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Stop Taking Bad Still Life Photos With These 3 Top Tips

To capture a super still life shot, your styling has to be spot on and this short tutorial will help you perfect your photo styling skills.

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When setting up a still life shot, you've got to really pay attention to how and where your position your props, also known as photo styling. You need to take your time to make sure the set-up looks right, moving objects around until you can get the best composition you can and to help you out, this short video, created by Mango Street, features 3 short but essential tips that'll help your perfect your still life photography skills. 

The three points covered in the tutorial are: angle, the use of too much negative space and photography composition rules.

Mango Street say there are 3 particular angles that will give you a more interesting shot and they are: straight/ head on (neutral), 45 degrees and bird's eye (from above). They're pretty much self-explanatory but the video does cover each in more detail. 


still life scene


Point two looks at negative space and how many people use too much of it in their still life shots. Instead, the photographers at Mango Street believe you should let props spill out of the frame so viewer's of the image feel like they are 'been invited to a small corner of a much bigger, and more interesting, scene.' Instead of just focusing on the centre of the image, spread props out to the edges of the frame and don't be afraid to let parts of them be cropped out.

When photographing a scene straight on, it can also help to think about your set-up in terms of triangles that are higher at one end and taper off, something we look at in more detail here: Still Life Photography Tips. You may also find it easier to start out photographing just one object and then after a while, start introducing more items.


Laptop, glasses, book


The final tip in the video focuses on photography composition rules, straight lines and curves specifically. 'S' curves can be softer and more visually interesting when working with food and other still life products as straight lines tend to make an image feel strong and more masculine. 

If you have an interesting still life shot, please do share it with us over in the ePHOTOzine Gallery

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