Lighting is one of the most important elements of a good still life, whether it is photographed or painted. For professionals like Charles Nucci, it cannot be stressed enough how important this is, and how often people forget about it. Time and time again, amateur photographers position their subject against a beautiful backdrop, set the perfect angle, and still find their picture didn’t come out the way they planned it, because they hadn’t considered lighting.
Lighting in Composition
There are many different types of photography, and all of them have their own lighting issues. For instance:
- With landscape photography, you have a small window of time in which the natural light is just perfect for your picture.
- With portrait photography, you can do anything you like with lighting, but you have to consider that your subject may get tired and doesn’t want to be blinded by the light.
- With still life photography, you can do what you want, for however long you want.
When looking at this, it quickly becomes clear that still life photography is a fantastic form of art. You can literally wake up at 2am and start shooting, since you are in control of the lighting. All you have to do is set things up the way you like and go from there.
One of the coolest things is that you don’t need studio lights either, which means still life photography is the perfect solution for amateur photographers who don’t have the money to purchase expensive lights. All you need is a lamp, preferably with a bare bulb (get a few of different wattages for cool effects), some reflectors (a pocket mirror will do), and some white cards (an A4 sheet of paper). With a minimal investment, you can create fantastic effects while at the same time learning a lot about lighting effects as well. The added benefit of this is that you can use what you have learned in other forms of photography as well.
You must understand just how important lighting actually is. This is why, for portrait photography, you have six set setups for lighting, each of which is designed to accent your subject’s good features and minimize their flaws. With landscapes, you must understand light directionality, as well as its color. With still life photography, you automatically start to learn about all of these things, and they will become second nature!
For people like Charles Nucci, light is perhaps even more important than the subject or its composition. This is because light can create shadows, unusual effects, reflections, and more. You don’t need to know what all those effects are called, so long as you experiment with them and recognize what they do. Learning to take a perfect still life shot is all about experimenting and, since you are not tied by your subject’s tiredness or the natural light of the world, you can experiment as much as you like. And each experiment is a lesson to be learned.