What Is Still Life Photography? 5 Still Life Tips

What Is Still Life PhotographyWhat Is Still Life Photography

What is Still Life Photography?

Still-life photography dates back many decades. Very few other photographic practices precede this particular art.

Even with its long history, still-life photography remains one of the most undervalued subgenres of fine art photography.

When photography began, creating an image required extremely long exposures, making stationary objects an excellent subject.

Nevertheless, as technology advanced, the obsession with capturing still life persisted, and today, it continues to be one of the most thriving photographic arts practiced by many people worldwide.

Moreover, still-life photography is one of the most lucrative photography businesses. Websites, art galleries, magazines, and catalogs require gracing their spaces with still images of different subjects occasionally, making them the biggest consumers of still photographs.

Besides turning the art into a business venture, still-life photography has many other benefits, which is why it is crucial to take only the best photos.

What Is Still-Life Photography?

The existence of still life art dates back to the 17th century.

However, it was not until the 19th century that artists turned to still art photography as a new medium for still life art, allowing them to communicate their notions in a unique style.

The term still life stems from the Dutch word stilleven coined in the 17th century during still life art popularity within the European elite.

The art depicts the painting or photograph of a still or stationary object meant to pass on a symbolic message.

Still-life photography images or objects can be in different forms. They can be naturally existing or fabricated.

The object can be a memento mori, meant to celebrate the simple things in life or as expressions of the temporality of material pleasures or human life.

Whatever the purpose, still life photograph takes on a unique meaning with every piece.

5, Still Life Photography Techniques

Unlike many other photography procedures, still-life photography does not require many variables. You do not even need a fancy location or a spacious studio space to take your still photographs.

You can take photos of anything you want from the comfort of your home with a table set next to the wall, a basic backdrop, and a few other items here and there to make your subject more appealing.

Best of all, you can use your imagination to capture photos that are both engaging and intriguing to the viewer.

Still-life photography includes the following subcategories

  • Product photography
  • Tabletop photography
  • Found object photography
  • Food photography

The following techniques will help with the most creative still-life photographs.

1. Plan Your Shoot Wisely

When creating a still life photograph, the object, or objects you choose, the composition, and the framing of your piece should be of the utmost importance.

It is always beneficial to have a game plan, especially when embarking on a new challenge.

In other words, rather than just flinging a wide range of items next to each other to see what sticks, try approaching each shoot with specific intent.

Make deliberate and focused choices about where each item should go.

2. Choose Good Lighting

Lighting is a crucial component in every type of photography. Still-life photography does not have exciting subjects, so you have to use good lighting to enhance the mood or make them more appealing.

You can use light reflectors to manipulate the natural lighting around your subject, a softbox for removing background shadow, and a flashgun.

3. Be Mindful Of the Backdrop

Many backdrop options are available for still-life photography, especially those who want to be more creative.

However, if you do not want to draw the attention away from your subject, the best backdrop option for your still life image is a white tablecloth or cardboard.

Besides white, you can also choose other subtle backdrop colors that do not overpower your subject.

4.    Use a Tripod

A tripod is a necessity when taking still life photographs [because it assists in maintaining your camera stability.

If you use a heavy camera for your still images, you will most likely need a tripod, as it comes in handy when arranging and rearranging your set.

5. Think Outside the Box

Pick your subjects wisely. You do not have to stick with the standard still-life images such as flowers or food. You can go outside the box and get more creative. You can also choose subjects that complement each other in shape, color, and size for more appeal and intrigue.

Final Thoughts

A modern camera provides you with the ability to do multiple things. Capturing still life objects is one of the most straightforward things you can use a camera for.

Still-life photography is an old art form that keeps getting better with innovation.

Even though capturing still objects might not be as enjoyable as taking photos of moving things, landscapes, or portraits of people, you can still make the most out of what you have available to create intriguing still life images.

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