The Complete Guide for Still Life Photography (part 2)

Still Life Photography Lighting

In still life photography, lighting plays a particularly important role. With ordinary objects, lighting is one of the best ways to add interest or create a mood to your photos.

Different Types of Still Life Photography

Still life photography has a variety of types. Here we have compiled a list of a few of them.

Tabletop Photography

The most common type of still life photography is tabletop photography. It is what most of us usually think of when hearing about still life photography. This type is all about shooting objects, which can be anything the photographer wants, as long as they are inanimate and small enough to fit on a table.

Product Photography

Another example of still life photography is product photography. Involving shooting inanimate subjects, it can be considered to be a type of still life. However, what makes product photography differ from other type is that its main goal is to show off a product.

Commonly, these photos aim to provide a clear image of the product without distractions. In contrast, still life photos are usually more artistical and offer photographers more opportunities to be creative.

Food Photography

Food photography is another subtype of still life. With the main goal being to depict food in an attractive way, this type is closely related to product photography. However, what makes food photography differs from product photography is that it often involves setting the scene with other food items and tableware arranged around the object.

Found Object Photography

Photos of found object photography can be considered to be another type of still life. However, found object photography usually involves modifying a subject or placing it in an unusual context. While photographers fall under the umbrella of still life, they also take a further step to make viewers think about the object in a different way.

The Complete Guide for Still Life Photography (part 1)

Still life is a unique genre of photography. Which makes it so special is that the subjects are ordinary objects. Therefore, to succeed with still life photography, you need to make your photos interesting. That also means you can learn new skills from this great photography style. If you are interested in trying it yourself, keep reading on this guide to get started.

What is Still Life Photography?

You may have known about still life in art, which means the paintings that depict flowers in a vase or a bowl of fruit. They are classic examples of a still life. But even if you are familiar with the concept, you may not know exactly what makes a still life a still life.

In general, a still life is a work of art focusing on inanimate subjects. The subjects are usually commonplace objects, including both man-made objects like consumer products, vases, and items of clothing, and natural objects such as food, rocks, plants, and shells.

The key advantage of still life is the freedom to arrange the objects as you want. Still life photography bases on the same philosophy. Many emphasis is put on the arrangement of the objects, the items, the framing, and the lighting. That makes still life photography a great genre that you can experiment with and practice to become a better photographer.

Improve Your Photography Skills with Still Life

Still life photography makes it easy for photographers to experiment. Unlike portrait and landscape photography, you don’t have to search out an interesting location or photo opportunity or deal with live models. Just by using common objects you have or find nearby, you can create your own interesting composition.

Still life photography gives you complete control over every aspect of the scene, so it lets you try out different compositions and lighting setups to determine what works and what doesn’t. So you will be well equipped to create better photo compositions in any situation if you clearly understand how to create great still life photography.

Seven Types of Photography to Master (part 1)

While most photographers specialize in one or two types of photography, experimenting with several photography styles can expand your skill set. The technical and creative skills required often cross various photography genres. This means that when you improve in one area, you can learn valuable lessons that make you a better photographer across other styles.

By learning and practicing the seven following different types of photography, you can build a strong foundation to pursuit your photography career.

1. Portrait Photography

Portrait photography, or portraiture, is one of the most common photography styles. Its aim is to capture the personality and mood of an individual or group. Images might be candid or posed, full-body or close-ups. Either way, the face and eyes of the subject are typically in focus. Lighting and backdrop help to convey tone and emotion. Popular types of portrait photography include senior portraits, engagement photos, professional headshots, and family portraits. The best portrait photographers can make clients feel completely comfortable, so their expressions are natural and relaxed.

2. Photojournalism

Photojournalism is a way of telling the story of a newsworthy (or even historic) event or scene through photographs. Photojournalism should be objective and truthful and capturing candid moments when they are happening is more important than getting picture-perfect shots. Generally, photojournalists attend events with the hope of capturing unscripted, unplanned moments. Their work is routinely published in newspapers and magazines.

3. Fashion Photography

Fashion photography showcases fashion clothing, shoes, and accessories in order to make them more desirable to consumers. People might choose this niche over different types of photography due to the opportunity to be highly creative in making photographs eye-catching and appealing. Fashion photographers take many full-body shots and work in an array of locations, from studios and fashion shows to city streets and open fields. They utilize a lot of the same skills as portrait photographers and have to practice good teamwork and communication as working with creative directors, shoot stylists, and models.

Minimalist Photography: How to Keep It Simple?

Minimalist photography trends are used in the fields of architecture, design, and visual art. Currently, there is a community of photographers who prefer minimalist photography with many sites online. And there are quite a number of prestigious international competitions in France, in Spain, or Minimalism Photography Magazine specializing in minimalist photography.

