Saturday, November 7

Anatomy of a Still Life

There are tons of photos available on the internet and a lot of photographers generously share their method of processing the photos.  I love to get insights into how others edit to the specific mood of their photo.  The basic processing may be quite similar but the creative touches a photographer adds to the photo speaks to that specific mood.

I started with this photo shot with a Nikon D90 and 35mm lens and settings of 1/125th of a second at f/1.8 and ISO 200.  There are many different programs with which to edit a photo and my program of choice is Lightroom.  I import photos into Lightroom with a basic preset that I made which adds a bit of noise reduction and sharpening to the photo, applies a basic lens correction specific to the lens I used for the shot, and sets the camera calibration to "camera neutral".  This gives a beginning point for my straight out of camera.

My next step is to apply edits specific to the "mood" I'm going for in my photo.  This one was shot on a rainy, cold day and that was what I was looking for in the photo.  To accomplish this I shot it about 2 stops underexposed to increase the shadows.  I wanted it in closer so my first step was to crop the photo.   With my still life shots, I'm preferring the square crop.

Next I applied a tone curve which would bring down the highlights and darken shadows even more, as well as apply just a touch of haze.

Next I adjusted the tint a tad to remove some of the red reflection of the napkin on the bowl.  A little clarity to for contrast and I played with the vibrance and saturation until I was satisfied.

Once I'm satisfied with the photo, I export it to a folder on my hard drive.  I created an export preset which resizes my photo specifically for the blog, reduces the resolution, adds my copyright info and watermark.  Here is the final image.

There are many many ways to process and image and I'm not saying that mine is the only way or the best way.  I'm merely providing an insight to my thought process when editing a photo.  I hope that seeing my process was interesting and maybe thought-provoking.

Pin It


  1. Such a beautiful edit and thank you for sharing your process. It's amazing that we process in much the same way. I had not thought about importing into Lightroom with a preset; a great idea. Your blog is lovely and filled with gorgeous photography.....

    1. Thanks so much Nancy. I love seeing how others edit.

  2. Such and interesting post. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Kim Klassen's My Still Sunday Class!


Pin It button on image hover