Still Life Photography and Using Light


Still life photography does not typically deal with object matters that can move and mess up the planned setting. General subjects of this art format can typically contain fruit in a bowl, flowers but it can indeed be any object. Even though it may seem easy to take a still life photograph, it is in reality more complicated than you might think.

Clementine Still Life

Our still life photographers often tell us their biggest challenge is lighting the scene and objects within it. The use of light for still life dictates the mood, interest and dynamism within a photograph so its important to get this right. Quality, simple backdrops help ensure the focus of the image remains without distraction.

Keeping the contrast in an image is always vital.  The light needs to vary between lights with a good ratio. The primary light should be strongest, and the second light should simply provide infill. Light direction will help bring out the texture and create variation between shadows and highlights plus dimension and depth to your still life imagery.

Traditional Coffee Background.

Angles are also an important decision when taking still life photography. Firstly the position of the lights relative to the subject and secondly the position to the camera. As well as the side light the angle of your camera shot also provides dimension so changing the position of theses angles can provide completely different dimensions and its great to experiment.

Light also provides shape. The most dynamic photographs  are those that really portray the three dimensional nature of the subject. Again your side light has important role to play where the shape can be emphasised when the highlights run along the edges of the subject in question, adding that 3rd dimension.


Still life photography is a fantastic form of art, one in which the photographers are required to be able to shape their art work with an enhanced awareness of lighting, tied with compositional abilities. Photographers make the pictures rather than just taking the pictures. Being knowledgeable as to where to look for propping and surfaces is also a vital skillset.

This style of photography can be turned into magnificent works of canvas art.  Putting  still life photos on canvas is a creative way to enhance any room in your home or office.


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