Still-life is a genre of photography very creative and at your fingertips, almost at any time.
The reasons why it can be considered, somehow, less tricky that other styles are:
- The subject doesn’t vary depending on circumstances, like for example the weather conditions. If it’s a sunny or rainy day doesn’t matter.
- Any subject you want to photograph can become creative and, along with that, easy to sell if the shooting has been done following some criteria.
- You have tones of things around you every day ready to be shot
The most important elements to be taken into account are preparing the right light and having a suitable soft box or making room for a little studio to get on with work.
Sometimes, when we take a photo, we look for an artistic cut, or angle, but actually what many passionates forget is that images first must communicate and generate a message. That’s is exactly what we see when photos are used for advertising or editorial purposes.
The first point to keep in mind is think simple. When we are at home we are all surrounded by common stuff. Gather objects and set them up to create a simple composition. On a commercial point of view often clients look for simple images that they can manipulate or work on.
If you use a white background add a bit of contrast. If you have off-camera lights, like led lights, and a neutral background, it will be easier to light and isolate your subject but you can gain good result also by making effective use of natural daylight.
Make the colors matching each other and the subject will stand out even more. I would suggest to start using only a couple of colors at a time. Go for a warm color tone on the background if you want to make your photo cosy or, use a white one if you fancy the minimal style.
Organize by yourself a colored background if you don’t have a suitable surface. The background is among the most important elements to take care of when you shot still-life images. That’s because through it you can dispose of many variables in your shot.
Focused on the likely use of your photo. You want to make mobile photography part of your life and of your earnings. If you want to make your photo licensable from clients, think why your photo could be noticed and where it can be used. Always give your photo a VOICE, a spontaneous message.
If your subject alone doesn’t have strength enough to communicate a message, then create your own message with colors, pencils and anything else that will help your image to be more catchy.
Use the top view and put your subject on the center. You can place the objects on a nice floor, like parquet, but always be careful with the background, make sure that there are not disturbing elements around, and keep an eye on details.
Discover bottom view shots. Daily life objects, like a light lamp, can create interesting abstracted photos.
Or go for the mirroring images effect. Set the subject on a reflecting surface, like a mirror, and then work on your photo, to enhance colors, directly in post-production on your smartphone.
If you fancy black and white remember that the outcome relies on several factors but the important thing is to find a a subject that will appear in a significantly different shade of grey to the background. Surrounding details or objects will help the main subject to emerge if you catch tones and textures that will add depth to your photo. Strong side lighting will bring out the texture in any subject.
If you want to take advantages also from a daily life scene recreate a story on your own. Focus on the subject and leave the context to be the perfect frame in your photo.
Food photography is one of the most loved subject since ever in photography. Photos of seasonal dishes, ingredients, vegetables, desserts and a whole list of delicious things, with incredible colors and taste, are on demand in the market. Check out your fridge, write down a list of food and flag all the subjects you’re going to shoot with your smartphone. Shoot fresh food and keep an eye on shapes, the nature is not perfect but if you point the light in the right spot you will diminish the most common potential imperfections.
Be creative and then creative again. Although you can concentrate on common things around you, don’t put brakes to your creativity and keep shooting the best of it with your smart camera.