Still Life Photography Tips And Techniques, Part 2 - Still Life Photography Ideas At Home!
Still life photography is fun and vastly rewarding! Check out this article to learn how to select your subject matter!
In Part 1, I mentioned that there are two major areas of still life photos - created and found. Found still life photos employ the same still life photography tips and techniques, you just "find" them naturally rather than construct them. So, all the "created" still life photography ideas will translate well.
Our first decision is clearly going to be - "What should I shoot?"
One major benefit of the still life photo is that you CAN create absolutely amazing photos whenever you want! It is a learned skill rather than (like in landscape and cityscape photos) requiring you to be in the right place at the right time.
Forget crawling out of bed before dawn to get the right light! Heck, with still life photography, you can shoot at midnight!
Your choice of subject matter is going to determine everything else that follows, so it is an important one.
Every subject of every still life photo has some sort of appealing feature. It might be the shape, or possibly its color. Sometimes it is the object's function, its texture and so forth. There is SOMETHING interesting!
As an artist, it is your job to figure out what that something is.
Or, if you just can't find an intrinsic "interest factor" you need to create one with lighting or positioning and so on. Of course the goal is to do both.
Side note: Most photographers do not get close enough! Make sure your still life fills the frame!
When you are searching for still life photography ideas at home, here is a challenge that can help improve your creative "eye"… Pick an object that appears to have no photo appeal at all! Then set up a still life photo using it and keep working it until you find a way to make a stunning photo!
Try showing the entire object in the frame - then move closer and show only a part of it. Try getting even closer and do a micro close-up. Try positioning it at various angles, try different lighting patterns and colors, different backgrounds. Keep going until you have a shot that you are proud of! Then pick something else and do it again!
It's hard - and probably the most rewarding exercise you can do!
If you stop to think of it, basically all the product ads you see in magazines are really nothing but a still life photo. And let's face it; a lot of those products aren't exactly photogenic!
The difference between working in the mall as a salesperson in a shoe store, and working as a million dollar a year photographer - could be as simple as your ability to make a shoe look good in a photo!
When selecting your subject matter, I suggest you start with one item. Every additional factor in your set geometrically adds to the problems you need to solve and you will improve faster if you start off simply and build on your skills and successes.
Another area to avoid in your first few photos is a reflective surface. Reflective surfaces create another whole set of issues we will be covering in future articles.
When you are selecting multiple objects, they all need to work together in some sort of common theme. You should be making selections of similar shapes, or colors, textures, uses… whatever.
There are an unlimited number of artistic choices, but the first is to make sure all the factors in your still life tie in to a common theme.
Today's assignment is to start your search for still life photography ideas at home. Pick a few objects and start considering how you would like to shoot them - to accent their respective features. Then check back tomorrow for our next adventure in still life photography tips and techniques!
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Dan Eitreim has been a professional photographer in Southern California for over 20 years - his data base exceeds 6000 past clients, and he says that learning photography is easy, if you know a few tried and true strategies.