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Exploring Still Life Photography
For Fun And Creativity

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Still life photography is the art of making pictures before taking them. See how your garden bounty brings with it perfect photo opportunities.

Digital photography gets more exciting every year as newer and better cameras compete for your attention.

Yet it isn't the camera that makes the photo as much as it is the creative eye of the photographer.

This is really true in some cases more than others. For instance, when you take still life pictures you must first create the image you have in mind.

Still life fine art photos are easy to create. All you really need are a few items you already have around the house.

First choose a subject that sparks your interest. This turns the whole project into a fun and inspirational event to remember.

 Turning Your Garden Harvest Into Still Life Photos

Turn your garden bounty into natural still life photograph

One summer we joined a gardeners co-op. We didn't have the space to grow our own garden. So this was the next best thing.

Joining the co-op helped local gardeners as well as people like us. And we had vegetables delivered to our home once a week as they were harvested by the farmers in our area.

It was fun seeing what new vegetables or fruits would arrive with the next delivery. Each new order changed as the season progressed.

The last shipment of the summer contained a mixed variety of gourds. It was a disappointment to my friend who wanted fresh food.

A Case of One Man's Trash Another Man's Treasure

Basket full of ornamental fruit surrounded by autumn leaves

When I looked at the collection of small fruit I felt my imagination go to town. Visions of quaint little bird houses, colorful rattles and baskets of decorations danced like children frolicking in the fields.

I quickly rounded up all of my baskets that had not been used in a long time. When you let your imagination out of the box, it is amazing what you can come up with.

Cornucopia Filled With Straw Flowers What's My Focus?

Background is Blue Green Material Draped Over Boxes

Your imagination is great for coming up with new and interesting ideas. Your inspiration will show through every shot. But if you want to create eye catching still life photos you will need to make a few preparations.

This photo is a good example of what happens when you don't put enough thought into your finished shot. Well actually it's an example of this photographer playing around and trying to come up with a good shot. I spent the better part of a day playing with my collection of gourds.

A Few Basics of Still Life Photography

Get ready to shoot some fantastic creations. Just keep in mind these four basics of still life photography:

  1. Composition
  2. Background
  3. Object to photograph
  4. Light
Arrange Your Items in Your Mind First

Composition - Since you are working with items that you already have around the house, this part is easy. Compose or arrange your items in a way that they draw the eye to your desired subject. You want your still life photography to be pleasing to the eye.

Throw in a few leaves gathered on a walk. Empty this basket that once held flowers. Now you can see I'm getting the composition part down. I'm not real pleased with the lighting though. So let's keep going.

Dark Background and Natural Light Are Best

A Disconnected Assembly of Nature's Bounty

You can see the blue green material I used in this image clearly. I used my camera's flash to see what effect this would have. As you can see the white pumpkin is washed out. I tried a little touch up in photo editor but could not get it quite right.

Sometimes you can get the lighting just right. The background is perfect. And the colors all come out true to their natural state. But the pieces just don't quite fit together. The image may come out looking like two puzzles forced into one frame.

Your Still Life Photography Comes to Life

Sometimes when you are creating art you can be quite surprised by the results. The one that you were looking for will stand up and say, "Pick me! Pick me!"

Okay, I really don't hear voices coming from my photos. But they do tell a story when you know you have the right composition, lighting and background.

Notice how the white pumpkin sitting on top of the pile starts the whole ball rolling. The remainding gourds and leaves tumble down to the front of the photo. And the basket kind of sneaks its rim out from the background.

For lighting I set up next to a window. The whole project was a fun endeavor. I'll bet I took more than a hundred photographs before I landed on the one.

If by chance you would like to make this still life photo a part of your home or office, you can find it in my Digital Art gallery by Sally Stoneking on Imagekind. The picture above is shown on canvas. This image is also available framed or simply as a photographic print.

> > Still Life Photography

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