio shots because things can look very messy otherwise. Arrange your subjects in visually pleasing ways and if an element seems off or doesn’t seem to complement the rest of the setup, either discard it or rearrange the subjects to make them more enticing.
When trying to capture all the details of your subject, use the macro function on your camera. This will bring your subject into sharp relief.
Now challenge the creative process from a different angle. Think of a concept, like money, love or freedom. Think how you can portray this concept visually. This will challenge both your photographic skills and your imagination, but if you succeed you will often end up with a picture that really tells a story.
-Use an simple backdrop
Wrinkles and ridges in a still life photograph – unless a part of the setting – will be distracting to your main subject. Be vigilant about keeping your backdrops smooth and simple.