Still Life Photography Revealing the secret ! Build your home studio

Still Life Photography Revealing the secret ! Build your home studio


Just Art

Still Life Photography

Revealing the secret !

Build your home studio

January 2008 ,, 3rd issue




- Revealing the secret

of stunning still

life photography.

- Home made lighting

tools and how to use

it to get the pro

look lighting.



- Cleaning photos and

correcting lighting

and colors.

- converting colors

and chose the best

colors for your

still life shot &

give it the Look.


Photographed by

Jamal Alayoubi

1st winner in the open

section in RC gallery

KSC Kuwait

- Lighting essential

tools for still life


- A snake that would

help you taking the

best shots.

- Vedio lighting is a

very useful tool.

January 2008 3rd issue


Think of a topic

then look for the

objects then take the



Tip of the month:

If you know someone

with the stylish

tuch , let him/her

organise your still

life sobject to get

the best photos.


Finding the ideas for still life photography is not easy like taking the photo, you’ll have to think of the topic and

to find the subjects then organize it correctly then adding the light and take the photo from the correct angle.

Still life photography is one of the hardest

styles of photography where you’ll have to have

the artistic imagination and organize subjects on

your mind to have an imaginable look at the

photo in your ming, add to this that you’ll have

to imagine the lighting on the subject then to

work on the photo with your camera.

Still life photography is all about still

objects you can find in every home, you can

make it look boring and you can make it looks

interesting with a couple of touches with lighting

or adding some other objects to the photo.

Sometimes people refers still life

photography to surrealism art where the photo

looks vague or have many meanings or it will be

just a texture like what we call in photography

abstract or pattern , artistic touches is an

essential rule for still life photography because

still life is all about passion.

I call the photo above “the virgin” I used

here a black background and a flower and a pair

of jeans many people think that this photo have

a bad sexual meaning ! but what I meant here is

the woman chastity , saintliness and honor ,

what I’m saying here that you draw the painting

and you only know the reason behind it , people

might think oppositely but they’ll understand

when you tell the story, you can also make it an

understandable still life photo with less

meanings like shooting cups or any other

objects like the photo in the right I uses some

water drops to draw a cloud with rain drops an a

unique way, you can think in the subject and

what to use and you’ll get the best shots.


Use any available subject that

you can find in your home to get

the shoot you are looking for.




ıIıl EiSsa lıIı


Top Photo Contest

Thanks for participating in the

competition, most of the entries were

more than great and congratulations

for the winners and good luck for the

rest in the next issue.

Due to lack of the original size of

the participated images we changed

the cover page contest to top photo

contest, and to participate in the

next issue please visit our flick





The Definition of Still Life

Photography from the net.

Still life photography is the depiction of

inanimate subject matter, most typically a

small grouping of commonplace objects

that are either human-made or "natural."

Still life photography, more so than other

types of photography, such as landscape or

portraiture, gives the photographer more

leeway in the arrangement of design

elements within a composition.

Still life photography is a demanding art,

one in which the photographers are

expected to be able to form their work with

a highly refined sense of lighting, coupled

with superb compositional skills. The still

life photographer makes pictures rather

than takes them. Knowing where to look for

propping and surfaces also a valuable skill.

In addition to knowing the fundamentals

of photography, successful still life

photographers should be intimately familiar

with still life techniques. They must have

tremendous studio-lighting skills, the ability

to use large-format view cameras, have a

strong visual technique, and have a

distinctive stylistic approach.

Still life is one of the hardest of

photographic genres to define. Portraits,

nudes, architecture, lingerie, even special

effects all raise certain expectations; but

still life is another matter. It ranges from

advertising shots to the most personal of

work; from pictures that can take days to

assemble in the studio, to those that are

"found" compositions and are

photographed by available light in a few

moments; from subjects no bigger than the

palm of your hand to those which fill a


Still Life, as with so much of

photography, has its roots firmly embedded

in the romanticism of traditional painting

techniques. Still life usually seeks to

illustrate the natural world and to present

something more than a simple record of the

scene. When a painter works, the resulting

picture will reflect what's has been in the

artist's mind - predilections, frustrations,

enjoyments and moods etc. This applies to

the photographer as artist too - so our

pictures represent something within us,

making each unique.

During the 17th century a branch of

Dutch painting created an almost specialist

form of the still life and raised it to the state

of high/fine art. Often the scenes from

these Dutch masters show tables fairly

creaking with layers of food, brimming

chalices of wine, sprawling game with fine

cloths and brocades adorning the frame.

They're rich in chiaroscuro, texture, sombre

color, sparkling highlights and an infinity of

shadows. Often pictures such as these

were aimed at a market of wealthy, likely

buyers, who wished for scenes to decorate

dining rooms of fine houses.

