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Basic Still Life Photography Tips

Techniques > Basic Still Life Photography Tips

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Category: Close-Up

Five Quick Still Life Tips - Here are five tips to help you get started in still life photography.

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Photo by ePz member cattyal 


Keep it simple! Plain, crease free backgrounds are a good place to start then you can always add a few extra bits of fabric or scarves, draping them over the background or table if necessary.


Don't rush setting the scene, take your time to make sure it looks right, moving objects around until you can get the best composition you can. Think about it in terms of triangle that are higher at one end and taper off. Use items that differ in size, colour and add different textures to your shot. Try moving your camera around too as just moving it a few inches to either side might make all the difference to the shot.


A tripod is good – especially if you're using slower shutter speeds.


If you want to keep things simple, just use one light. A studio light is fine but a high powered standard energy saving bulb in a lamp is great too as it produces a soft light. 

A tip that came from an ePHOTOzine member is to 'remove the lampshade, cut a hole in the side of a Pringles tube - imagine you're cutting doors in the tube – cut a T-shape and then fold back the 'doors' which help direct the light. Pop that over the top and you get nice directional light (cut a hole in the Pringles tube lid and attach that to the light fitting)'.

You can use a reflector (try making one out of foil if you don't own one) to bounce extra light into the shot if needs be.


Stopping down the lens will increase the depth of field in your shot to get everything in focus. Take a few images with different focus points too. Invariably just one shot is fine but it's handy to have the others in case you want to combine the best bits from each.

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