Ever see raindrops falling on waxed green leaves? Notice how there’s that one singular drop which seems to cling onto the leaf after the rainstorm is over. Or see beautiful abstract photography of light entering through a small hole in the wall to illuminate a dark room? These are all examples and form part of still life and abstract photography. Everyone knows that there are lots of photography styles. Some people aim to go for more dynamic ones while others prefer still life photography which often involves shooting objects.
Many people don’t understand why someone would want to go for still life or abstract photography when there is so much moving, breathing and living life out there. But there is beauty in stillness as well and there is a case to be made for still life object photography.
Why do people choose to photograph still life objects?
Still, life is a very versatile category of photography even if some people don’t think that. Its versatility comes from the fact that it gives the camera holder utmost creative freedom. You will be able to have control over almost all factors of the image you ultimately want to capture. From the composition to the lighting in the matter and everything in between, you can achieve perfection in all. This level of control and perfection isn’t something you would have been able to achieve in your first go if you are engaging in dynamic styles of photography. This is why nature photography takes patience, time and alertness.
Can object photography be dynamic?
When we talk about still life photography, then the mental image which generally floods our brains is one of beautiful but silent and unmoving objects. But objects can be in motion and it can be a beautiful thing to photograph them. Imagine cars rushing past you at night in the rain. The lights of the nearby street lamps, the falling rain, the refracting light from the water droplets and the speed of the cars would make for an amazing dynamic photograph.
Why do some people prefer photographing objects?
We have established that object photography can be both still and dynamic. But the question still stands why some people prefer to photograph objects rather than natural things like wildlife and people who have lived in them. But the absence of life is what’s beautiful for object photographers. As said before, there is beauty in stillness and motion of things both natural and human-made. The most important thing is that lifelessness allows greater control to the photographer as well.
What factors affect object photography?
- Equipment: Know that any medium quality camera will be able to get great images but there are some things which will have to consider. Know that you will need a tripod to prevent your camera from shaking especially if you are photographing in the dark. Still, life is generally shot at f/8 or f/11 so most lenses will work well. But you can experiment with whatever you want. If you want to focus on moving objects then you will need a camera with better shutter speed.
- The power of the Trinity: Things which are found in three are said to be more effective and satisfying to the eye. Odd numbers are more appealing than even ones. For example, three is said to be the magic number as it helps in creating a visual triangle. There is also something called the Rule of Thirds, which is followed as well. Here the picture gets divided into three equal segments both vertically and horizontally. Then the subject gets placed right on one of the intersections, which is between the third lines. You will find that most cameras have a built-in grid to help with placement. But it’s advised that you train your eyes regarding this concept so that your photographs can get better.
- Composition: There are mainly seven elements which one should consider in photography and that is shape, line, form, texture, pattern, space and color. Of these, the line is the one which is most important because your eye will be following the line present in the photograph irrespective of whether it’s invisible or visible. Moving on to the others, Shape here is the outline of the object, Form is how light and shadow adds depth to the shape.
Texture refers to the details which are present right on the surface of the shape. The work of light is to focus on the roughness or softness of the image. It also depends on the direction it is placed in. Pattern and color will set the mood and will also decide the impact it has on viewers. But space is also important because the distance between objects or rather the perspective and proportion affect the final outcome as well.
- Backgrounds: A major factor affecting object photography us the background. It can be anything from a dark colored wall to light and the jubilant rock piece. But you should always choose something which goes well with your subject. If you are just starting out, then experiment with white foam board, a reflective mirror surface, multi-colored walls and anything else you can find. Even a clean white sheet of paper works because it’s not only a clean background, but light refracted from it will also highlight your subject better.
How to market your skills?
It’s pretty common to think that there is more exposure and money in photographing people and animals since most photographers like that do land jobs pretty easily. But that doesn’t mean you need to be disheartened about your job and earning prospects when engaging in object photography. Here’s what you can do:
- Showcase your portfolio on social media sites and make sure that you keep on regularly or periodically posting pictures there. This will help you gather a good follower number.
- Network with local businesses. Know that they always need object photographers to promote their new product.
- Look for jobs on movie and TV productions. You might think they would mostly need human photographers but object photographers are also hired in huge numbers.
Object photography is more vibrant and alive than many people perceive it to be. But it only becomes so in the hands of a capable photographer. It’s up to you to show the world the beauty you see in an inanimate object.