Still life work provides a very quick and

enjoyable learning path to the skills of

composing, lighting effectively, being

creative, problem solving, improvising,

being creative and working in a disciplined

manner and the treatment of the subject

can range from the coldly clinical to deeply

personal with concerned involvement.

Often the narrative approach is adopted.

Here there is the feeling of a story line, a

sense that a moment in time has been

recorded and that the scene has a history

and a future beyond the moment of


Remember, still life can be found and

created anywhere. The subject matter may

be constructed over several hours or

simply be "objet trouvé". Whatever it is,

keep your senses tuned and use your

imagination to the full.




Think of the

best idea

Photos in this page taken by Fred Hansen


my home made studio:

- first I find the best

room in the home with

the lowest lighting


- I bought a good useful

light tent.

- I made some usable

lighting tools to use

with my speed light


- now I can shoot still

life whenever I want at

the rest of my home.

Still life Home Studio.

Still life requires a small space in any

corner of your home , you’ll be needing a

table and some tools to create your working

space and you can even create your lighting

tools to use with your still life shots.

First you’ll have to chose the darkest

room in your home to start building your

small studio, and after finding the best room

you’ll be needing some essential tools that

you cant just construct like a good tripod and

some speed lights, I have two SB-800 Nikon

Speed-lights and a remote commander on

top of the camera and I even use office

lamps to give some great lighting , you can

find great cheap usable lamps at IKEA that

gives a great lighting with the same white

balance of a speed light that you can use if

you want to add some motion to the shot,

you will need a light tent to get the best

lighting and to eliminate as much reflections

as you can when you are shooting cups or

any other reflect subjects , you can construct

your own light tent with less than 5 dollars by

using some papers and a carton box just to

use it as a light tent , then you’ll need the

Home Studio


backgrounds where can use colored cloth or

any material you like “wood, color paper,

aluminum foil ...etc” to give the best look to

your photos , you can also bring some

materials from the streets like stones or any

other materials just to make your photo looks


In the photo below you can see my

home studio where I was shooting an apple

inside of my light tent with the use of two

SB-800 nikon speed lights with a home made

soft-box and a home made snoot and for the

background I used a black cloth and for the

ground I used a book with a structured black

cover to give an artistic touch.

Now you know how easy it is to create

your own working space and it’s all about

ideas and creativity just find the place and

start working and shooting what ever

interests you easily at the rest of your own


This is a great website “Blog” for home

made lighting tools you can learn from:

Fred Hansen

A great Still life photographer with an

amazing lighting touches and stunning


Fred Hansen has, for 30 years,

photographed for the best and

brightest advertising agencies,

designers and corporations. His

clients are varied and range

throughout Ohio and South Florida.

Many of these clients have won highly

acclaimed awards through the use of

his photography.

Fred has built a considerable

reputation for his varied lighting

abilities. Professionally detailed, with

great compositions and finishing the

assignments in a timely fashion.

Fred has embraced the digital

revolution for the past ten years and

also has considerable Adobe

Photoshop and computer skills to

make the photographs shine.



Revealing the secret of the flying objects .

When I won the first prize in the place a double face docking tape on

open section in kuwait science club

RC gallery with the photo in the

upper left corner many people asks

me if it was designed with


Now I will let you know that I

used photoshop only to correct

colors and contrast and to give the

photo the best final look.

the tools you’ll be needing for

this tricks are some barbeque sticks will notice to adjust the sticks so it

and a corks board and a blurry

printed photo as the background

and double face docking tape or

you can use glue.

first I took an out of focus

blurred photo of my home pharmacy diagram on the top and the lighting

and printed it on matt paper and

stick it on a corks board then I

insert the barbeque sticks on the

photo towards the camera lens and



the tip of the barbeque sticks and

place the objects you want to

levitate you cane use more than one

sticks on heavy objects , then look

in the viewfinder of the camera and

adjust the sticks so you see only the

object covering the stick so it would

look levitated and floating in the air

and take the shoot.

It’s not an easy job to do as you

wont appear in the image and just

to let you know that it took me two

days just to adjust the objects and

to get the best lighting to eliminate

the sticks shadows, you can see the

diagram on the right.

Good Luck ,,,


Editing still life shots with photoshop,,

You shouldn’t adjust or edit still life

shots with photoshop , because when you

take a still life shot you’ll have all the time in

the world to setup your lighting and camera

adjustments before taking the shot so you

should have the best photo possible from

your camera.

But what if you already have a shot and

you find out that there is some dust in the

photo or you don’t like the colors or the

shadows !

If it’s not possible to take the photo

again photoshop can help you to get the

best shot you are looking for.

we’ll work on this photo.

This is a raw shot of our object we need

to adjust, the background doesn't look

blurred and there is some unwanted parts

we need to remove and we want to change

the color of the liquid and give some artistic

look the the shot.

