5 Tips for Still Life Photography


Seek Out Your Subject

Keep an eye out for tiny details.
Keep an eye out for tiny details.

We mentioned earlier that another form of still life is "found still life," which involves photographing an object or collection of objects as you find them, without rearrangement or even manipulating the light if possible.

Although you can find good subjects inside, you shouldn't be afraid to go outside, where you can take advantage of natural light. Overcast sky usually makes for better photos than direct sunlight, especially in the middle of the day. Subjects can be pretty much whatever you want, from a pile of garden tools or your child's toys to an interesting rock or even litter on the street. You can stroll outside or make special trips to interesting places for inspiration.

The tips and guidelines for studio still life can still apply to found still life, so good shots have a lot to do with locating your subjects and framing them well. One of the great advantages of found still life is that the subjects are already in their natural setting, often around similar objects and with a fitting background. It also gets you out of the studio and offers a break from the painstaking precision of arranged still life.

Overall, both forms of still life can provide the photographer and the viewer a fresh appreciation and perspective of the subject.

Related Articles


  • Fier, Blue. "Composition Photo Workshop." Wiley, 2007.
  • Freeman, Michael. "The Complete Guide to Digital Photography." Lark Books, 2005. (Dec. 16, 2010)http://books.google.com/books?id=5ScMu8WQjdkC
  • Hedgecoe, John. "The Book of Photography." Dorling Kindersley, 2005.
  • Jenkinson, Mark. "Complete Idiot's Guide to Photography Essentials." Alpha Books, 2008.
  • Jenkinson, Mark. Personal Correspondence. Dec. 10, 2010.
  • National Geographic. "Ultimate Field Guide to Photography." National Geographic Books, 2009. (Dec. 16, 2010)http://books.google.com/books?id=aW1TIzeTiDAC


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