Project 52, Assignment #3 Still Life

Project 52: INFORMATION.

It is important that you all go to Project52.org for assignment notes and more. We have a page there that will show all upcoming LIVE shows as well as other information that we will be giving out as these projects go along.

Our schedule for each week is on the Assignment pages there as well.

I have been critiquing the vision statements and audio one is up now. Again, see the individual project pages for all events and tools concerning each project. (I have had the worst time with the audio for that first critique… LOL. I have had to redo it twice… and the one that is there for the first critique is terrible. I have an older laptop that I am using for the audio and it is just getting to the end of its value. New laptop is on its way, so audio will be much, much better on future pieces.)

This week we tackle a small still life project.

Assignment Three / Simple Small Still Life:

  • Photograph something small enough to fit in an 8″x8″ area. Cosmetics, utensils, tools, toys or raw veggies for example.
  • The image will be reproduced as a square on the cover of a brochure.
  • The Layout for the brochure is here: Download the PSD file and insert your image in the layer named “Paste Here” – you can move the image around after you have inserted it.
  • As usual, you will be able to upload to the Flickr site until January 31.
  • You will upload the full image AND the cover comp. There will be further instructions on how to do that on the Flickr site.
  • You must keep notes on how long it took you to prepare, get items, shoot and post process.

Schedule:
(1-19)Wednesday we will upload Video #1 on shooting small still life.
(1-20) Thursday is “LIVE” at 7PM MST
(1-21) Friday is “LIVE” at Noon MST for our European followers.
(1-24) Monday is the new Assignment: ‘Landscape’ Portrait in Environment
(1-25) Tuesday is video #2 for still life.
(1-26) Wednesday “LIVE” (7PM MST) is about creating billing for this kind of shoot.
(1-27) Thursday “LIVE” (Noon MST) on billing for our European folks.

This is not a product shot, it is a still life. The point is sometimes to be a bit more ‘artistic’ and we don’t have to concern ourselves with showing a label, or something that is part of a product that is branded.

We are to make an interesting, compelling photograph of something that is inanimate. Something to illustrate an article that is inside a magazine. The goal is to catch the eye and compel a closer look, or investigation into the brochure we are shooting for.

Be aware of the layout. There is a headline for this brochure and a brand for it as well. They are defined and placed by the AD and are not going to be moved. The brochure is printed 4 times a year and this is the way the covers lay out. We have to shoot to the cover, not shoot and have the AD deal with working out his type.

This is a typical shoot for a mid-market photographer. The client would most likely be a designer or design firm, or a corporate direct marketing/communications group.


This still life of an antique drill was shot for a corporate brochure. The point of the old tools was to show a ‘hands on’ craftsman feel to the work the small construction company did.
Camera: 4×5 Toyo
Film: Polaroid 55PN contact printed on Seagull #3 Lustre.
Lighting: One Lowell Tota through glass block and small mirrors placed for specular fill

A still life can be very powerful. It can have such strength though the context, or connotation of context, that helps widen the appeal.


Tulips for the cover of a catalog for a jewelry distrubutor.
Camera: Toyo 4×5
Film: Ektachrome 100
Lighting: Strip light with Norman head to left side, shiny fill on camera right.

Not every still life is created in a studio. Sometimes we can do still life shots on location. Isolating a bit of the natural world is one way of approaching making pictures of things. And when those things are surrounded by their environment, the challenge can be quite rewarding.


Camera: iPhone 2G
Processed: Photoshop (added contrast and saturation)

What kind of work can this lead to? Well, there are lots of situations where being able to make a good shot of a small inanimate object may be the difference in getting a gig or not. It may be a full on still-life shoot or you may be asked to do a few ‘filler’ shots along with the portrait assignment.

Now for a few inspirational links:
Irving Penn was one of the greatest still life photographers.

Matthew Zucker has product and still life together. See how he blends the two genres for a wonderful look.

Henry Leutwyler’s still life images are beautiful.

Horatio Salinas has a conceptual approach to still life.

My buddy Rick Gayle is a wonderful still life photographer here in Phoenix.

And here is James Worrel’s still life work. Color and form!

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About 

I am in love with light.

Also known as Don Giannatti, photography has been the focus of my life for most of my adult years. I have written three books for Amherst Media (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble: keyword 'don giannatti'. Lighting Essentials is my flagship blog and ezine with a slightly different slant than most photography related blogs. If you are interested in becoming a better photographer, check out www.project52.org. Thanks for visiting.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Don,
    Sorry I missed the live chat, but I really enjoyed listening in to this presentation. Lots of great information on fees, covers, prints, etc. I appreciate your real-world examples.
    Finishing up assignments 2 and 3 now.
    Lech

    Reply

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