How I create a still life picture
Posted 06-15-2012 at 07:40 PM by Henrycrafter
There are two moods, open and closed.
How I create a still life picture.
The making of a still life is a complex process. It needs to be undertaken with thought and patience. I have a series of steps that over the years have been helpful to me in this endeavor.
Creativity takes place when the mind is open to suggestion which employs the right side of the brain.
Application takes place when the mind is closed to suggestion and open to action which employs the left side of the brain.
So in creating a still life the first thing to do is to relax and let your mind flow freely. Be like the child gazing out the window, allow your imagination to run wild. Then with your mind in an open mood you will be able to be creative.
Now that you are in open mood you can apply the following steps and create your picture.
So first, what is to be the main object of focus? In deciding this I frequently use my question series of:
What should I photograph? A vase? Flowers ? A book?
Why do I want to make a still life of this object? Is it to educate, to amuse, to mystify or maybe to record its’ very existence? Each of these centers of purpose will need its’ own type of setup.
In what environment will I create this image? Will it be on a desk? Or in a yard? Or hanging from a ceiling? Or maybe sitting on an old wagon.
What time of day will be the best for creating this art work?
Having made these decisions I can now look at things that will enhance the image without detracting from it.
As I contemplate these things I allow my imagination to run freely, never discounting out of hand any idea that may pop into my head.
What objects will I use? Will coal oil lamps accent flowers in a vase? How about a small statue alongside the vase. Look for something that will add to the photo as well as drawing the viewer’s attention to the main object of focus. I keep a list of items that complement each other and when I start to plan a still life I frequently go to these lists for mental stimulation.
What kind of background will best define the object of the shoot? A desk? A shelf? A porch? A table?
Play around with this because it will have a great deal of effect on the believability of the finished product. And believability is essential to quality work.
Without light there is nothing. How light is used is everything. The important things in light are:
- Placement: Where is the main object with respect to the light?
- Color: What is the color of the light that is on the main object?
- Color temperature: Defined in Kelvin’s, color temperature is approximately the following:
Shade = 7000kv
Cloudy, twilight, sunset = 6000kv
Tungsten = 3200kv
White fluorescent = 4000kv
Flash = 6000kv
If your camera allows you to do so I suggest manually setting color temperature for each shot.
- Angle: The angle of the light pretty much 1/2 the mood of the picture.
- Intensity: The intensity if the light sets the other half.
How the objects are arranged is of paramount interest to the dynamics of the picture. In arranging I use several methods.
1.Thirds: I divide the picture into three equal sections either vertical or horizontal.
2.Triangle: I create a triangle effect by placement of the satellite objects. Always remember that the satellite objects must call attention to the main object of focus.
3.Diagonal: I place objects diagonally across the picture can be very creative. An example would be from the upper left corner down to the main object in the lower right third of the picture.
After I have made these decisions, thought the project through and made WRITTEN notes. I am ready to proceed.
So then I assemble all the parts and begin. I arrange the items, usually several ways, I look at them through my composing card ( a 5x7 card with a 4x5 cutout window). I evaluate and move on.
I will try several arrangements, lightings, and backgrounds. Sometimes I will shoot several different setups.
Then when I have put together everything close to my envisionment I check everything again making any last minute adjustments.
Then and only then do I make the image that will ultimately be the finished product.
Copyright 2012 R. Henry Larson (all rights reserved)
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Posted 06-16-2012 at 08:11 PM by _Provo_
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