Still life photography is a highly appreciated art form, wherein each photographer has a certain style. The idea is to convey a ‘story’ with the means of a snap. Still life photographers always experiment with different compositions and they play with the light and shadow over the objects of their composition.
Photography is a humongous art form that has various types of sections as per an individual’s interest. A few photography types would include fashion, nature, fine art, wedding, advertising, still life, portrait, architectural, travel, candid, macro, black and white, night, digital, nude, etc.
Still life photography gives a photographer the liberty and freedom to arrange the object in the way he/she wants. Let us focus on the basic criteria that needs to be kept in mind for this type of photography.
What is Still Life Photography?
One must have seen the wonderful pictures in the magazines and brochures, especially the ones where an ice cream or cherry looks so delicious that you feel like grabbing it immediately. It is the magic of still life photography that makes it look so life-like. This photography is the depiction of inanimate subjects or a group of objects, which can be creatively arranged in various ways.
Basics of Still Life Photography
One of the most important elements to be considered while taking a still life photo is the background. If you use the same backdrop for every story, it would look dull and boring and the final output would look monotonous. The different types of backgrounds act as the main element of contrast. The creases and the wrinkles add to the extra natural effect. Usually the photographers prefer using a black velvet cloth as it helps in absorbing the light.
Effect of Composition
An innovative and varied arrangement of the objects would result in some interesting still-life layout. Juggle and play with your objects available for the composition, because even if you move a single item it would make a lot of difference in the appearance. Also, try experimenting by leaving your object alone and by moving the camera instead. You can notice the subtle differences on your computer screen by comparing the images clicked through different arrangements.
The picture has to communicate with the viewer on a very elusive yet sensory level. It has to appeal to the different sensibilities of the viewer. Therefore the objects which are used in the picture need to be arranged in a certain fashion.
The most important aspect of any type of photography is the light used and the way it is used. Still life photographers use the play of light and shadow effectively to convey the ‘story’ in the picture. They use natural light as far as possible, because, it gives a special glow and effect to the composition. Usually the setup is placed near a window or a light source. If it’s an outdoor shoot, you can experiment with different shades that the nature offers.
You can also play with the camera attributes by trying various exposures to achieve a different feel for each image. They often use a sheet of white paper on the side opposite to the light source to reflect some light into the shadowed areas.
Few Tips and Tricks
– Try to place one object at a time and experiment with the arrangement accordingly as a part of your composition.
– Experiment with different background image manipulation or editing software to change the way the background looks or ‘feels’ in the picture.
– Use different colors and types of artificial light to enhance the dark and the light shades in the photograph.
Another tip to enhance your still life photography skills is to collect and study examples of different still life photos of famous photographers. Observe their compositions and the use of light and shadow. Study their pattern and gain a sense of different aesthetic styles.