For our activity this week we set up a light box and learned how to take still life photos of things that were laying around.

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

This is a good skill to know how to do if you sell online or are an artist that wants to have photos your work for websites, brochures, etc.


keep your photos safe


Still Life

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

Your assignment for this week is to create a still life of your own and bring in two photos of different still life setups or the same setup with different lighting.

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

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

Try and step outside your comfort zone and be creative.

Look at other still life photos and come up with something that is interesting.

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 desk lamps, something to diffuse the light and a backdrop.

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


naked wedding cake


Better yet, use 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.


Here are a couple of sites with instructions on making light boxes:

  • A box made with a PVC pipe frame.
  • A box made with a cardboard box.


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

Or 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.


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