How to take beautiful fresh still life photos

First, let me introduce myself briefly. My name is Maidayu. I’m a post-90s photography enthusiast. Usually I mainly take some photos of daily life, which are basically small things around me. Bai Ji is mainly a recorder. The interesting pictures I saw were kept in the form of photos, so my photos are basically still life.

First of all, I thinkstill-life photographyCompared with the portrait, it is relatively simple and easy to control, because when we take a still life, it is mainly a static thing. It’s not as troublesome as the portrait. Besides controlling Bai Ji’s photography angle, the photographer also needs to control the pose, clothes and makeup of your subject.

In the later stage,still-life photographyOnly color mixing is involved, while portrait photography needs to involve skin grinding and liquefaction in addition to color mixing. So, if you are starting to get started, you can choose still life to take pictures. First practice color mixing, then you can ignore the objective factors of the model, and focus your main attention on the color of the picture you took.

First practice your composition ability and color mixing ability with still life. It is very helpful for you to learn photography.

Characteristics of fresh photos

First, let’s take a look at what aspects of still life photography should pay attention to. I’ll send some of my personal works to see. For the convenience of observation, I have divided the main colors in the picture into several color blocks. Please feel their characteristics.

Photo analysis

First of all, I think the biggest feature is the clean picture, which is mainly reflected in several aspects.

The first is that the main body is relatively clear in the composition of the whole picture, and there are no other sundries in the picture.

Secondly, in terms of color, in most cases, the color is cold and light, and there will be no particularly bright or dark color.

Finally, it looks soft and quiet on the whole.

Therefore, when we observe a picture, we should consider the following aspects: picture composition, dominant hue, highlights, and saturation.

Picture composition

The composition of a picture mainly refers to the elements and combinations in a picture. To be frank, it is similar to your composition. An excellent photo is usually simple in combination and clear in theme, so that others can know what you want to express at a glance. There will not be too many sundries or elements unrelated to the theme in it. As I posted before, the pictures are very simple. Maybe the subject is just an object, and there is no superfluous things to interfere with your vision.

case analysis

This picture should have the same feeling as those taken by some photographers who are just beginning to learn.

Usually, when we see a beautiful object or scene, we want to take a picture of it, but we don’t think about whether the background is clean and whether some elements around will have any impact on the subject.

This photo should be the old camera in the middle. If you really want to shoot such an object, you can completely remove the object beside it, and do not let it block the main body at this angle. Or you can find a clean and bright place to shoot. Now there are too many interfering things in the picture. If a subject cannot move, you can get closer and shoot with a large aperture effect to make these irrelevant elements disappear.

This is the same as the composition mentioned above. Before composition, you should consider what kind of things your pictures represent. For example, do you want to show the dried flowers in front of you? Or do you want to show some decorations on the wall? Still want to show other things.

This makes people feel very confused, and people don’t know what you want to express. It is reasonable to say that the scene is so beautiful that some photos can be taken. Let’s look at some photos taken by other photographers. You can see that their picture composition is actually very simple, and there will not be too many complicated things or elements in a picture. So if you want the picture to be clean, you must control the composition in the early stage. This is the so-called picture composition, which must be concise.

Color selection In addition to the simple picture composition just mentioned, another important thing is the color matching you choose. The feeling of color is often the most intuitive and casual. It will directly bring you a different mood when you look at the picture, so try to choose the color that is relatively fresh or relatively cold. Try to avoid the color that is too bright or looks dirty.

case analysis

Generally, fresh photos show a little blue or green. The overall color is cold, and there are few warm colors. Even if there is warm color, it is also in the case of a small proportion, or the saturation is not very high.

For example, in the above photo, although there is a large area of red in it, there is also a large part of cold color in the picture. It is that I used the angle of overhead shooting to take the sky in. The sky is blue, which plays a role in reconciling the picture. If all the pictures without cold color are red, they will not look so fresh.

Take these two photos for example. It’s also a cat, and I took it all. One is white, the other is black. Which do you think is fresher when two photos are put together? It must be white. So when you take photos, you should use more cool and bright colors, such as green, blue, cyan, white, etc. Green must be fresher than red, and white must be fresher than black.

Low saturation

After controlling everything in front of you, you should try to reduce the saturation of the picture in the later stage.