The slogan of minimalist photography is Less is more. For minimal photography is not easy, the camera must take away what is cumbersome, focus on a detail or a subject and use light, composition, colors to express the meaning. In order to take impressive minimalistic photos that are not trivial, the author often has to have good writing about aesthetics, with a cultural background in many related art fields such as music, painting, etc.

Many minimalist photos capture many profound, profound styles of “meditation” photography to create moments of silence, causing viewers to spend time contemplating and conversing with the author.

Everything phenomena can become the subject of minimal photography, provided that the author must have rich thinking and imagination. The brush on the girl’s eyebrow like the birds flying in the sky was a photographic work that reminded me forever. And the backdrops of minimalist photography are often simple. And the empty space in the image makes a lot of sense if you know how to take advantage of it that suits your subject.

Minimalist photography is not a good shot or something, but usually a thing already in mind. Observe things and phenomena from different angles to find meaningful details, lines or minimal colors. Tile roofs, masonry walls, floral details on the architecture of temples, pagodas, even the lines on the traffic boundary line … can all catch the photographer’s eye. Remember the most familiar minimalist picture that many people take is the birds sitting on the wires like the notes on the music.

With the spread of minimalist photography in many genres, from abstract photos, to landscape photos, Aerial, conceptual images, the creative amplitude is maximized. And post-processing is no longer so simple as before. Post-processing in minimalistic images is not overly complicated, but it also needs a blue eye for sophistication.

Top photography shows of 2019

  1. Les Rencontres d’Arles
    In the 1970s and 80s, self-taught Czech photographer Libuše Jarcovjáková relentlessly chronicled her wild existence at some point of a time of political repression. The results, shot in edgy monochrome, were one of the revelations of this 12 months’s Arles’ photograph competition. However there may be some thing energetic, even joyful, in her laying bare of her very own reckless lifestyles. frequently, she is her very own concern, the captions a form of defiantly nihilist manifesto: “I understand not anything and don’t care. existence is pelting alongside too speedy to apprehend. I’m not often sober.” some place else, she shot at the nocturnal streets and in dive bars, parties and scuzzy bedrooms, shooting the long nights and hungover days of a repressive, and for this reason doggedly dissolute, time in her place of birth. Uncompromising and grittily poetic, Evokativ took me through complete marvel and stayed with me for days afterwards.

2. Cindy Sherman
National Portrait Gallery, London
A long late British retrospective confirmed the whole range of Sherman’s paintings, from the long-lasting early collection Untitled film Stills (1977-eighty) to the more elaborately built sex pix, which nevertheless surprise in terms in their sheer grotesquery. She is a conceptual shapeshifter, whose one tremendous idea – turning the camera on her converted self so as to exaggerate and remove darkness from myriad lady archetypes .

3. Dave Heath: Dialogues With Solitude
The Photographers’ Gallery, London
For all their quiet stillness, Dave Heath’s snap shots own an intensity that is through turns melancholic and unsettling. In that maximum exuberant of many years, the 60s, Heath emerged almost unseen as a grasp of solitude and introspection. His pix, as this deftly-curated exhibition highlighted, instil a thoughtful silence in the area around them. An illuminating survey of a quiet American photographer who become a grasp of mood and series.

The moment the photographer gets lost among the sharks

Cristina was scared as the sharks swam around her, worried that they might get lost in the ocean in the Galapagos Islands.

Cristina Mittermeier, from Mexico, is a marine biologist who has spent more than 20 years taking photos of the ocean world. Cristina now has more than 1.1 million followers on Instagram, where she shares her travels from Greenland to Rwanda.

On the nearest trip to the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), Cristina was overwhelmed by the wildlife here. “The Galapagos Islands have been an oceanographic reserve since 1998, everything is there naturally. While in other places, we have to work very hard to find fish or sea turtles.” she said.

Cristina and her boyfriend, photographer Paul Nicklen, want to dive around Wolf and Darwin, the two most remote islands of the Galapagos and as small as two grains of sand in the ocean. The waters here are quite dangerous for diving, with large waves.

The day Cristina and Paul went scuba diving, the sea was raging with waves crashing onto the rocky shore, the water bubbling white as if they were swimming in a milk tank. While swimming, Cristina suddenly turned around and saw a flock of cobia coming with open mouths. She decided to swim backwards to take pictures, but got lost among the hundreds of fish and could not find Paul when she escaped there. Cristina heard the diving instructor’s bell, but could not see anything.

With half her oxygen, Cristina decided to continue swimming. While floating, she caught a glimpse of something but was unsure whether it was a fish or not. The shapes became clearer, and she realized it was a group of hammerhead sharks.

“To be honest, I was a bit scared but thought that I was at the right place, at the right time and something wonderful was about to happen. But I was worried about how much oxygen was left, the protection cord attached to my body was still there.” How long is it, “she said.

