Expert advice How to shoot a Baroque-influenced still life
A still life shoot is a perfect opportunity to use your camera in full manual mode, as you can review each shot and try different settings. We used a medium aperture (around f/8), a low ISO and then dialled in the required shutter speed from the camera’s spot metering.
Taking full control of the lighting is key to getting the right look. Create a blacked-out room or wait until after dark to shoot. Use a handheld lamp, with its light softened by kitchen paper.
With just a single bulb as a light source, and a desire to keep the quality high by using a low ISO setting, you will need to shoot at a shutter speed that’s too low to handhold your camera. A tripod is a vital bit of kit for still life photography, so set up your camera in position.
Use a base such as a dining table for your still life scene, building up different layers with empty boxes. Drape an old velvet curtain over the boxes and the table for a hint of decadence and then raid the cupboards for suitable plates and platters to hold the fruit and veg that you’ve bought. With the camera securely clamped to a tripod, use Live View to compose the shot and check your focus.
Holding the light below the subject for an up-lighting effect will give the best look, and by using your camera’s self-timer you will avoid any blur caused by vibrations from pressing the shutter.