Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

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In still life photography, a photographer creates an image with almost full control over lighting, mood, and composition. Because photographers directly influence the image creation process, still life photos reflect the creativity and style of the photographers themselves. For this reason, photographers who specialize in still life will end up with a unique and creative portfolio. Even if the endless possibilities of still life photography can seem daunting, it’s definitely worth trying out.

Still life photography is a demanding art, one in which the photographers are expected to be able to form their work with a refined sense of lighting, coupled with compositional skills. The still life photographer makes pictures rather than takes them. Knowing where to look for propping and surfaces also is a required skill.

In this article you will see fantastic still life photography ideas that I hope will inspire you in making your own top notch photos of still life.

7 Things to Keep in Mind About Still Life Photography

Here are 7 things to keep in mind while shooting still life photography, followed by examples of still life photography.

1. Plan your photo

In still life photography, you won’t generally stumble upon a great photo by sheer luck. You should take charge of the entire creative process. The more you plan out your shoot, the better the result is likely to be. So take some time to brainstorm ideas and how you can execute them. When reading through the other items on this list, think of how you can plan for them in advance.

2. Tripods

Use them.

3. Composition

In still life photos, you have more freedom to move your subjects around. This gives you the opportunity to play around with composition (without your subjects getting bored or upset). Think of yourself as a graphic designer who is composing an image. You will discover that certain compositions are more interesting than others. You can also try out different proportional relations between objects. One thing you should definitely pay attention to is the space around your subject, the negative (or white) space. The composition of your photo may become better, just by increasing (or decreasing) the negative space.

4. Lighting

As with all other types of photography, good lighting is essential in still life photography. Because you have virtually complete control of your environment, there’s not really an excuse for poor lighting. In other words, figure out how to perfect the lighting in your still life shooting environment. If you’re relying on natural light, figure out the best time for a shoot or wait until the light has improved. When using a flash, you should consider diffusing the light, using an external flash and directing the light with a reflector.

5. Background

You want to make sure that the background works well with your main subject. For example, think about how the background will look in-focus and out-of-focus. Maybe you can find a background with an interesting texture or no texture at all. A single-color background can be an effective way to make your subject stand out. If you have the option, try out different types of background with the same subject.

6. Take it outside

With still life photography, you’re not limited to staying inside. You can find plenty of excellent still life subjects outdoors: leaves floating down the river, a nice composition of street objects, or an interesting rock on the beach. It might be harder to control the shooting environment, but outside you can find unique subjects and backgrounds.

7. Release your inner creative genius

There are no limits on what you can do with still life photography (as long as your subjects are, you know, still). So play around with ideas and the contents in your cupboards! Maybe you will be the first person to photograph a rubber ducky in a bathtub filled with watermelons. You can also create your own message. Still life paintings were infused with meaning and symbolism, you could do the same in your still life photos.

Examples of Still Life Photography

Ale Quero Dodge — All Of The While I Never Knew

Still Life Photography by Ale Quero Dodge Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Alessandro Baffa — Morning Rituals

Still Life Photography by Alessandro Baffa — Morning Rituals Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Alex Greenshpun — Dancing in the Rain

Still Life Photography by Alex Greenshpun — Dancing in the Rain Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Ben Roffelsen — Urban Still Life (Cold Alley)

Still Life Photography by Ben Roffelsen — Urban Still Life Cold Alley Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Donnie Nunley — Garlic and Dust

Still Life Photography by Donnie Nunley — Garlic and Dust Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Donnie Nunley — Purple Grapes

Still Life Photography by Donnie Nunley — Purple Grapes Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Igor Ferreira — Still Life

Still Life Photography by Igor Ferreira Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Jeremy Lusk — The Leica

Still Life Photography by Jeremy Lusk — The Leica Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Laurens Kaldeway — Cup of Beans

Still Life Photography by Laurens Kaldeway — Cup of Beans Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Laurens Kaldeway — Green Beans

Still Life Photography by Laurens Kaldeway — Green Beans Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Laurens Kaldeway — On the Table

Still Life Photography by Laurens Kaldeway — On the Table Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Laurens Kaldeway — Trio

Still Life Photography by Laurens Kaldeway — Trio Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Margarita K… — spring story…

Still Life Photography by Margarita Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Raymond’s Glass Eye — Garden Fresh

Still Life Photography by Raymond’s Glass Eye — Garden Fresh Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Suzanne Cummings — A Morning Place

Still Life Photography by Suzanne Cummings — A Morning Place Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Suzanne Cummings — Things Past

Still Life Photography by Suzanne Cummings — Things Past Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Thomas Lieser — still life with easy chair and TELEV-KASTEN

Still Life Photography by Thomas Lieser Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Yane Naumoski — Day 247: Hazelnuts

Still Life Photography by Yane Naumoski Hazelnuts Creative Still Life Photography Ideas

Cat Girl 007 — Egg and Forks

Still Life Photography Cat Girl 007 — Egg and Forks Creative Still Life Photography Ideas