We spoke with photographer and author Mark Jenkinson, who emphasized that "every object has a story behind it."
"Your first job," he went on, "is to think about what it is about that object that you want to say, or what the story is. That story determines your photo."
Choosing objects for a great still life takes an artistic, poetic eye. But if you struggle with this, there are some rules of thumb that can get you started. Experts say that if you use multiple objects for your still life, they shouldn't be random. Rather, they should all fit into a common theme, whether that theme be shape, color, texture, function, period of origin and so on.
Famed photographer John Hedgecoe recommends collecting many objects that fit a certain theme. Keep that collection on a table next to you, and select from it as you compose your shot. We'll delve more into this process later.