Tips for Still Life Photography

Since we are home bound these days, this is an opportunity to play around with creating still life photographs. Here are tips for your shooting. Have fun and be well! 
8 Tips for Still Life Photography on an iPhone or Camera

  1. Use a tripod. Light can be weak and hand-held photography produces blurry photos. 
  2. Use indirect light. This results in soft and even lighting.
  3. Choose objects that fit the mood of your still life. First decide what mood your flowers suggest. Then choose objects that convey that feeling.
  4. Composition is probably the most important component of a still life image. Start by choosing an object/flower as the main focus of your still life – something that draws the eye. Place the object in the frame. It can be off-center or you may be more interested in a more symmetrical composition. Then place it in the center and build around the object/flower. You want to move the eye around the frame. 
  5. Use the rule of odds. Make sure all items come in odds. There is one exception to this rule – twos. If you have leaves, arrange in groups of 2, 3 or 5. If you have flowers, there should be 3, 5 or 7, not 6. Make sure the number of groups in the photo is odd as well, but never have 4 or 6. Also try to create a triangle.
  6. Use negative space to create pleasing compositions. Negative space helps a still life breathe. It gives a feeling of calmness to the composition. All of your images should have at least some negative space.
  7. Choose a backdrop that fits the mood of the photo. If you have a dark, moody still life, a black background might be the best, whereas you might use a white background for an upbeat summer still life. Fabrics or paper with patterns can also be used as a background.
  8. Finally, use colors of flowers or objects to enhance your still life. Check the color wheel and use it as you would in making an arrangement of flowers. Every color evokes certain emotions. Blues give a sense of calm. Reds give a sense of agitation. Greens give a sense of spring. You shouldn’t use two opposite colors in large doses. 
  9. Have fun!

More tips:

  • Menninger’s on South Broadway has some beautiful handmade papers to use as a background for your still life. 
  • The best days to photograph are sunny days; they provide the best indirect light through the windows of your house.