Still Life

One of the easiest (and one of my favorite) styles of photography is still life. It’s as easy as pointing and shooting, but the beauty comes in the composition.

You know how sometimes you take a photo of something of yours that you adore, like a Beanie Baby (I’m such a ’90s kid) or your trendy bracelets, but your photo just doesn’t turn out? Did you use a cell phone? If so, that the problem. Cell phones don’t accurately capture what we see before us. I’ve found that cell phones take color away.

Now I don’t have tips to really show how to make the photos you take pop outside of messing with the levels, contrast, and vibrance in Photoshop, but I do have some examples of photos from my latest photography assignment for my class.

A Barrel of Water
This is a water barrel meant for gardening. There’s nothing extremely fancy about it, but playing with the ‘rule of thirds,’ it adds a little something to the image. It’s not one of my favorites, but my flash did a nice job of not whiting out the metal.
Catty Weather
This weather vane has been in my family since I was in elementary school. I loved it because it has a cat and once we got out cat, my life was all about the felines. Using something like this to create a sort of silhouette against a mostly solid color background. It’s relatively dramatic, I think.
LEGO Memorial
Yes, this is a LEGO creation and is of one of my favorite buildings simply because I love President Lincoln, not because I’ve been there. Anyway, I used a flash for this to get a little more light, but did all I could to make sure most of the lines of the LEGOs were visible. Some of it looks really solid, but it works for the most part. Macro still life stuff is fun. This is only touching on macro photography.
Ent Incense
This is not just an Ent, this is an incense burner. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well due to how it’s built, but it makes a nerdy decoration. I used the flash again for this to see more detail in the carvings. The depth of field is also just beautiful. Still life can be extremely fun.
Tasty Erasers
Don’t be alarmed, these aren’t real desserts. They are erasers from a crate called Doki Doki Crate. It ships from Japan and gives adorable Japanese trinkets like these and more! Using the flash for this, I bounced off of the wall on the left to light up the dark spaces a little more. It’s one of my favorite shots.
Shield and Tower
Yes, that is the Eiffel Tower behind Captain America’s shield. Yes, those are both made from metal. Yes, these are extremely difficult to use a flash on because if you can’t tell, the title for Cap’s shield is almost whited out. It’s the tricky thing about photographing anything metal. In some cases, you can use a light reflection to your advantage. If only I had the flash reflect off of the shield part.
Tree of Gondor
To my fellow geeks out there, this is the Tree of Gondor decal I have on the back window of my car. I didn’t use my flash because the sunlight was plenty, plus I was focusing on the shadow. If I had used the flash, I would have had a harsh reflection from the window and the shadow wouldn’t show up. I had to have a ridiculously high shutter speed just to nab this and keep the shadow. But it was fun.

Again, still life is one of the easiest and one of my favorite genres of photography. You can manipulate your subjects how you want and take as many photos as you want without any stress. It’s one of the most relaxing ways to photograph.

Take your hand at it. You can try with your phone or even a DSLR camera. It’s a good starting place (along with landscape images!). Thanks for reading!

-Syd

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