3 Common Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Still Life Images

Man Taking Picture Of A Flower

Professional photographer and senior graphic designer Rika Guite points out the most common mistakes people make taking still life shots.

In his article over at Digital Photography School Rika also gives you great tips on how you can improve your images so that they become more interesting to your viewers.

A Distracting Background

Placing your subject on a backdrop full of distractions is another potential mistake in still life photographs. Your product being the central theme, deserves all the attention. Therefore, you need to ensure that the background is free from all such distractions. By this, I mean anything that shifts your attention from the main product to the backdrop behind it. For example: capturing a vase of flowers in a background of a home furniture shot.


Choose a wall that’s simple, and painted with a plain color. If your wall is not plain, use a piece of white chart paper to cover the wall, so that it doesn’t interfere with your main subject. One more tip, if you’re shooting your product over a table top, again make sure that the table is neatly covered with a white piece of cloth or paper. The main idea is to focus as much attention on your product as possible.

Improper Framing

Framing your shot helps focus and arrest the attention of the viewers on your main subject. While framing the shot, determine whether the subject fills the frame in a way that draws the required attention. Utilize the rule of thirds, move around and experiment with different possible angles. You’ll definitely come up with that perfect shot.

Wrong Choice of Lens

Still life photography is all about creating depth, and bringing out the subject in a way that directly interacts with the viewer. How will you achieve this level of focus? By utilizing the shallow depth of field.

This works great with subjects with high levels of detail such as: flowers, leaves, and fruits. Under this kind of a setup, you will want to come closer to your subject, set the camera to AV mode (Aperture Priority), and keep the focal length as long as possible. A telephoto lens is your best bet for this kind of a setup, because the longer focal length compresses perspective, helping your subject stand out more.

This doesn’t mean that only telephoto lenses work for still life photography. If you wish to bring out, and focus on the delicate details of your subject, go ahead and shoot with a telephoto lens. On the flip side, if you wish to capture everything on your table top setup, you would be fine with a either a standard 50mm lens or a wide angle.

Read the full article with even more tips over at Digital Photography School.

Source: Digital Photography School

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