The masters of still life photography like Paul Strand, Irving Penn, Edward Weston, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Andre Kertesz just to name a few have perfected their art through a mix of talent, skill, and practice. Like many other things, you need to work on your still life photography game to be able to take better pictures.
In this tutorial, we give you some tips on how you can take better still lifes and enjoy the calmness and serenity it brings to your photography. Having a good eye for details, framing, lighting, and composition will help you take home beautiful still lifes with your favorite film.
Start with What You Love
One tip that you can always count on is to get things started. Don't worry too much about the outcome at first, all you have to do is get shooting. What better way to start than with a subject that you're familiar with — your cameras. Show your love for your gear by taking still life pictures of them. Just remember, starting is the first step to mastery.
Food is Life
Food photography on film is underrated. The aesthetic of different films adds flavor (pun intended) to food photography. You can bring out color, texture, shapes, and other visual elements of food with still life photography by choosing the right kind of film — be it color, slide, or even black and white. Try using different set-ups to determine your favorite style and you'll be surprised at how beautiful food can look in your photographs.
Framing is Key
One important thing in photographing still lifes is the preparation stage. Use your time wisely during the prepping stage to make sure you have everything figured. Trying different composition techniques to make sure you capture your subject in the best possible way. Play around with angles, tilt your camera, shoot from above, shoot from below eye level and etc. You can choose to fill your whole frame or put the subject right in the middle of the picture — you call the shots.
Less is More
Another thing to remember is that you don't always have to go and capture everything in a single frame. Sometimes, being a minimalist in still life photography pays off. Get rid of the clutter and focus on simple objects. You'll find that this technique particularly works with single items (even a couple or few ones) and that it gives your shot a clean look. Try it for yourself the next time you're shooting.
Fine-tune Your Lighting
As with framing, lighting is also something that you have to prepare for. Many good shots have been ruined because the lighting was not taken care of beforehand. Proper lighting can give character to your still lifes. They can also change the mood with a simple change of tint or maybe an introduction of shadows. Work the room you're in and see what kind of lighting you have available.
These are just some of our tips for taking better still life photographs. Have some tips of your own? Comment down below and share them! We'd love to learn more tips and tricks from you. :)