Sunday, July 18, 2010

Photography: The Art of Everyday Objects

Shooting Still Life Photos

You don’t need to be a professional photographer with a high-end camera to create great art for your home.You just need to see the possibilities in the everyday.

One of my favorite ways to turn photography into art is by creating still-life vignettes of my favorite things. These black and white photos are a great example. The pair grace my newly remodeled 1940s Hollywood-inspired bathroom. The photos feature a Larkin's powder jar that belonged to my great-grandma and an antique cut-glass hand-held mirror in one, and a perfume bottle and my mom's butterfly pearl necklace in the other.

Behind the Scenes of a Photo Shoot

I’d love to say that I saw this exact shot in my head from the beginning; I didn’t. All I knew was that I had a lot of “pretty stuff” that fit the bathroom’s theme. I gathered up the stuff, things like perfume bottles and jewelry, and headed outside with them. I find I have better success in natural light when I don’t need my flash.

I created a backdrop using a velvet wrap draped over some boards. Then I started arranging items and shooting. I took LOTS of photos. Close ups using the “macro” stetting. High angles. Low angles. I added items. I took items away. Then I headed inside and started cropping.

To be honest the original photos weren’t all that exciting. The colors of the different items were competing with each other, and the compositions were kind of busy. To deal with the composition problems, I started experimenting with cropping to bring out a focal point. Then I converted the images to black and white.

Try It Yourself

To start, think about the room where you want to add a photograph. Think about the room’s purpose, its mood, and its color scheme.

Gather objects that coordinate with the room. Some of those objects may already be in the room. Others may family heirlooms tucked away in the attic. Think broadly. Fruits, vegetables, buttons, fabric, anything can become your subject matter.

At this point, don’t get too stressed about what the final image will look like. Just start grabbing things. As you start to arrange the pieces, you’ll see what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes a single item is much more powerful than a grouping. Play with that idea as well.

If you choose items that share a common color scheme, you can create a photo that evokes the mood of that color. Unfortunately, sometimes when you put things together, the colors clash. That’s where converting photos to black and white can be a life saver.

Black and white photography doesn’t need to be reserved for vintage looks. It is can take on a very modern look in the right context.


Here are a couple of ideas that you might want to try.

Nursery: black and white photography of toys or stuffed animals

Kitchen: heirloom dishes, your favorite wine bottle coupled with wine glasses and grapes, a cake plate with your latest creation on it

Bathroom: sensuous lipstick shots, perfume bottles, rubber ducky floating in bubbles

Bedroom: slippers, lingerie, a nightcap on the bedside table

Inspiration Gallery

I asked some of my favorite amateur photographers to share their still-life photos in an inspiration gallery that I just created. The gallery is filled with clever examples of still-life photos that will get your creative juices flowing: mouthwatering food, cat-munched toilet paper rolls, sports equipment.

The Creative Sprinkle Inspiration Gallery is open for you gain inspiration, or you can add your own photos to inspire others.

What still life photos have you incorporated into your home?


  1. I don't have any still-life photos in my home, but I do have many that I have taken myself - mostly travelling.

  2. I have many photos that I have taken from vacations and other wanderings.What a great idea- I will be doing this (lol, another project added on to the list).

  3. Fabulous idea! Those photos are just so elegant. Am going to "steal" this idea for my own home...thanks!!

  4. @Being Tazim and Changing Woman: Travel photos will work great.

    @Cheryl: "Steal" away. That's why I share.

    I'd love if you guys post your photos in the flickr pool.


Ooh,a comment! How delightful.


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