In today’s photo tip, we will begin a study of still life photography tips and techniques. We’ll start out with a still life photography definition that will define the two main areas of still life photography.
Learning how to shoot still life photos should make you start jumping up and down with joy! Why? Getting good at the various still life photography tips and techniques is the absolute fastest way to total mastery of photo techniques! You’ll get MUCH better at seeing how light and shadow affects a photograph – how form comes into play, composition, harmony and on and on. Texture, balance and color interactions play big parts too!
The fun thing is that as you get better and better at shooting great still life subjects, your other photography will improve as well.In other words, it’s not just a bowl of fruit! It’s a terrific training ground! Actually that’s why so many of history’s master artists did so many still life paintings!
If you can figure out how to arrange the proverbial bowl of fruit into an interesting composition – and get comfortable doing it – you will start to recognize what shapes and colors work together. You’ll start to see what angles the light should be coming from to get the most 3rd dimensionality. You’ll start to get a feel for what textures will make a stunning photo and which ones will turn out to be nothing but a big blah.
AND, all of this knowledge will work its way into the photos you do of other subjects as well. I’ve never heard any sort of statistics, but I would venture to guess that the world’s top landscape photographers could easily switch over to still life’s if the need arose. And vice versa.
To begin our study of still life photography tips and techniques, let’s start with a still life photography definition explaining the two types of still life.
There are two major types of still life photos. You have the “found still life” and the “created still life”.
When most of think of a still life photo, we generally think of a created still life where we build the entire composition – from choosing the most photogenic bowl, to what fruit to use, to how to position and light all the other elements. (By the way, still life photography is much more than just fruit. I’m only using a bowl of fruit as an easily understood example.)
But, when you are walking down your favorite mountain trail and run across a fallen leaf sitting on a particularly attractive rock – that’s a still life too!
If you photograph it as is, without making any adjustments… That would be a “found still life”.
While most of our articles will discuss the “created still life”, it is important to recognize that there is a difference and at the same time to realize that the characteristics that make a stunning – created still life – are the same characteristics that will make an effective found still life.
The only differences are that in a “found still life” you run across it naturally rather than set it up.
Even more important, you are now more aware! You will now recognize that there is a stunning photo sitting there, rather than just trample the leaf underfoot and keep walking.