iPhone Photography For Dummies
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If you have a good understanding of how to light your still life product, you are ready for a few pro tips to help you master the genre. In the following discussion, I offer still life and product iPhone photography tips for you to practice. With each day of photography, you will see yourself get better at both the technical and the creative side of still life photography.

Compose symmetrical photos properly

While this next tip may sound overly simplistic and obvious, it’s remarkable how many people don’t care to balance their compositions symmetrically. Take a look at this figure of an artist’s studio in the famous Fabrica la Aurora art complex in Mexico. Because the doorway is symmetrical, we can safely ignore the rule of thirds. Place your still life subject, in this case the potted cactus plant, dead-center in the frame.

symmetrical iPhone photo With symmetrical scenes, it’s often best to avoid the rule of thirds and compose your still life subject dead-centered.

The rule of thirds is a fantastic tool for nonsymmetrical scenes, but often not the best looking when the background is perfectly symmetrical.

Arrange foliage to catch the setting sun

If your chosen still life subject matter are live plants or flowers from a field or forest, make use of the setting sun to provide backlight. The sun will hit the back of the foliage, which creates a beautiful warm glow, as in the following figure.

backlit foliage in iPhone photo Backlit foliage glows, which make for beautiful still life nature photos.

If you’re averse to picking the foliage, you can still catch the sunlight by simply by moving the stem of the plant so that it sticks up above the rest of the foliage. If you have a friend with you, this process of repositioning the fern will be much easier.

Follow the equidistance principle

While not a deal-breaker, when composing a still life scene, such as these Japanese books, follow the principle of equidistance. Equidistance means that the most important part of your subject should have a surrounding space that is equivalent on the opposing sides.

equidistance in still life photo Equidistance requires equal empty or white space on either side of the still life object.

Take a look at the blue arrows in the figure. The white-space distance between the top corners of the books is pretty much equal. Similarly, the red arrows show equidistance vertically.

Don’t feel that you need to slavishly follow the principle of equidistance. It’s only a guide or suggestion that you can safely ignore as you like. Remember, it’s always best to know the rules first, and then you can break them.

Create both color and black-and-white versions

Choosing one of the three black-and-white filters for your still life photo has a lot of value, as black-and-white still life images traditionally tend to be considered more artistic. That doesn’t have to be true necessarily, as, of course, art can and should be in color. So then, why not add value to your collection by taking both a color and a black-and-white version of your photo?

both color and bw photos Having both a color and black-and-white version of your photo extends your photo’s usability and value.

You can either take a photo in black and white and then color or just take one photo in color and then convert it to black and white later within your iPhone’s Photos app.

Add negative space to be used for text

The term negative space can loosely be described as empty, detail-less space that surrounds the subject matter. In the case of the following figure, the red wall is a type of negative space. The reason why you’d want to include more empty space than usual is to extend the future usability of your photos. This photo could be used as a cover photo of a magazine, a vertical business card, a lovely postcard, or any other printed material that requires both a photo and text overlaid on that photo.

negative space in iPhone photo Negative space in a photo composition allows for space for text.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Mark Hemmings can be found traveling the world conducting photography workshops with a big emphasis on iPhone photography. He has a great passion for teaching iPhone camera best practices, which shows in his daily Instagram photo lessons. Mark has been a professional photographer since 1997 and an iPhone travel photographer since 2012.

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