In a day and age where Instagram rules the world, a certain photography genre is thriving, a style revolving around capturing inanimate objects — still life photography. It’s a common way of depicting various subjects, but we argue that it found its home in product placement and advertisement.
Moreover, still-life photography is entirely about capturing a certain subject in total fixedness. Brought into the world of cameras, lights, and lenses, this style of photography has its roots in still life paintings. Coming into full fruition in the 16th century, this classical art form of presenting lifeless objects still lives on to this day.
Still-life photography styles can delve into different themes and topics. For example, a couple of most prominent sub-genres include food, found objects, tabletop, and product photography. And like mentioned, all of these branches of the still life style can be closely related to advertising certain products. With adequate backgrounds and lighting, they almost always come in medium shots.
Whether the artist is using analog or digital cameras, the process of capturing the frame is similar. Furthermore, it focuses on just a couple of pieces of equipment.
For a perfect still piece, photographers rely on a quality camera, some lenses, a light source (natural or lamps), and a softbox. All of these elements are essential for producing a frame of exceptional image quality.
But even if used continuously for commercial purposes, still life photos hold a high place in modern art. Ever since Duchamp’s famous urinal piece, the future of 20th-century art moved into its current direction. Nowadays, public exhibitions of still life photography take place annually.
Easy to Set Up
One of the reasons this style is so popular is that it’s a pretty simple yet effective way of shooting. Besides your imagination and creativity, you’ll only need a couple of gadgets to pull it off. But don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s an inexpensive hobby. Although, if done correctly, it can prove worth every dime.
The four founding pillars of still-life photography are a quality camera, an adequate lens, some lighting, and a softbox. With those, anyone can try to pursue a career in photography.
Of course, it’s a trial and error process, so don’t think you’ll master it overnight. Like all quality artists, it takes time to craft a masterpiece of your own. But it’s certainly an easy way to engage yourself in an artistic and lucrative profession.
All an artist needs to do is choose an object to capture, place it on a surface of some kind, light it nicely, and shoot. To get that perfect frame, still photography camera work will rely on medium-sized lenses (20–120 mm). Putting it in front of a suiting background and using proper lighting will only add to the impression of quality.
And voilà — you’ve got yourself a set-piece worth talking about!
Since we’re living in a culture obsessed with likes and shares, there’s not much you can do but find a way to turn the tables in your favor. With Instagram, Facebook, and other social media services booming every day, what better way than to incorporate our skills on home pages of so many users. Still life photography seems like a perfect way to do just that.
You don’t have to start with flagship models like a Panasonic Lumix or a DJI Mavic 2 Pro in the beginning. To start, just think of a concept you’re going to shoot or promote. Find a context in which your future masterpieces will reside. You can use your smartphone and discover how studio lighting differs from the natural one.
But once you gain some confidence, buy a better device you can afford. Get stacked on memory cards because you’ll make a lot of fillers in your early days. Set up a page or an account on a social media outlet too, and start promoting your work. After all, most of us started just like that.
Can Be a Stable Source of Income
Harsh times call for harsh measures. Only this time, photography ain’t one of ‘em! With the economy crumbling with all that’s going on these days, it’s a smart idea to find a stable source of income. And guess what — photography can be just that!
Even if you can’t count on money coming in from all sides at the beginning, it’s safe to assume that if your approach is smart, you’ll sooner rather than later come to full fruition with your plan. Like in any business, it takes time for things to gain momentum. Therefore, concentrating on your craft, in the beginning, is essential.
Maybe you won’t end up shooting hot models for Vogue, but running a popular Instagram page ain’t half bad. In all seriousness, running a profile with a couple of thousand people following can be lucrative as hell. And besides that, you can always start teaching others.
A Lot of Subjects to Choose From
When considering photography, it’s crucial to find a niche you’ll be willing to pursue. Like with any art form, still photography has many subcategories. Some of them we’ve already mentioned, but it won’t hurt to do it again. After all, we’re here to help out, and listing ideas is the best way to do so.
For example, one of the most lucrative subdivisions of still photography is capturing images of delicious meals. Food photos generate lots of views on all sorts of sites! So, thinking of hooking up with a local restaurant won’t be a bad idea. It’ll work both ways — they get a cool advertisement, you get a respectable fee.
Also, there’s a lot of room in photographing indie clothing brands who just can’t cut it in the market. Shooting clothes that’ll appear on “Insta stories” will help gain you traction and hopefully launch you upwards in the photo business. Don’t forget to find a clean white background and a softbox for some nice shadows!
Last but not least, found object photos are really popular nowadays — the dystopian themed images pop-up from time to time on all sorts of feeds. So see if you can find it suited for you to capture some abandoned objects in desolate spaces. Maybe you can even experiment with angles and shoot using a drone. In that case, the best drone for still photography is certainly a DJI Mavic Mini.
Can Be Done Both Indoor and Outdoors
Another great thing about photography is the fact that it works both indoors and outside. It’s a great way of exploring different areas, towns, and places. Even if it’s not much of a workout, it can lead you to beautiful, lush locations and gritty abandoned towns. A creative mind can make most of all sorts of surroundings, so playing the part of exploring will give you additional ammo to shoot your masterpieces.
The only real difference when shooting outdoors from your future studio is the use of light. Once it comes to areas lighted by natural light, most of the time, you won’t even need lamps, cables, and softboxes. But when the night falls, and you go for some cool dimly-lighted aesthetics, led lights for still photography comes into play.
Led panels are used in the afternoon and in the dark. So, the way they shine perfectly matches the dark. Therefore, professionals use them in these scenarios. But before you go out in search of a perfect location, you’ll need to take the battery life of your trusty device into consideration. Because once “in the wild,” there’s no electricity to recharge if you don’t use remote chargers.
Creativity Is Limitless
Great artists breathe creativity and innovation. But you don’t have to be Brassai or Helmut Newton to make it in the world of photography. It’s true that some talent is needed, but in modern still life photos, you’ll need to understand just a few concepts to make a solid piece of art that’ll make jaws drop.
All of the modern technological advancements work for you, and coming up with interesting concepts will lead you a long way. Most people can prove their worth in food photography and make serious money. But not everyone can make food photos innovative and fresh. So think about your work, find something that hasn’t been overdone.
Also, mixing and incorporating different styles will only make you stand out amongst a crowd of people doing the same thing over and over again. When you pair creativity and originality, you’ve got yourself a winning combo. Like in any kind of art form, being unique can only be rewarding.
Set up, find a device you like, check those crazy drones on the market, and start your artistic endeavor. Contact your local shops for cooperation on their promotion, open a page online, and show us how it’s done. Remember that in the right hands, the potential of a camera is limitless!
Here is another article from Buzz Feed that will help you take best photos.