It was also the moment that Cristina remembered that she was a photographer, and could not upload low-quality pictures with explanations. She quickly adjusted her shooting parameters and clicked the camera before the sharks swam away.

Despite owning many critically acclaimed works, Cristina herself has never set a goal of becoming a wildlife photographer, or even won award-winning masterpieces. But when a few selfies were on display at an exhibition of the Houston Museum of Natural History, Cristina began to see her own path alongside marine research.

Looking at the reaction of the visitors, she realized that not everyone has enough knowledge of science or biology like experts to discuss difficult topics. But everyone has with them photographic equipment, which makes it easier to start a story. That is why she decided to save images of the natural world on her wild adventures.


Cristina thinks the most essential skill for her job is to be able to operate comfortably underwater, as she is not allowed to drown or get lost at sea. Once you put your eye on the viewfinder, like when you take a picture of a herring, the photographer can completely forget where you are or what you do. In Cristina’s case, just a minute after taking the picture, she lost her companion.

“Underwater photography requires a lot of work on the camera: you have to think about exposure, natural light, strobe lights; and also pay attention to how not to get sunken. So you have to into a good diver before holding the device underwater, “says Cristina. She claimed she did not need too modern machines to take an artistic photo. You just need to understand and make the most of the tools available at hand.

Turning dirty yellow snow into Clean White Snow

Winter is actually a great time to shoot photos.  A lot of people shoot less in the winter, but up here in Canada you got to learn to enjoy the cold.  I’ve always wanted to shoot a waterfall in the winter, so up to Hamilton it was.  The only problem is Hamilton is known for its air pollution.  This air pollution gets in the water, on the snow and everything.  The snow and ice around the water actually turned an ugly yellow.  So I thought I’d share with you a tutorial or lesson using a very easy Adobe Photoshop technique to turn your ugly yellow or grey snow back into something that looks clean and pure.

Here’s the photo I’m going to work with.

This photo of Websters falls isn’t too bad. Except for the yellow snow. It’s not the pristine clean white stuff we think about of a winter scene.

As you can see the waterfall is quite pretty.  Except it looks like someone urinated in the river.  Maybe King Kong or the Green Giant.  There’s also quite a lot of detail and variation in the waterfall so masking it is going to be difficult.  Luckily this technique is so easy we won’t need to mask off the snow and ice from the rest of the scene.

We’re going to use the Color Replacement Tool in Photoshop.

I used the default settings and a brush size of 30.  You can vary the brush size depending on your scene and what you’re painting of course.

The technique is simple; you can either select white or something close to white as your foreground color.  Or if your snow has a bit of a tint to it, use the color picker to select a bright white area of your snow.  I would actually move the slider a bit whiter than what you got from your color picker because we are in a way tinting the snow.

Now simply just paint over the areas of snow and ice.  I like to do a lot of small strokes so I can easily undo any areas that I got sloppy in.  You’ll find you don’t have to be perfect as mostly the white areas will show the effect the most.

It actually only took me about 5 minutes to do the whole photo.  I than used a similar technique to make the sky bluer.

And of course our Final Result.

Our final result looks like what we would expect of a nice photo. Clean snow, and a blue sky. 

If you used this technique, or enjoyed the article, I’d love to hear from you! Please contact me or leave a comment below!



Desaturate your background

One of my favorite techniques to make an object really stand out is to desaturate the background.  In this tutorial I’m going to show you a very easy method to separate an object from it’s background just be giving the background a little desaturation in Photoshop.  You can adjust the effect to your taste and the photo. I’ve done complete black and white backgrounds with this techniques, as well as just muting the colour a little bit.

Creating Photo Frames in Photoshop

This tutorial will teach you how to create frames for your photos in Adobe Photoshop.  I like to keep mine really simple, but once you learn the technique you can experiment and add your own personal touches such as more layers, or wood finishes.  The process is really quite simple, and if you want you can save it as an action so that Photoshop will add the frame for you automatically.

  1. The first step to preparing your image for the photo frame is to figure out what size image you want.  When I post my images on the web I usually keep the longest edge less than 640 pixels.  Now I actually happen to know I want a frame of 40 pixels so I’m going to resize my image to a height of 600 pixels.

Note:  I know many people will just add the frame and than resize down to the size they want.  I do not recommend this as after resizing I always add some USM to the image, and their is no point to do that to the frame or your signature.

  1. Now that I have my image resized, I like to add a bit of Sharpening to it.  Recently I have started using the Smart Sharpen tool in Photoshop CS2, as I find it makes my workflow easier.  The USM tool I now reserve for Local Contrast Enhancement.  This keeps me from having to adjust my USM tool back and forth for the two similar but different techniques.