Master Your Composition and Lighting Skills with Still Life Photography

The definition of still life is simply the interpretation of inanimate objects with the use of photography. It is an art form that is extremely popular where photographers can showcase their own unique styles. The purpose and challenge of this style is to communicate a story using different techniques in lighting and composition.It is easy to say that a picture affects only the visual sense, but your main goal is to evoke an emotion from the viewers through your photograph.

To attain this, your object or objects can be positioned in certain ways. You can experiment by using different items and rearranging them several times. You can group them together or use just one, it depends on what you are trying to convey. Focus on the objects in their entirety or just choose a portion that accentuates their uniqueness such as their strong shapes or their intricate details.

The next thing to consider is the background which plays an important part in your story. It adds contrast in the assembly of objects in the frame. It can either be a natural background or you may use a backdrop. Using different textured or colored backgrounds or backdrops can achieve various effects. Most backdrops used for still life shots are plain to avoid any possible distractions to the objects. Note that cloth can have folds while paper has creases. Muslim fabric is often used because it looks seamless. Many still life images show a completely white or black background. A black velvet cloth is great for black backgrounds because it absorbs light which may cause unwanted reflections and bright spots in the picture. In case you have only one colored backdrop and wish it were another color, or even just plain black or white, you can simply change it or the texture during post processing with the use of photo editing software.

Lighting is another important factor to consider in still life photography. The play of light and shadow can effectively convey the full impact of your story. Studio lights are ideal for still life photography since you have complete control over how light will fall on your subject. Natural light gives off a special glow in your composition. The best way to capture your object in natural light is to position it next to a window for indirect lighting. Direct sunlight might be too harsh and erase the details of your subject. Experiment with colored lights, with different intensities and the angles where they hit the subject. Light creates shadows which you can use to your advantage to add drama and impact.

Learn from the masters of still life photography by gathering and examining their images. By observing their various compositions and lighting techniques, you can gain a sense of their distinctive artistic styles which can give you ideas on how to compose your own shots.

This entry was posted on Saturday, August 7th, 2010 at 4:58 pm and is filed under Articles, Composition, Lighting, Photography Techniques, Photography Tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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