Still Life Photography

Let’s talk about photography that doesn’t involve booking a client or even necessarily putting on pants: Still Life Photography!

SLP (I’m lazy) is something worth learning even if you want to only shoot portraits and weddings. Why? Because when you’re shooting a wedding, you’re capturing more than fleeting moments between the bride and groom. You’re shooting still life any time you shoot a photo of the rings, the flowers, the invitations and all the other tiny details your bride and groom want to remember. So let’s talk about a few ways SLP can enhance your overall skill set as a master photographer.

1. Enhance your skills:

If you’re just getting into film photography and don’t yet feel comfortable shooting expensive rolls of film on moving and unpredictable subjects, get started with shooting something that won’t move. Working with a still subject is a great way to learn proper settings and lighting.

With full control over composition, you’re able to manipulate the look of your subject over and over until you’ve gotten exactly what you want. Set up a few objects from around your house in a well-lit area and play around with the background, your off-camera flash and different camera settings. You’ll learn how all your equipment works and you’ll walk away with a larger repertoire of stock images to sell and make millions.

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2. Inspired by the masters:

What kind of art do you have hanging in your home? Bed Bath and Beyond stock art? Unflattering snapshots of loved ones with red beady eyes? That’s cool, but let’s start showcasing your growing photography talents and turn your home into a gallery of pretty.

Let’s say you see something inspiring, like a painting of lemons. And you think to yourself, “That would look great all blown up and hung above the couch.” This is your chance to recreate a look you want for your own personal gain. Get some pretty lemons from the fancy grocery store, a nice bowl from the cabinet and set up your own backdrop. Sometimes I’ll do this on a whim when I bring home some produce that’s just too pretty to not be photographed. Here are some of the cutest strawberries I’ve ever seen. How could I mash them up into jam without taking their portrait first?

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3. Capture the fleeting

Maybe you don’t have a bigger purpose for shooting a still life subject other than to simply remember it in its prime. That’s ok. *See above

I have this love-hate relationship with lilac. It’s so gosh darned pretty and smells so good but it only blooms for about two weeks. And then I have to wait an entire year for that to happen again. So this year, I’ve tried to capture each spring blossom before it’s gone again. I have lilac bushes, roses, peonies, irises, spiderwort, wisteria, lavender, clematis, tulips and hydrangeas. Getting all of these pretty plants on film helps relieve some anxiety I have about basically not taking my sleeping bag outside to sit with all of them before they wilt. It’s the same anxiety I get when there’s a really pretty sunset and I just want to keep it.

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So yeah…still life photography is something worth mastering.

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