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The Seven Ages of Man

By Otinkyad
The intent of the picture is in the title.

This first shot is somewhat experimental. I would be primarily interested in comments on the lighting and to a lesser extent about the concept, components and composition. Although I intend to play around with perhaps more interesting compositions once I have the lighting right.

This was lit with an LED "movie light" mounted close to the left at about 45 degrees pointing down. I also had a fill-in flash to the right bouncing its light off the ceiling. The exposure was set manually at 1 stop underexposed and the flash was set one stop down. The upper background was darkened post production in Photoshop.

Any comments gratefully received.



Tags: Shakespeare Life Still life Table top

GB Sports Photographer & The Panasonic LUMIX S1


dudler Plus
16 945 1520 England
2 Nov 2017 9:03PM

I'd go for a lower camera position, so it's looking at the subjects level, not downwards.

Arranging objects for still life is always hard: this has a bit of a look of a row of objects, and I'm not really sure how to get more variation. Maybe more of an arc, or greater variations in size and height? And also a less full frontal presentation - put the books at an angle, and less neatly stacked: card and picture at artlessly artful angles, as well - that sort of thing is so hard to get right!

It's quite a witty idea to include the golf kit (I have never played) and medicaiton (I've been taking pills every day since I was about 30). I'd suggest less of the golfing stuff, but maybe add a glove, and use one of those non-branded day-by-day boxes for the pills, or maybe something that is more easily recognisable to younger people as a sign of age (though I can't think what, precisely, just now!)

Moira may recall who posts really excellent still life shots on Ephotozine - I have seen one or two. My suspicion that the best exponents of the art spend an excessive amount of time seeking out props in car boot sales...

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dark_lord Plus
15 2.3k 591 England
2 Nov 2017 10:25PM
I like the concept.

It all looks sharp here but I'd be using f/11 as nothing is moving and you're on a tripod. if ypu try different arrangements you may need as much depth of field as you can get.
Lighting looks fine here and while there's nothign wrong with mixing LED and flash if it all balnces well, I'd be tempted to use another LED light, at least then you have continuous lighting and can adjust positioning easily as you can directy see the effect. You could bounce the LED light off the ceiling too, or a card, or a reflector, depending on the effect you like.

There is a little separation between the elements on the left, whereas in the middle and on the right there's a lot of overlap. I think pills are a great idea to show age. Mind you, if you want something other than boxes (which let's face it look a bit boring compared to the other props you've got here) and perhaps not wanting to have the pills themselves on view, how about a hering aid, reading glasses or false teeth 9maybe a challenge to get that last one!).

Trying out different positioning and props ill take you longer than playing with the lighting.

I'm not sure how helpful; that is, i just put my thoughts down as they came to me.
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.6k 2080 United Kingdom
3 Nov 2017 8:12AM
I love the idea of themed Still Life. I cannot add a great deal to the above, I showed this to my daughter last night, she loved it and got the message immediately. But her suggestion of replacing the medication packs with a couple of Viagra pills is perhaps the cynicism of youth...

One thing that does strike me is that my eye wants to rotate this a wee bit clockwise, although my brain tells me it's straight. I think the problem is the book which is not lying perfectly parallel with the camera.

My friend Fiona has made Still Life her speciality and is happy to give advice. I shall ask her to have a look here.
3 Nov 2017 6:17PM
Despite Moira's affirmation, I am no expert, but I like the idea of still life and have been trying my hand. These are my thoughts, for what they are worth......

I photograph mine just by window light, diffused with muslin and with a reflector to the opposite side. For me, yours is a bit bright. I like them a bit dark. More intimate. If you are going to use lighting, I suggest you don't spread it across the whole image, but try to light a particular part of it.

Suggest you try to move your subjects further from the background and let the light fade out behind. Consider buying some colormatt which has no texture and is non-reflective.

As for composition, think about adding some depth by placing things slightly behind others as well as side by side ( you may need to adjust aperture to keep all in focus). You have got the idea of things overlapping and I agree that often better at an angle rather than straight on. The idea is to make it look like subjects are naturally strewn about rather than arranged which isn't easy.

I look at lots of other photographs for ideas and inspiration. One place I often go is here.............
............where there are some superb images.

Keep at it and if there is anything I can do to help, just message me.

paulbroad Plus
12 131 1285 United Kingdom
5 Nov 2017 8:57AM
I like this in general and the idea is excellent. I find it difficult to get to seven? The items in the middle merge a bit.

Otinkyad 16 2 7 United Kingdom
5 Nov 2017 11:07AM
Thanks to everyone for their feedback - especially Fiona.

Dudler - great minds think alike! Originally I was going to use one of those day-by-day pill boxes but it was too big
Fiona - I've had a quick look at the Flickr group you mentioned and bookmarked it for later, closer examination. One thing that struck me was that a lot of the pictures had a "painterly" feel to them.
Paul - I put the card & the family photo on top of the student text books to add height. Perhaps studenthood is too close in age to engagement/early marriage!

dudler Plus
16 945 1520 England
5 Nov 2017 11:46AM
That's the problem with still life - for it to work, every one of those decisions (and many others) has to be right...

Of course, there's more than one 'right' in many ways, but every option needs thought, and balance. I reckon the suggestion of false teeth is inspired, by the way, and would add wit in even greater measure than the pills.
Otinkyad 16 2 7 United Kingdom
5 Nov 2017 11:59AM
Dudler - I'll have a look on eBay Smile

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