You’ve bought a camera but have no prior experience in photography? Don’t worry because we’re here to help. Once they buy their gear, people usually tend to pursue obscure and unrealistic genres of photography. However, there’s a much safer and better way to start your artistic journey.
We’re here to talk about the still-life genre. It’s a great starting point for every newbie since it’s a great way to practice framing, lighting, and medium shots. It’s a pretty lucrative way of capturing images because you can quickly venture into advertisement even if you’re merely average. Hence, let’s talk a bit more about still life.
Often seen in both photography and painting, still life is a renowned artistic genre. Seeing how cameras came a bit later, its roots are in brushes and easels. The most prominent period for still-life paintings was the 1500s. However, it was present way back in medieval times and is still going strong nowadays.
Although some would argue that still-life is a sterile genre, it’s not. Sure, it relies on a strict composition of objects in the picture, but that’s not what makes it interesting. Combining lighting and framing, artists look to present the scene in its purest and most natural state. It’s a perfect match with advertisement since it avoids close-ups and wide shots.
Found Still Life
There are two main subgenres of still-life visuals — found and created still life. The first one consists of shooting (or painting) objects and scenes in their natural state. These still-life images are often bleak in concept (Vanitas), but it’s not a rule. Nevertheless, they rely on natural lighting and colors.
Vanitas usually portray the passing of time, the certainty of death, and other “fun” things. Once again, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can always find inspiration in a lively outdoor setting and shoot something more cheerful. Either way, it’s essential to understand how to frame and use light. Our photography tip for this subgenre of classic still-life is to shoot during the day.
Created Still Life
On the other hand, you can always make your own scene. This means that you can experiment with created still-life photography. Just like in the previous sub-genre, the themes and options are many. You can explore abstract images, fine art, classic setups like a bowl of fruit, or even advertisement.
You can come up with ideas using almost anything. Our created still-life photography tip and trick is to begin with simple photos of fruit against a white background. With a simple scene, you’ll be able to present the colors of your object with ease. Also, it will be easier to understand how light sources work.
Whatever you choose, you won’t make a mistake. Maybe you have an idea for a cool record cover or a way to sell your friend’s clothing brand on Instagram — it’s all legit. The key is to practice as much as possible and not give up. Hence, remember that medium framing and good lighting make all the difference for still-life photographers.
Which One Is Better?
In reality, there’s no definitive answer to this question. It all comes down to your preference, just like everything in art. Sure, you can say one picture is better than the other because of the concept, image quality, lighting, etc., but you can’t compare genres like that. However, we might be able to argue one’s more lucrative than the other.
You see, in our opinion, found still-life is more artistic. It mostly relies on weird concepts, experimental visuals, and so on. Sometimes, it’s even pretty bleak. On the other hand, created still-life visuals can be more than useful for product photography. You can arrange whatever you like to properly advertise it.
From tabletop to food photography, you can make real money if you set your camera the right way. Of course, add some unique spices, and you’re on your way to the top. Amateur photography is living its best days with the emergence of Instagram and similar photo-related social media platforms. So let’s check some photography hacks, tips, and tricks.
Tips and Tricks
First thing’s first — you need a concept. You need a clear and understandable message for your audience. This mostly applies if you’re looking to sell something and you shoot images for product placement. For instance, food products will sit nicely in a kitchen surrounding, implying what their natural setting is.
Next up, get creative with your lighting setup. Not only does the quality of your final image depend on your understanding of how light works, but it also must not be dull and bland. You can use lighting to set up a particular mood for your photo. This way, you’ll be able to present your audience with a clear and understandable message.
However, knowing what kind of device will work well for still-life is probably the most important tip you can get. For this genre, almost every analog or digital camera will work fine. Consider lenses too. Your photo needs to be clear and precise, so something with little to no distortion that’s about 80 to 100 mm will work great for medium shots that you need.