WHAT GEAR DO YOU NEED FOR STILL LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY?
Sadly, still life photography is an extremely gear hungry discipline. Studios can easily be filled with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of kit. This may make you think that producing beautiful still life images is out of your reach. Thankfully, you’d be mistaken.
The gear you’ll require will always be determined by the photographs you want to produce. The majority of the time, you won’t need large amounts of very expensive equipment. In fact, on many occasions I’ll produce images using a very small amount of equipment. A good example of this was when I recently challenged myself to produce an advertising quality image of a watch using only one light, find the video here.
Here it is. Of all the images created for watch brand @tralovie, this is my favourite. It's a simple yet striking image which plays to the characteristics of the brand and watch. Check out my profile for all the BTS shots. ⠀ ⠀ Find more watches here – @tralovie⠀ ⠀ #watch #watches #watchesofinstagram #watches #productphotographerlondon #luxurystilllifephotographer #advertisingphotographer #luxurystilllifephotographer #studiophotography #commercialphotographer #advertisingphotography #productphotographer #productphotography #stilllifephotographer #rggspotlight
WHEN DO YOU NEED THE BEST?
There are occasions when you’ll be doing specialist types of photography which necessitate the use of some specialist equipment. For example, if you need lights with a fast flash duration and recycle time for liquid photography, or you need a very high-resolution camera to produce a huge image which is viewed very close. Mercifully, those scenarios are relatively rare and as such you can normally get away with using less expensive equipment, which would not be suitable for those scenarios.
In the following video, I discuss the best place for still life photographers to invest their money. Given that there is such a vast array of items we need to buy I felt this topic would be useful for those pondering new purchases. Yes, that new lens or camera may seem like the best thing you could ever buy, but is it?
WHERE SHOULD STILL LIFE PHOTOGRAPHERS INVEST THEIR MONEY?
As I mentioned in the video, I strongly believe that lighting and grip equipment is the best place for you to spend your money. If I were to walk into a studio and be handed a camera from ten years ago and a cheap 50mm lens, I could easily create any image so long as they had a good selection of lighting and grip equipment.
One area that I didn’t get time to chat about in the video, is all the other bits and pieces that go along with this gear. The great thing about these items is that they’re usually pretty cheap, here are some of my favourites:
Foam board – white and black
Card- white, black, grey, gold, silver, glossy, matte (all sorts)
A Clamps (you can find some very cheap ones in DIY shops)
The list can go on and on but the important thing to note is that all of the items can assist you in modifying light. The ability to modify light is the most powerful thing a Still Life Photographer has.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you gear doesn’t matter. I simply don’t believe that. It’s a phrase you’ve probably heard repeated online time and time again. I prefer to say that we need the right tool for the right job. The most important tool that any photographer can have is skill. It’s this which will allow you to shoot with minimal gear, or to walk into any studio and still produce amazing images. You can definitely get away with using very little equipment, and as you’re building your still life kit that’s exactly what you’ll need to do, but don’t forget the importance of having the right knowledge and tools.