Photo Challenge 2014 has gotten off to a great start! This year is a little different than last year, and will be more challenging. Trevor will be focusing on landscape photography, Jeremy will be focusing on technical aspects, and I’ll be focusing on Still Life photography.
Still Life is one of the oldest photography genres. In the early days of photography, with long shutter speeds and cumbersome flash techniques, photographers needed subjects to be still for long periods of time, so like painters, photographers turned to inanimate objects. Still life photography focuses on a grouping of objects and gives the photographer complete control of the arrangement of objects, lighting, and composition. Many other genres strive to capture a scene as it is – with still life the photographer creates the scene.
Each of my posts this year will challenge you to create a still life in a specific theme or with a specific object. This week we’ll start with what is probably the most common still life: Fruit. You can also include your object for the year that Trevor mentioned a few weeks ago, if you have one.
Many of the still life challenges will incorporate the technical focus from Jeremey’s themes, and lighting is one of the keys to still life photography. For this week’s challenge, take what learned last week and apply it while shooting a still life. If you want to read more about lighting still lifes, check out these articles:
- The still life photographers’ guide to lighting: 4 techniques, 4 different effects
- 5 Still Life Lighting Tips for Beginners
One aspect of still life is that the photographer has complete control over the background. As you compose your shot, think about the setting and background. Move your subject around and try different backdrops. The key is to make sure the subject is the focus, and background draws your eye to the main subject.
Often, simple is better for still life photography. A single subject, simple lighting, and a simple background make a great shot.
While the subject may not be exciting to everyone, still life photography forces the photographer to pay attention to the essential technical aspects of photography, like composition and lighting. Shooting still lifes will improve all aspects of your photography. We’ll get more into the technical aspects as the year progresses, for this week grab some fruit and make a shot, paying close attention to the lighting.