Here’s an example of a still life that was posted on a newsletter I receive. It was not posted by the photographer, but was chosen by the editor of the site as “Photo of the Day”. It’s a nice simple composition with a clean background and the exposure and depth of field are right on. However, taking into account that I really like strawberries (to eat more than photograph), my eye was immediately draw to the blemish on the central strawberry.
I realize that trying to find the perfect strawberries while shopping at our local supermarkets is a challenge, but I’m amazed that the photographer did not notice this and slightly turn that strawberry to hide the blemish. Actually the berry on the far right has a bad spot on it also, although it is not as noticeable.
If you try this type of shot you need to examine the subject very carefully (especially through the viewfinder or via Live View) for anything that is not perfect. Sometimes the smallest movement or rearrangement of the subject can make or break the composition. With a still life it is possible, with a little observation and patience, to get it right in camera without relying on Photoshop to save you.
This shot could have been fixed in PS, but it would not have been an easy fix. Trying to match contours and highlights on the subject would have been difficult. Far easier to rearrange the subject matter. I’m not talking about small little spots and the like that you find on apples, pears or bananas etc. These can easily be dealt with in Photoshop with the Clone Stamp or Healing Brush.
In short, be patient and take the time to evaluate your shot critically. It’s a “still” life, it’s not likely to become animated and run out of the frame, so take your time!
Another thing I like to do when working indoors, is take a few shots and then evaluate them on my computer screen rather than relying on the camera LCD screen. It’s way easier to pick out any changes that might be needed this way. You don’t even need to move the camera, just remove the card, transfer the images, re-insert the card and continue shooting. NOTE: Always be sure to shut your camera off before removing or inserting your memory card. Having your camera on when doing this operation can result in a corrupted memory card.
Hope you will have fun with this “Still Life” theme!