Still life photography is a great way to flex your creativity and practice your photography indoors. You can make some amazing photographs using just a couple of inanimate objects – but if you are stuck for inspiration, this is the place to be.
Here, we have gathered some of the most creative ideas for still life object photography. Check them out in the list below and hopefully, you will find the spark of inspiration you need for a productive photography session. Good luck!
1. Ditch The White Background
Lots of traditional objects and still life photography (see also: Still Life Object Photography Techniques For Beginners)feature plain white backgrounds. This is so the objects stand out more and are the clear main subject of the frame – but in some cases, this can make the overall photograph appear boring.
You don’t have to stick to a white background in your still life photography. Try using colors, fabrics, or scenery instead. This can enhance your photography, making it more vibrant and appealing.
You also don’t need to build the background yourself. Some perfect still life photography subjects are found, not built – and these come with amazing backgrounds that should be incorporated into your photography!
2. Build A Character
A great method to create interesting still life photography is to build a character in your mind and photograph objects that are important to them.
This will allow you to think of interesting objects to incorporate into the frame and different ways to position the subjects all in the frame. So, if you are ever stuck for inspiration, think of a character and build a still life image that reflects them.
This can lead to some creative combinations of items, colors, and more. Not only that but viewers will appraise the photograph for longer, looking for more details and clues so they can learn more about what the photograph is showing them about your character.
3. Tell A Story
In a similar vein to using your still life photography to build a character, use it to tell a story. Arranging certain objects in particular ways can allow viewers to fill in the gaps and make a narrative in their minds.
Deciding what story you want to tell will help you find the right objects and arrange them in the best way to reflect that story. Here are some examples to help you get started:
- A typewriter surrounded by scrunched-up paper.
- A suitcase filled with clothes.
- A kitchen counter covered with flour, broken eggs, and utensils.
- Lots of trash and litter burying a bed of flowers.
This kind of still life photography can be very thought-provoking and viewers can take their time taking in each and every detail, looking for another clue in the frame to help them learn more about the story it tells.
Splashes of liquid are a great way to make your still life objects more dynamic and alive. However, they can be difficult to capture – so this method not only creates more visually appealing photographs but tests your photography skills too!
To capture the splash, you will need to master freeze motion with your camera. This involves flashing or strobing lights, and matching your shutter speed to the flash duration.
You will also need to use a lens with a long focal length – and an assistant to drop the liquid to make the splashes!
Shooting in the dark is definitely a new experience for a lot of photographers but it’s a great way to liven up your photography sessions and try something new and fun. Plus, you will get some amazing still-life images out of it!
5. Add Distortion
Distortion is something you usually associate with photo editing but actually, you can create distortion in your still life photography without the need for editing.
This method involves using water to change the way you view the objects in your still life photography. Place some transparent drinking glasses or vases around your objects, fill them with water, and capture how the water distorts the object(see also: The Art Of Capturing Still-Life Objects).
The water effect can create some very interesting viewpoints and distortions. You can also mix things up using different liquids (like soda) instead of water, filling different glasses to different levels, and more.
6. Add Contrast
Contrast can work in still life in lots of different ways – lighting shadow, shapes, texture, and even simple objects.
If you ever feel underwhelmed by your created still life and feel like it’s not interesting enough, then add something that contrasts against the objects to the scene. For example:
- Do you have a row of sneakers? Add a pair of high-heels to the middle of the row.
- If your still life subjects include a lot of rustic tools, add a child’s toy tool to the frame.
- If the color palette is cool and muted, add something bright and warm.
Adding contrast creates a fun vibe to your photography and gives it some spontaneity. This can make it more eye-catching and interesting.
7. Make Patterns
Patterns can be just as visually appealing as contrast and making patterns out of the mundane or unusual can create some really interesting pieces of photographic art. They’re also very easy to make yourself or find out in the world.
From the veins of leaves to the bricks in a garden wall, patterns make up a lot of our natural and constructed world. So, they’re easy to find, create, and capture with your camera.
Whether you create them or find them in natural still life, they can create some visually effective photography that is mesmerizing and hypnotic!
8. Try A Different Angle
Sometimes, all you need to do is try looking at your still life photography from a different angle – literally. This idea involves moving around your frame’s subject and seeing how changing the perspective of your camera can create a totally different picture.
For example, how different would a photograph of a collection of objects look if you switched to a bird’s eye view? By changing the position of your camera, you can capture different elements of still life that would go unseen in other photographs.
9. Zoom In
There are some incredibly interesting details to be found on objects and items. If you switch to a macro lens on your camera while shooting, you can capture some stunning high-quality close-ups of patterns and details on the objects.
These features are what make mundane objects more visually appealing so make them the highlight of your photography!
10. Add Depth
Another way to completely change the look of an object is to add depth. Changing the aperture value on your camera can widen the frame and create a shallow depth of field.
By blurring the foreground and background, you create a sense of space in your photograph – and this can completely change the way we view an object.
In fact, in some instances, it can be tricky to recognize what object you are even photographing! This makes the photograph more thought-provoking and challenging to view!
And that’s it! Those were some amazing, creative ideas for improving your still life object photography (see also: Creative Ideas For Flower Photography).
From finding a new perspective to shaking up the subjects of your still life photography, there are lots of ways you can create thought-provoking and creative pieces of photographic art.
Add contrast, depth, character – there are many things you can try to completely change your still life object photography! We hope this guide has helped you find the inspiration you needed! Good luck!
Frequently Asked Questions
The great thing about still life photography is that it takes mundane, everyday objects and turns them into interesting pieces of art. As a result, you can use pretty much any item and object in your still life photography. Here are a few examples to consider:
Flowers – Whether they are fake or real, flowers are often used in still life photography due to their amazing colors.
Food – Another popular choice is food. Food comes in many shapes and sizes featuring bright colors and some really interesting patterns.
Tools – Things like watering cans, trowels, and saws can rust over time. These can create some great colorful, rustic still life photography.
Cooking Utensils – In a similar vein to food, a lot of still life photography uses utensils like wooden spoons, forks and knives, spatulas, rolling pins, and more.
Art Supplies – Paint brushes, paints, chalks, and more add lots of great color and character to still life photography.
Still life photography is often divided into two categories – found and created. Found still life photography is defined as photographing an already existing object or scene.
Basically, you came across the object or scene and captured it with your camera. Created still life photography is the opposite. It’s when you set up a scene or place objects in a certain arrangement, and then capture the image with your camera.
There are lots of great ways to make both types of still life photography more interesting and creative. Check out the guide above for some tips and tricks!