My Top 10 Tips for Doing Still Life Photography


Over the years, still life photography has evolved into being one of the major fields of photography. Currently this aspect of photography now receives as much attention as the other fields. Do you dream of being a phenomenal still life photographer? In this post am going to give you my top 10 tips that will help you sharpen your skills as a photographer. I have put into practice these tips and I can assure that they work perfectly. They include:

1. Use naturally diffused light

Light is the most important aspect of photography. I can say simply that light gives life to a photo. I mean what could we do without light? The best fact about still life photography is that you have the power of control over all the variables in your photo. This includes light.

To have the best possible still photo, you need to take advantage of natural lighting. Natural light is the best available form of light. Making good use of it will help make you the best photographer you can be.

2. Choose your surface carefully 

Most photographers always neglect the importance of having a good surface for their still life photos. The surface that you place your still life inanimate object should be perfect. Perfection can be achieved through creativity. Be a risk taker. Do not be afraid to try out new surfaces. You might just be amazed by how this turns out for you. Some of my absolute favorite go-to surfaces are weather wood table tops, backdrops and old antique papers.

3. Get creative with your props

Creativity! Creativity! Creativity! I cannot stress enough on how this is vital to you as a photographer. Creativity is every artist’s well of power. You may say, ‘I’m not creative.’ That is not true. You overrate creativity. Creativity is as simple as trying out something new. Be welcoming to new ideas.

Some of my favorite places to get props is my local antique store and Etsy. I absolutely adore old papers. The beautiful writing on them lends such great atmosphere to my still photos, and if they are in French… then it is a bonus!

4. Expose yourself to other still life photos

It is important for you as an artist to expose yourself to other photos of still life photography. Seeing what other photographers around you are doing will help you gain new ideas and perspectives.

My favorite place to be inspired? Instagram. A photographers dream. An endless well of inspiration. I can spend hours looking through the photos. I now follow several still photographers that I find extremely inspiring.

There is a reason you will go to museums and see student artists painting a replica of a famous painting. To study others and learn their techniques will help you grow as an artist and push your boundaries.

5. Your equipment is important

The quality of the photo you produce is very important. A great idea is always perfected through top quality execution. The most important thing to consider is you lens. You can have a lesser body with a great lens and make great pics, but if you have the wrong lens – you will be frustrated with your efforts.

I personally prefer my 50mm (Canon) compact macro lens because I shoot detail shots.. This lens stops down to 2.5f and lets you get close up. If you have a macro lens – that is a great choice also.

If you don’t take macro shots – then a 50mm 1.8f or 1.4f are fantastic choices. A fixed lens gives you the sharpest possible photos and at the same time the low f-stop gives you beautiful blur and atmosphere.

6. Always take your pictures from many angles

I usually set up my still life and study it a bit… then get right to snapping some shots. I change the aperture to see what difference I can achieve in the depth of field. I also change my camera angles and move all around the scene to see how many different shots I can get. Then I continue adding and subtracting objects and working my still life till the light is gone.

I do this so that later I can study what I got and choose the best possible shots to work with.

7. Get creative with your processing

We live in a world of technology. The second most important equipment for any photographer after the camera is a computer. Gone are the days when the shot you took was all that mattered. Make sure you are creative in processing your still life photography shots. This is your chance to make some simple corrections to errors you made during shooting and make improvements on your shots.

8. Experiment

Great ideas come out of trying new things. Therefore as a photographer you should nurture your inner self. Creativity is enhanced through trying out new things. Be a risk taker. I mean what is the worst that could happen if you try out something new. Nothing except for you to realize that what you tried didn’t work. You didn’t fail, it just didn’t work. Now you can go ahead and try something else. If it works then you have discovered a great new way and learned from it.

9. Practice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect, therefore practice and practice and keep practicing. There is no one who was born with an ability to do something. Practice makes the difference between who become the best and progresses and who stagnated where they are. The more you practice the better you will get.

10. Relax and have fun

In still life photography, your object is not going anywhere. Take some time to enjoy the process.

I hope you have enjoyed taking a look at my top tips for improving your still life photos and will give it a shot. You can check out my tiny still life set up in this blog post ( you will see that you can make this work no matter how limited your space or your budget is.

Stay in touch…

I hope my site inspires you to push your creativity and photography further. I’d love to stay in touch with you each week with our free email updates!

I have a few free goodies for you – Photography The Basics eBook, Working With Textures eBook, a gorgeous texture sampler set, and a Lightroom/ACR – Sweet Lights sampler set to get you started. I cannot wait to see what you are creating!

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