Sunday, August 3, 2014

Still Life Photographs Are Difficult

Or more appropriately “Why I Would Never Make It as A Commercial Photographer”

Debi is doing an internet course which has weekly assignments. This week was a still life of a flower/flowers to be used as an advertisement in a magazine. Okay, that sounds simple. She invited me over to play with some of the props she borrowed from her friend Tom. That sounded like fun.

We shot lots of photographs and many of them looked good on the LCD. However the more we shot—well at least in my case—the worse they got. The last set up I didn’t get a single photograph that I would show.

The problem was that there were ‘requirements’ set by the assignment. Limited to a 20”x20” area dictated the size of the elements but the worst of all was that each photograph had to have at least five ‘objects.’ I can work with one, or two or three. Above that and I am lost. It had to be vertical—assuming it would be used as an advertisement in a magazine. I could do horizontal with five objects, but vertical? Not so good. The only rule I liked was that the flower did not have to be the main element in the photograph.
We eventually got out lights, but almost all were done by window light—it was required that the lighting be soft. Not having the self-discipline to use a tripod these are all handheld and that determined the fate of many. And, as usual, I often picked my compositions from within the set up instead of photographing the arrangement. It was interesting and I guess it was fun, but it was not easy.

I tried sharp. I tried soft—warm/cool, glamour glow/grunge, plain backgrounds/patterned backgrounds, white backgrounds/black background, natural color/manipulated color. I tried everything except leaving room to roam and I have no idea which ones are even close to suitable—or if any of them work. Please, never ask me to shoot five objects in the same image again. Of course, it wasn’t my assignment so I did slip in a few that were shy of five. 



  1. I like them all but the last one is lovely.Might even look good in the Damn Yankee corner.mmm?

  2. I cannot begin to imagine how much work this was - definitely not for me! But I will say that 3, 4 and 5 are gorgeous!! 7 is also an awesome look but I would have placed the flower lower (too much stem showing). Tell Debbie if she can ever get hold of some of the old "Victoria"magazines, she would be in love! It has been out of print for quite a fewf years and I'm sad to say I gave away at least 2 dozen when I moved. I recently discovered a new magazine "Victoria" Bliss (same publisher?) but photography not nearly as good.