Still Life Photography Guide

Still life and also tabletop photography is an excellent method to enhance your photography skills. In this post, we are going to show you the way to get those best still life photographs!

So what constitutes a still living photo? Still life photography is definitely the photographic counterpart of still life painting. Typical subjects for still life photography include inanimate items – flowers, rocks, plants, food, and more.

Tabletop photography is a department of still life photography which concentrates on capturing items placed on a dinner table. Probably the most typical photographic topics of this particular genre are food and product photography.

Precisely why You ought to Try Still Life as well as Tabletop Photography

You are able to discover a great deal from still life photography. For instance, you’re able to observe the way the various light types will influence the scene. Did you fully grasp that sidelight from a minimal light source is wonderful to reveal textures?

With still life and also tabletop photography, you’re entirely in charge of each and every element of the photo of yours. From staging the scene, to firing the shutter – it’s all the choice of yours.

Regardless of the “commercial” nature of tabletop photography, you’re not restricted to photographing nevertheless life in a commercial way.

What Would you Need for Your Still Life Project?

A professional may call for a suitable set-up and equipment that is expensive. Though you are able to really take photos that are amazing with basic gear in the corner of the family room of yours. Keep costs low by getting inventive and also crafting DIY answers and accessories being the photo that you simply desire.

Below, I’ve provided a summary of tools and materials to start tabletop and still life photography.
Necessary Equipment

Almost any camera type. A camera is less costly to run, and also you are able to have quick feedback, but almost nothing stops you from utilizing your movie camera.
Unique materials to produce the floor and history for the scene of yours.
Small silver and white reflectors to bounce the light back into the arena. These may be easily constructed using cardboard and tinfoil.
Props: look around the home of yours or perhaps go to a flea market for fascinating, cheap props to improve the scene.

Advised Equipment

At least 1 flashgun. Preferably, it may be utilized in manual mode and possesses adjustable power. I use a Metz forty four AF 2 digital. You’ll also need wireless triggers or even a fairly long E TTL cord – to allow flash off camera.
A softbox to your flashgun: I are using a Neewer Translucent Softbox, a compact, affordable and wonderful softbox.
A tripod. A second one may be required in case you wish to mount your flashgun rather than using it handheld.
A telephoto lens and a quick regular lens. Preferably, a macro lens is needed, though you are able to escape with a pair of close up lenses. Because I don’t wear a macro lens, I often use a +2 or +3 close up lens. It decreases the little focus distance of the lenses of mine. Old, manual lenses are great and usually inexpensive.

I generally make use of a well used, manual, Olympus Zuiko OM 50mm f/1.4 and the Sigma Art 30mm f/1.4 as they’re very crisp & cheap. Notice I utilize many lenses on an m4/3 camera, and have a crop factor for the sensor of 2x.

What this means is that those lenses are equal to a 100mm, 60mm and 120mm lens for full frame cameras. Typically speaking, for still life and product photography, you’re a lot better off staying between the fifty and 120mm focal range.

The best way to Approach Still Life Photography

Try keeping it simple. Do not get taken away attempting to craft scenes with numerous diverse objects (or supplies and food). Take a minimalistic strategy, where the primary topic is readily identified. Work the scene to create almost all of it.
Consider that glassy, reflective and shiny surfaces would be the toughest to work with. Make an effort to stay away from them in the beginning.
Try keeping it fresh. Still living is exactly about perfection (even messy setups must be thoroughly staged) and nothing must remain unchecked. Make sure you thoroughly clean the props of yours and all visible surfaces of debris, fingerprints and smudges.
Be patient. Tossing items into the scene won’t offer results that are good. Think of the composition of yours, how the items play together and also consider leading angles and lines of view. Test with the lighting. Consider what you would like to emphasize in the arena, the emotions to express, and the textures to reveal.
Write a logbook to note on the camera settings used for every photo. This is very beneficial in case you’re using manual lenses which don’t speak with the camera body. It’s a good way to take note just how you staged the set as well as the gentle setup for future reference.

Technical Strategies for Still Life Photography
Low Key Setup

For low key photography, I choose working in lighting that is low. I develop the set of mine with 2 parts of dark cardboard: the one I use as the point (50×70 cm) features a shiny finish, while the 1 because of the history (hundred x seventy cm) is matte.

The flash is off camera, on its light stand, and I typically put it on the front/side on the set.

High Key Setup

This is the normal setup of mine for higher key photography: 2 parts of white cardboard. The single for the floor stage (50×70 cm) is sleeping holding a coffee table. The background (100×70 cm) is vertical and for a rest foot. The set in place is alongside a window to guarantee a great deal of organic light to work with.

It’s best to stay away from windows subjected to direct sunlight due to the strong light which will land on the set of yours. Overcast days are the very best since the sky will serve as a huge softbox.

A number of Words on Focusing and Focus Stacking

To begin with, forget autofocus and go manual: you wish to have complete control of what’s in focus and what’s not. If your camera has it, do the fresh view and switch on any possible manual focus assisting purpose you’ve. Image magnification, focus peaking, or perhaps a mix of the 2.

For this particular shot type, wherever you’ve a narrow depth of field, plus you have to concentrate, have your camera mounted on a tripod. Use a remote shutter or maybe the self-timer, to stay away from camera shaking.

Bear in mind of just one issue that you might have to experience when dealing with macro or even shut up lenses; the very narrow DOF. Sometimes, including a tiny subject can’t be everything in focus.
If stepping down the lens of yours, (i.e. choosing a smaller aperture is not desirable) or perhaps the ensuing DOF continues to be way too narrow, the sole answer left is doing focus stacking.

Focus stacking tends to occur in post processing. But you can find currently a number of cameras which enable you to perform in camera focus stacking (e.g. the Olympus OM D EM 1 with the current firm update).

In Photoshop, focus stacking is accomplished by selectively merging some photos where each picture is centered on an alternative portion of the arena. This method requires loading the pictures of yours into Photoshop as layers. You then mask out the undesirable areas of the pictures before merging the layers to produce the last picture.