Still life photography is rather popular, and people from all over the world enjoy trying their hand at it. Of course, not everyone is an incredible artist, and you can often see some of the common mistakes.
Inexperienced photographers might overlook these mistakes, or they might not be aware that they are making them. Here, we will go through some of the most common issues you should avoid and how you can do so with ease.
Whether you are focusing on food photography or anything else based on still life, one of the most common mistakes people make is forgetting about lighting. Since an item you will be photographing is your central theme, you will need to ensure that it is properly lit. You also need to ensure that there is no distraction in the background.
Since still life is focusing on a centerpiece only, you don’t want other items in the photo distracting the viewer. Ideally, you should photograph in natural light, but this is not always possible. If you are taking photos in a room, you will need to ensure that your object gets enough light.
Another common mistake here is using too much light in the process. People often use artificial light sources like an LED or fluorescent light that make the object look less natural and add color temperature. A great solution is to place the object near the window, so you can still use that natural light. If you have to use a light source, try playing with shadows and experimenting until you manage to snap a couple of incredible photographs.
Confusing or Distracting Background
We have already mentioned how the background can be confusing, and this is the second common mistake. There is a reason all product photos have a neutral (most often white) background, and that’s to keep the viewer’s focus on the object. If you have too many things in the photo, the attention of the viewer will be all over the place.
They won’t get the chance to admire your photo, and they will feel like they are trying to find Waldo.
The solution to this problem is easy — simplicity. If you are trying to take a photo of an object, that object should be the only thing in the photo. Moreover, you can always use a sheet or a one-colored wall to make a unified, neutral background that will keep viewers’ attention where it should be.
Not Using a Tripod
Many beginners fail to understand the importance of equipment like tripods. These are essential if you plan on photographing anything with high shutter speed since it will allow your photos to be clear and without blur. If you want to photograph anything that moves, like falling water on an indoor fountain, it will be nearly impossible for you to hold the camera perfectly still. As a result, you will end up with a blurry shot that won’t look nearly as good as it could.
Tripods also allow you to use a remote to eliminate even the slightest movement of the camera. Of course, if you don’t have a wireless remote, you can always set your camera to take a photo after a couple of seconds, which will be more than enough to avoid blur.
Needless to say, motion blur can sometimes add something special to the photograph, and you should try to experiment with it. However, there is a huge difference between intentional and unintentional blur on the shot.
Framing your shot will help you focus the attention of your viewers and keep them on the main subject of the photo. Cropping photos is important but not like you see on social media. Similar to motion blur, intentional cropping can send a message. However, if you are taking a photo of an object, the last thing you need is another one sneaking into the frame.
You need to understand and see whether the object will fit your frame and if it will do it in a manner that will capture attention. The best option is to experiment a bit with your camera. Try landscape photography, different angles, and see what you can achieve with the same object. Even if you move slightly to the left (or right), the image will look different.
Wrong Choice of Lens
The primary idea behind still photography is to capture the depth. This way, you can bring out the object in a completely different style that will interact with your viewers in a unique way. The only way to achieve this level of focus is through shallow depth of field.
The choice of the lens is especially important for photographing objects with high levels of detail. Most commonly, these objects are leaves, flowers, or fruits. What you’ll want to do here is get as close to the object as physically possible. Just set the camera to the Aperture Priority mode and try to keep the focal length as long as you can.
The best option here is to use a telephoto lens since the longer focal length will compress perspective. Of course, we’re not trying to say that these lenses are the only ones that work with still photography, and you can still make incredible photos with a 50mm or wide-angle.
Finally, beginners often make the mistake of not adding enough variations and sticking to the same thing over and over again. Even if your photos are great and you feel like you are a professional photographer, you won’t get far if you do the same thing repeatedly. Your audience will get bored if they see a million photos of the same apple. You need to experiment and try as many different things as possible.
Sometimes, these attempts will feel like a disaster, but with each photo you take, you will learn something new. Photography is an art form like any other, which means that you need a lot of practice and a lot of failed attempts before you master it.