In the winter time it can be a very uncreative time for me. So this year I decided as I was waiting for spring to bloom I would play with still life. I would find items in my home and just figure out cool, weird, interesting ways to photograph them. I used natural light in a small corner of my office. It is amazing when you keep pushing yourself to think differently about the object in front of you what you can see. It was my most fun winter project to date.
My top still life tips
1. Pick objects you can “deconstruct”. I loved working with flowers and food because you can cut them, pull the petals off, and use all sorts of different parts of them. I had a lot of fun taking things about and then mixing parts together.
2. Use simple backgrounds. I used trays, cutting boards, and poster board. I kept my tones mostly neutral darks and lights. When I have purchased items that I want to use as backgrounds or elements in an image I try to find things that are really simple and almost forgettable. I want to be able to use elements over and over again.
3. Use what you have. I loved using foods because a) I had them and b) they have interesting shapes and colors
4. Play…and then play some more. This was the part I loved the most. I don’t think I have yet to go into a project knowing how it would end. I just kept playing and let the inspiration carry my through.
5. Use soft natural light. My home is pretty moody and dark so I used those tones to my advantage. You can also use poster board to reflect soft light for more evenly lit images.
For the camera nerds. All these images were taken using a Zeiss Loxia 85 mm lens. I shot mostly with 2.8 but also went up to 7.1 for images where I wanted more in focus. Small apertures were helpful since a number of my objects were rounded and in many cases I wanted the whole object in focus. These were all shot on the Sony A9 using natural light. I really want to get a macro lens. With every set there were details I wanted to really focus on.
Bowls. I found these bowls and fell in love with the simple lines. I used dark background, light, backgrounds, wood, metal, flowers, and nothing at all as I styled these simple bows.
Eggs. This was super fun. It always starts out clean and before I know it I have made a huge mess. I just kept thinking about how could I break this down even more. I did shots with the egg breakfast, just eggs, just yolk, the shells, and even using flowers…. it was a lot of fun.
Tea. I love tea and have lots of teas lying around. I actually picked this tea because of the color of the tea bag. I kept adding elements and then making it simple again. I really loved pouring the tea out and having it on the marble cutting board. Again, I kept thinking about how to break it down to the most basic elements. When I started out I never considered the actual tea as something I could play with. It just seemed like it had to stay in the cup. I really wished I had my tripod, if I did I would have loved seeing the tea being poured out. But it wasn’t until I had dripped some on the cutting board that I got the idea to pour it on the cutting board. From there I picked up my mug and put it down… it left a ring. New inspiration…I put more rings on the board. I finished photographing the board and went to put it up on its side to so something new. The tea all dripped down.. I loved it. I it actually one of my favorite images from the set ( from the tea image above.) I ended up doing the same thing with the egg set above because I knew it would work and look great.
I used blogstomp to put together the images to tell a story or in a way I think looks good. It is super easy to use. I hope you go out and find random things in your house to inspire your creative spirit.