As mentioned just now, the colors of ordinary still life are usually fresh and natural, giving people a feeling of beauty, softness and quietness. Too high saturation tends to be eye-catching. Although it looks amazing at the first sight, it is impatient after a long time. This is why we often like to adjust all the colors and make them very colorful when we first learn photography in the late stage. Because it looks quite different from the original image, the greater the difference, the higher the color tone level will appear. In fact, it is not.

case analysis

These are some photos taken by Japanese photographer Ei Minh Hamada to observe its color.

Its saturation is a little lower than what your eyes see under normal conditions. Its red is not bright red or particularly bright red. And green is not a bright green, basically the saturation of the whole picture is low. So the picture looks soft and natural. The general Japanese photos are characterized by low saturation.

By: Hamada Yingming

Of course, saturation here is also a relative concept, not to say the lower the better. If you take a picture with low saturation, you can also add a point saturation appropriately. The main thing is to ensure that the color of your picture does not need to be bright. If the saturation is too low, your picture may be gray and lose its solid color.


The highlight should be properly suppressed in the whole picture. This part is mainly used in the later stage. Whether in LR or p8, there are separate options for controlling exposure and shadow. This is the tool (as shown in the figure):

In most cases, the highlight area of the photo will be reduced. Because it can find out more details of the bright part of the picture, and make the picture look softer. The specific operation depends on the specific situation of the picture. It is not to say that the highlight is suppressed or the highlight area is pulled too dark. For example, you can observe some films.

case analysis

Pictures from Zhihu

For example, Hamada Yingming’s film. His photos are generally biased towards a bright tone. Look at the crest of his histogram. The location of the wave crest is mainly on the right side, but there are not many peaks at both ends. This shows that his highlight is not a pure white state, but rather a state like milk white, milk white and ivory yellow. This white is not pure white, it is only close to the white state. So although his picture is very bright, it will not be the kind of bright with high contrast and sharp eyes. The overall picture gives a feeling of special softness, special quietness and warmth.

How to call out Japanese fresh photos

As I said before, you must consider the composition of your pictures and the matching of colors before shooting. Make the picture simple and clean, and it will not be so hard in the later stage. Now let’s show you the color mixing process of a fresh still life.

Case presentation

The original film is slightly gray, and the color is not fresh enough. In terms of composition, the sky accounts for a large proportion. The sky color is a little blue purple, and the color of the buildings in the middle is mainly white. It conforms to the above mentioned features of clean picture, cold and bright color. Therefore, the main idea of this film is to lighten the picture, and then adjust the color of the sky. Reduce the purple component of the sky, and let it shift to turquoise.

First, turn on LR and adjust the basic parameters. Increase the exposure appropriately, lower the highlight and brighten the bright area in the picture to find out more details in the picture.

After the last step, the picture looks a bit grey. So an “s” curve is drawn on the curve to enhance the contrast of the picture.

When adjusting, do not blindly adjust all the parameters. You need to observe which colors are composed in the screen. Here are mainly yellow, orange, green and blue. Yellow and orange are mainly used to control the trees in front, and blue is mainly used to control the color of the sky, so I only adjust these colors.

The picture looks a bit dark yellow after being lightened in the previous step, so I move orange on the hue. Shift the color of the trees to green. Shift the blue color that controls the sky to cyan.

Decreases the saturation of green and blue.

The highlighted orange and yellow are the trees in front.

Because the original film is dark, noise will appear after the overall lighting. This step can eliminate some noise and make the original film look cleaner.

Check Delete Color Difference and Enable Profile Correction. Most of the time, I check these two options to correct the dark corners around the screen caused by the lens.

Camera calibration: After the above steps of adjustment, I generally feel that it is already there, but the plant in front is still a bit withered and yellow, so I adjust the hue of the primary green color to make it green. The last is to increase the saturation of the blue primary color, improve the overall color sense, and make the picture transparent.

Final effect

What you want to say The above is the whole content of this sharing. For still life photography, early color selection is very important. This requires you to accumulate more shooting works or watch more excellent works. For me, I am easily influenced by others. Some of my previous works have tended to be simple and clean, and now I’m slowly trying to achieve this effect of blues and dark tones. It’s not about how much your aesthetic has improved, but when you see more photos from different photographers, you want to try different styles.

In the early stage of your study, you must take more pictures and watch more. Don’t limit yourself to the same style, which is more conducive to your growth. I haven’t found the final style myself until now, and I’m also trying to keep trying. Finally, I hope you can all take good photos.