A Guide to Still Life Photography

How to turn simple photos into artistic masterpieces.
Still life photography has captivated the social media world. It’s on every brand’s Instagram feed, on your friend’s stories, and in every email you open. If you enjoy taking photos of your food, and coffee, or aesthetically rearranging a table for the perfect shot, then you are a still-life photographer.

What is Still Life Photography?

Still-life photography is the art of capturing an inanimate object or an everyday object. Think of Vincent Van Gogh’s famous bowl of fruit paintings. He was capable of making a simple object, like a bowl a fruit a beautiful piece of art. Nowadays it’s the coffee shop outing, where the morning sun is perfectly striking the wooden table with your cup of coffee as the steam from the coffee rolls into the air.

How to Take Still Life Photos

Although simple, still life photography requires that you have an eye for aesthetics. The first step in exercising this part of your creativity is by learning about composition, lighting, and camera angle.

  • Composition - Composition is how a photographer chooses to arrange objects in their frame. Rule of thirds is a concept in photo composition where you divide your frame in a three-by-three grid. To create balance in your photo be conscious of placing objects where the grid lines cross. Besides the rule of thirds look for ways to find balance in your photos. This can be done by making each photo look symmetrical. It is more pleasing to the eye when it is easy to draw parallels in a photo.
  • Lighting - Lighting is an essential part of changing the mood of a photo. Try natural light, studio lighting, or your iPhone camera flash. Each photo will need different light sources. It is best to experiment with different lighting to see which ones produce the best photos.

  • Camera Angle - Do your objects look better with a bird's eye view angle or an eye-level angle? Bird's eye view angle is a photo taken above the object looking down. An eye-level angle is one that is in front of the object and is on the same level as the object.

What Styles of Still Life Photography Are There?

There are three types of still life photography you can create. There is product, tabletop, and food still life photography. It is recommended to try each form of still-life photography to see which type you prefer.
Product Photography - Choose any product and create photos that are clear without any surrounding distractions.
Tabletop Photography - This is the most common version of still-life photography. Place inanimate objects on any tabletop, and be sure they are smaller than the size of the table.
Food Photography - Have you ever been out at dinner and wanted to share your amazing pasta dish? That is food photography, trying to get the best angle to ensure your audience is able to understand how delicious the food is.

SANDMARC Gear for Still Life Photography

For the perfect lighting:
Ring Light
For the crisp shot:
Telephoto Lens
There is a wide range of photoshoot opportunities when it comes to still life photography. With consistent practice you will see improvement in your photos in no time.