How to make still life photography
Still Life Photography by Kevin BestFor centuries artists have used the still life to hone their creative and technical skills.
The still life offers photographers an opportunity to expand their creative horizons and take their technical skill to a highly advanced level, with a subject that will sit quietly for hours without complaining.
Author Kevin Best is represented in galleries throughout Europe and the United States.
American Photo chose him as one of their 12 Flickr Superstars, in this book he describes the fascinating history of the still life, explains how the careful arranging of objects can weave complex stories into a composition and gives step by step instructions on how to create fine art images.
This interactive eBook features stunning photographs from classical to abstract including illustrations of all types of lighting from natural to using an iPad as a light source.
There is also a special chapter on the challenging genre of food photography.
Still Life Photography Tips and Techniques
Winter is the perfect time to improve your photography by taking on some indoor projects—particularly still life and tabletop photography. Still life photography is the photographic counterpart of still life painting. It emerged as a distinct genre and became a professional specialization in a western painting by the late 16th century. Tabletop photography is a branch of still life photography that focuses on capturing items that can be placed on a table. All of the photos found on e-commerce websites, or in magazine and newspaper advertisements, can be classified as product photographs. Below, is a typical image you might find on a website to sell a pair of boots. The shoes are well lit, the shadows are soft, there is a seamless white background and the features of the boots are visible on both sides of the boots—providing a clear image to the buyer.
Still-life photography leaves nothing to chance. Tim Clinch explains how to maximise the potential of this classical and underused genre of photography. Taken during a hotel shoot in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The client wanted to use lots of colours and details. Credit: Tim Clinch. The true skill lies in the ability to take something mundane and everyday out of its normal habitat and transform it into something of beauty by using our skills as photographers. So what is it about still life that I like so much?
Format Team. Looking to expand your photography portfolio and develop your skills? This guide explains why still life photography is a great option, and how to go about it. Still life is a unique genre of photography. That means that to be successful at still life photography, you need to find ways to make your photos interesting.
Draw inspiration from the greats
When photographing a still life subject, you are creating an image rather than capturing a moment. You are constructing your photograph; from background, to subject, to lighting. With the subject matter being inanimate objects, their tendency to stay very still allows you to take time to refine your lighting, and experiment with your composition. But essentially as long at it stays still, it is a still life. As long as it is still, technically it is a still life.
Still life photography is a vibrant and often lucrative niche. And it can make you money through stock photography or sales of art prints through a variety of websites. All you need is a table by a window. If you end up getting serious about it, you can eventually get a continuous light like an LED panel, but to start, all you really need is natural light. As with any genre of photography, having the right lens to suit the subject you are shooting is crucial. There is no one-size-fits-all lens.
Still life photography has many uses. No matter what your reason, still life photography is a great skill to learn. Even something like artfully arranged spools of thread can be interesting and visually appealing. Microstock sites like Shutterstock and iStock that cater to commercial users have a high demand for all sorts of still life, often of very simple objects, like a cup of coffee or a key. People often times think of still life photography as a lot easier than other types of photography like sports or landscape photography. With stills, you often have full control over the composition and can arrange the inanimate objects exactly how you want them.