Monday, January 20, 2014

Still Life Photography

Something I am doing more and more of (maybe because it's winter?) is still life photography. 

I like to approach it sort of in the style of those classic still life paintings you see in art museums - except instead of gathering stuff myself & arranging it, I seek out objects and such that are already sort of arranged for me.


Antique stores for the win!
Seriously, where else can you find piles of cool old junk already arranged nicely on a table or shelf? Sure I'll shift a few things around, but rarely do I feel the need to.

You can also just find things around your house, garden, scary basement... etc. My dad & grandfather had a big collection of old cameras gathering dust in the basement. I rescued them from the dampy muskiness.


A few tips:

1. Use natural light when available. Its the best. If there's natural light from a window, set up next to it and you can use a white mat or poster board as a makeshift reflector to bounce light onto the other side of the objects.

2. Arrange, shoot, arrange again, shoot, arrange again, shoot... and on and on. See what you like best. Try moving things from one side to the other, stacking, changing the depth of field... the options are limitless and if shooting digital go nuts.

3. Use varying levels. Everything on one plane is kinda boring. Keep your audience's eye moving.

4. Mix up the textures. Soft & hard, fuzzy, leather, feathers.  I happen to have a collection of animals bones I've found over the years. These are fantastic for adding interest, texture, and a bit of weirdness.

5. Try themes - great for starting out. Get like objects together - bird feathers, eggs & a nest or old tins with a mixing bowl & utensils. You can even go with all the same type as I have in this example of vintage spice tins.

6. Go monochrome - use a color as a theme. The eggs are an example of using the same color palette, but varying the tones and patterns to add interest.

7. Use what you've got. You'd be surprised what you can find lying around to have fun with.