by Suzanne VanDeGrift
Still life photography is a great way to hone your photography skills and develop some new techniques. Since there's no movement involved, you don't have to rush your shot. Research the best location for lighting, which is one of the key elements in getting a good still life image, along with good balance and framing.
We're surrounded by a wealth of good (and some not so good) still life photographs. The supermarket shelves are lined with magazines that are full of still-lifes. That monthly magazine with the luscious recipe followed by the picture that convinces you that you just have to make that dish. Or, the flower arranging article that gives beginning to end instructions with the "end" showing a beautiful floral arrangement. Look at as many different still-lifes as you can find. Study them. See what makes them work, or what you might change about them. Then, grab your camera bag and get ready to make your own creations.
Gather some of your beautiful treasures and begin putting them together in ways that is pleasing to your eye. A good still-life can take a lot of time to set up so don't be in a hurry. Take your time and enjoy the process. Use colors that work together, along with shapes and lines that create your desired result. Look through your camera lens from different angles and adjust the collection until you have the image you're looking for, then start photographing.
Don't clutter the picture. Keep the background plain. You can get this affect by using a product called seamless, which is a professional backdrop paper or by using a simple piece of fabric in a color which compliments the still-life you are going to set up. If you're taking your still-life outdoors, consider nature"s backdrops. Pack your favorite camera bag and head out to the local marina. A beautiful sailboat captured against a clear blue sky produces an impressive still-life image.
Whenever possible, natural light is preferred over the camera flash. The goal is normally to achieve a feeling of tranquility and peaceful beauty. This can be difficult to accomplish with the glaring light that comes from the built-in camera flash. If you're photographing indoors, you can position your items to take advantage of the soft light streaming in a window, which will create some awesome shading. You could also use lamps or recessed lighting to provide your atmosphere.
If you started out shooting your still-lifes using the traditional fruits, vegetables and flowers, once you feel comfortable, start being a little more daring. Gather items that make a statement about you. If you love to fish, put together a still-life of fishing poles, lures, and an old creel. If you love photography, set up your camera bag with some accessories and a couple favorite pictures you've taken. Let your imagination work for you. Consider doing some still-lifes in black and white for a dramatic affect. Experiment and enjoy!
About the Author
Suzanne VanDeGrift has developed this article for M-ROCK.COM, manufacturer of highly functional camera bags with an incredible array of user-friendly features.