This week was all about Still Life photography.

According to Wikipedia: “still life photography is a genre of photography used for the depiction of inanimate subject matter, typically a small group of objects.”

For our photo activity this week we set up a light box and learned how to take still life photos of things we had with us.

Remember, a good still life photographer makes the photo, rather than just takes the photo.

This is a great skill to have in your toolkit if you sell online or are an artist that wants to have photos your work for websites, brochures, etc.

Take a look at still life photos – gone are the days of boring fruit in bowls.


keep your photos safe


Still Life

Remember, a still life is a group of objects that you put together where you control the subject, background, and lighting.

Your assignment for this week is to create a still life of your own.

Bring in two photos of different still life setups: one with a lighter background, and one with a darker backdrop.

You need to group at least 3 items and light them with natural or some type of artificial light (no on-camera flash).

Bring in at least two different photos of your still life.

Try and step outside your comfort zone and be creative.

Think about what we’ve learned about composition and light.

How can you use your aperture and shutter speed to control the light and tell a story in your photographs.

You don’t need a fancy setup to get that lightbox feel.

Just one or two lights (desk lights work great!), something to diffuse the light, and a simple backdrop.

You can use any type of light bulbs, but using daylight balanced compact fluorescent bulbs will keep the light balanced.

Better yet, try to utilize natural light.

Diffused window light with something to reflect it makes great light for still life setups.

If you make a lightbox you might want to try setting it up using artificial light as well as outside in bright sunlight and take a few photos. There’s definitely a difference when using sunlight as your light source.


naked wedding cake


If You Need Inspiration…

I highly recommended looking at Food Blogs for ideas on constructing and styling your still life image.

One of my favorite accounts to follow on Instagram is Half Baked Harvest.

You can also try searching for tips on How to Photograph Food.


food photography


And Remember!

Nothing says you have to have an actual “backdrop” or “studio setup” for this assignment. Take a look at this photo I took of this cake ball and rings:

still life


Nice, right?!

But now take a look at the pulled back version of this image:


pull back shot


For this still life image I literally used a Valentine’s napkin, propped up against a vase, setup on a TV tray in my living room.

This is not a fancy setup!

But you would never know that by looking at the previous image.


Here is an Example of a Simple Lightbox Setup:

This setup is done using a clear plastic tote laying on it’s side.

There is natural (ambient) light from windows and overhead lights in the home.

In the first image with Snoopy, there is also a desk lamp being used to fill light from the top, as well as a cell phone light providing additional light from the front.


Still Life