First we’ll work on cleaning the

unwanted objects with the healing brush tool

Go to an empty place on the photo

press (Alt) and click with the mouse then go

to the dust or the unwanted dot and click it

and it will be removed , but not that you

wont be able to remove dust if it has a

structured background.

and after cleaning the shot we’ll have to

work with the background to make it look

soft and blurred as we desire.

Go to filters and chose Gaussian Blur.

blur the image until you get the best

desired blurred background.

After blurring the image now you’ll need

to bring back the sharpness to the main

subject by choosing History brush tool.

and make the brush as soft as possible.

Now you’ll have to go to history steps

and mark the step before adding the blur.

now pain over the objects you want to

show in your image you can also use the

dodge tool if you are using a white

background to make it even whiter,


this is our image now with a little crop


Now after getting a clear nicer shot we

thought of changing the liquid color from

blue to green by choosing replace color.

click the blue on the image.

Move the hue button until you see the

desired color then click ok .

Now we want to add an artistic dark

corners by making a selection circle then

invert selection and use 200 feather

selection and press Ctrl+j to make a new

layer of the selection then use level to darken

the selection.

And that’s the final

look of our photo

good Luck with

your work.

JA-Photo flickr group members

gallery (Still life)

photographer name with a link to his/her

flickr page with my comment with each

photo ...

Яeema >>

Nice warm shot and it could be a nice theme

of the new year 2008 with the yellowish tones

giving a warmth to the photo with the feeling of a

candle light , I would use a smaller F number to

enlarge the lights in the background.

and the reflection completes

the shot with the great

emptiness in the right making a

great eye rest aria and what

makes it unique is the japanese

words on the ball.

FM Photography McClamp

A great useful tool for still life photography

that I use a lot in my home studio to hold stuff for

me like a reflector or the lighting unit and it can

carry a useful weight and itʼs really flexible , you

can even use it when you shoot macro to hold

some branches for you in the garden to give you

the ability to shoot flowers even wen itʼs a windy


Video Lighting >>

Video lighting is a really useful tool

while shooting still life photography when

you want to add some motion to your

photos that a speed-light unit cant

provide , and it even gives you a bright

lighting with a great soft shadows , itʼs an

essential tool for food photography , you

can find it at any photography store.



This page is not for


advertisements, this is

just tips and an advice

to let you know the best

tools to get to have the

best photo you can with

the greatest simple tools

you can find in the




First I like to thank you

for reading my magazine,

I’m Jamal Alayoubi from

Kuwait and a photographer

since 1999 and a pro

photographer since 2006 I

learned and red about

photography from the net

and from some great

books but the best school

is when I shoot some

frames with the great

friends I have in Kuwait

Science club, I have wrote

some lessons in some

photography forums in

arabic and english and

helped a lot of people to

understand the art of

photography just the way I

learned photography from

some great photographers.

I started JA-Magazine

to collect my lessons in

one nice unique place to

help photographers in their

artistic mission and I write

here in english to be sure

that it’s understandable for

the whole world , I’m not a

great english writer and I

know that this magazine is

full of mistakes but I’m

100% sure that what I’m

writing here is

understandable so I’m

doing my best here to

make this magazine


The idea of giving

each issue a main topic is

to have a great collection

of every style of

Photographed By Faisal Albisher

photography after a nice

number of issues , I’m sure

it would be a nice

collection after a while, I’m

doing my best to collect

the best and to answer any

question photographers

have been asking me

about how I do this and


Now what I wish for

JA-magazine is to be a 100

page magazine and I’m

sure that I won’t be able to

do this by myself and I’ll

need a team of good

photographers to help me

write this magazine and the

upcoming issues in a more

professional way to get a

great amount of

informations in one small

place where everybody can

understand and like.



WORK ...

In this issue I revealed a great secret of

how did I take the floating pills shot and I show

you how to use the barbeque sticks and to get

the best lighting to give the light to this unique

shot , I even post a photoshop lessons about

making your still life photography looks nicer

and even unique in a certain way, now it’s your

turn to participate and show me if I was helpful

and let us see your shots and how you did the

homework I gave you, and let me know if I did


This magazine is made by

Jamal Alayoubi and I’m in

need of your ideas and

help to give the best to

our readers.


Get it from:

email us:

Participate in the flickr group

something wrong or if you even

have a better idea about shooting

the same object with a different

idea and technique or maybe with

any other materials, all of this can

help to help many other

photographers to give their best in

this great art of photography.

posting your work on this


You are more than welcome to

send us your photos, lessons, tips

and photography news or even a

flyer to your next public galleries

and we’ll be pleased to post it in

this magazine, we’ll include a

galleries of our readers in the next

issue so please send us your photos to our

email or post it to our flickr group to be a part of

this magazine or to get your photos reviewed

by pro photographers.

Thanks for reading this issue and please

let us know what you think about the subject

of this issue and let us know what you want

us to include on the next one by emailing us

or visiting the flickr group to participate and

help getting the best we can.

Send us your


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