The 4 Stages of Still Life Photography

02 Jul 2015
| Last update: 22 Aug 2017

Some people may wonder how still life photography can, at times, be even more difficult than classical portraits. The truth is, this kind of art has its twists and turns. In 5 years of testing my skills in different photographic areas I have discovered how demanding it can be to take a quality still life picture. Here are some of the major stages I have identified in the magical realm of still life photography:

1. The Idea– You can not start without one, and finding a proper meaning as to why you are photographing apples demands some serious thought. It’s not like you a have a beautiful girl that can pose for you at each and every angle. You have to do everything from scratch. To have outstanding still life photography skills, you have to gather a lot of experience from a variety of areas. This is the magic. You can use your imagination to combine the most unimaginable things.

still life photography[Photo Credits ]

2. The Elements– The idea is the basic step, but next, you need to find the proper elements to use in order to best bring your vision to life. For example, if you lack inspiration for your perfect still life photography project, you can visit your attic and surely there is some vintage pot that can spark inspiration. Also, going to second-hand stores with vintage furniture and objects can be enlightening. You can find some item that inspires you and suddenly you visualize the perfect shot. This process is frustrating, because everything seems so ordinary. For example, one Russian photographer uses pears in the majority of her still life photography. She has them in so many postures and it seems that the ideas flow from one to the other.

3. The Implementation– It may seem simple now. You have the idea. You have the elements. So now, the process of taking the picture should be clean and clear. Well, think again. Still life photography, like all the other types, is dependent upon good light. The light makes the difference between a good picture and an extraordinary one. The studio is a second element, but with the same dose of creativity you can make a great one from scratch, too. For example, more and more still life photographers give up on investing in expensive studios. With some boxes, white sheets and lamps or candles for more dramatic light, they create a perfect environment to implement their ideas.

4.  The Polishing-Or the Photoshop stage. It is common knowledge that still life photography is based mainly on computer processing. Here, skills are a must, and can take time to learn. There are some easy skills to use like light, color-balance, background adjustments. Of course, the amazing things start here, but this is another part of the puzzle.

So, do you still think that still life photography is easy? Challenge yourself and find out on your own.