Still Life Photography: Tutorial

When I first started learning photography it could be a challenge to find the right angle that portrayed the object at its best while omitting the distracting background.  If it was food, the counter or table was chosen, but beware if you don't have a camera that allows you a large aperture to blur the backdrop.  A large aperture setting creates a beautifully blurred background while keeping your subject sharply in focus.  To keep it straight, just remember this: the larger the number, the larger the focus.  The smaller the number, the smaller the focus.

For my doll photo shoot I chose a well lit room and placed a tall dining room chair with its back to the window.  I then grabbed a few maxi skirts from my closet and draped those over the back and seat of the chair, rumpling them just a bit so the folds appeared natural.  I then placed a small object under the skirt to prop up the dolls head.  I chose many different angles to achieve different perspectives:

I faced the window for this shot, but pointed downward so I didn't shoot straight into the light.  The focus is streamlined from right to left.

I focused solely on the knit booties for this shot, which resulted in a smooth blur on the rest of the body and dress.

This one focused solely on the head.

Remember to:

1. Always set up your shoot in a well lit room.
2. Choose a background that compliments your subject and isn't too busy.
3. Prop up or add relevant objects to make your subject appear settled and in its natural environment.
4. Choose a large aperture (small number) if possible in order to achieve a beautifully blurred background, making your subject stand out.
5. Shoot away from the light- not into it, and angle your camera for the best possible shot.
6. Best of all- have fun, be unique and get some fabulous shots!

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  1. Wow, these are great! I SO regret not learning about photography when I was younger (and single!). As a busy mama, I don't have time to devote to learning new "talents (such as photography), and I would LOVE to be able to take beautiful pictures of my children!

    Thanks for sharing these tips.

  2. Thanks for the tips, I sure could use them! I am truly photographically impaired! Appreciate your advice :)

  3. Great tips.. Love this post.. Thanks so much for sharing..


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