With the term still life, most people generally think of drawings and paintings. In a similar fashion, scenes of inanimate objects are also often used in photography. As you might expect, a still life photographer is responsible for gathering the items, creating a setting for them, arranging them together, and also crafting a lighting setup that conveys the proper mood they want to capture. From there, copious amounts of photos are taken from varying angles and with different settings, all of which will be analyzed with the utmost attention to detail later on. Still life photography is widely practised by traditional and digital photographers alike.
Of course, digital photography offers more immediate variation to a still life photographer. For instance, they can easily change different settings that might help them get unique lighting and overall color options right within the camera itself. Before the advent of digital photos, such practices took much more time since it had to be done manually. Being able to easily store and then access literally hundreds and hundreds of photos is also one of the major positives to working digitally for photographers across the board, but still life photographers in particular enjoy the opportunity to accomplish their work quickly.
Even so, just as with motion picture work, there are many that prefer shooting on film with a wide array of different lenses and then going through the process of developing the film in a dark room. There’s a certain warmth to actual film that really helps bring out the subjects in still life photos, even if the photographer has chosen to shoot in black and white. Although it is rapidly improving, especially with DSLR cameras, there’s always a somewhat flatter appearance to most digital photos.
Of course, still life photography has many different applications. There’s a long standing tradition of presenting the photos as art pieces in and of themselves, just as with the illustrated and painted still life counterparts that many people have become accustomed to seeing throughout their lives. There’s plenty of commercial work available when it comes to still life photography as well however.
For example, photographers with a strong background of working with still life shoots are often chosen to capture the photos for major product reveals. If a company like Apple is about to unveil a new series of smart phones, promotional material showcasing each of the models arranged together is a prerequisite for the obligatory marketing campaign. Those kind of photos are precisely what still life photographers often set out to create, albeit with a more commercially slanted purpose.
While it isn’t the most widely talked about art form, still life photography is undoubtedly ubiquitous and a widespread part of our modern culture. Most people come across examples of it every single day, especially in print media, advertising, and online shopping sites. From traditional arrangements of household belongings to major product reveals, there’s certainly no shortage of examples of this style of photography in the world.