The other day I did a presentation at my local photography club on still life setups… and mentioned how long I might work on a set before finally leaving it.

I spend a few hours if you are curious, possibly even going back the next day or two and working the scene over as much as I can – photographing from every angle, changing out the props, changing out the backgrounds, changing out the lenses I’m shooting with, etc… You spend all that effort thinking up an idea, setting up your scene – surely you want to get as many photos as possible from all that effort.

The first photos you get of anything you photograph are not going to be your best – whether that be still life or things you are out shooting – they are the ones you just need to get out of the way. The obvious ones. The ones everyone else has already gotten. These are the shots that take very little effort or thought.

You need to get past those initial ordinary shots to get to the shots that are going to be your best work. That might take you 3 hours and 400+ photos later before you are really thinking outside of the box and getting that “wow” shot you are going for.

After I was finished with the presentation – one of the guys next to me said: “well, I can see I didn’t spend nearly enough time photographing my setup after seeing that presentation”…

Do you do that? Get in a hurry and move on too quickly? Next shoot you do…I want you to challenge yourself to work longer at whatever subject you are photographing. I want you to take those initial shots, and then think – how can I make this better. What angles can I shoot, what lighting can I change, what lenses can I try out, how can I change the setup to make it different than the shots I just got. I want you to really work that scene to the point that you cannot think of 1 more thing to do differently before you put your camera down and then I want you to go back the next day and do it again.

I’d love to know below – do you spend enough time on your sets? Or are you joining the challenge to work harder the next time you shoot?



*Comments are submitted for approval and will usually appear in just a few hours. This helps prevent spam on our site! 🙂


  1. cecilia orzo

    hope to do well and enjoy this lessons

  2. Fran Yates

    Such a good point. I know I work too fast. My challenge to myself is to begin Still Life Photography while I am home. Thank you for the nudge.

    • Denise Love

      You can do it! Can’t wait to see what you are creating 🙂

  3. Carol Davis

    I definitely do not spend enough time. That will change!

  4. Lisa

    love that photo Denise … and you are absolutely right about working those shots 🙂

  5. Karen White

    I do spend quite some time and take a lot of shots – but still not enough!

    • Denise Love

      I like to go back to a set for a few days sometimes. That way each time I am looking at it with fresh eyes. If I’m out shooting on location – I’ll go back to that location more than once – sometimes every year. Just trying to get better than the last time I was there. 🙂


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *