Still Life Photography for Beginners

Sean P. Durham
5 min readOct 18, 2023

Still Life Photography for Beginners takes us into many aspects of still life photography and how we can create beautiful still lifes to sell.

In photography, intention is always important. Knowing what you want to express as an artist is part of the mind set that leads to successful still life photography outcomes.

Cooking Pot and Coffee Jug with Mandarine by Sean P. Durham. Copyright 2023
Image by Author

The very basis of good still life photography is to develop your ability to create compositions.

A good sense of design is the first step — this can be learned through constant practice.

As you get better, you will be able to distinguish between a strong and weak composition. Balance is a key factor in still life photography composition. This develops as you experiment with how you place the objects in conjunction and in juxtaposition to each other.

Image by Author Sean P. Durham

The spaces between objects have a meaning, they are referred to as negative space. Which is space that allows the viewer to breath out for a moment and contemplate what they see before moving their eyes on to the next part of the composition.

This all happens rapidly, normally we view a photograph with various movements of the eyes that cause us to repeatedly scan everything, understand, digest, look again, then find a central point in the framing and contemplate that part of the photographic still life until we feel the emotional value of the piece.

Composition in a still life photo is not only the shape and form of the objects. The colours must be either harmonious or contrasting; there must be some type of schema for the viewer to enjoy.

It’s best to study colour from the colour wheel. This allows you to develop a feeling for how colours work well together. If you intend on creating classical still life photography, then harmony is most commonly used, if you want to experiment with juxtapositions of objects and colours, then take a look at modern painters and photographers to get some good ideas how they still use the principles of colour schema to create powerful…



Sean P. Durham

Berlin Notes — Writing about the Creative Art of Street Photography. Fine Art Photography, writing, art, cats.