By Paul F. Moloney.
There are times when I desire to do photography but the outdoor weather and light are not cooperative, so I turn to indoor documentary or still life photography.
The common term for this type of photography is "tabletop."
I set up a table to avoid working from my knees. I arrange the elements I want in the pictures, then exploit my creative notions.
I still employ my basic compositional and lighting practices. I compose the elements for eyes traveling from left to right to the primary subject. I prefer positioning the light at a 45-degree angle to my subject. These, however, must not be construed as rules. They simply are my personal choices, recommendations.
I do encourage everyone to keep these types of pictures quite simple and close-up. Often, we cannot see the trees within the forest. Universality comes with simplicity. Simplicity makes the photographs easily read and understood.
However, our way and viewpoint of life today is quite complex. We've speeded up everything, sometimes losing control of ourselves.
So I suggest if you are wanting to do tabletop photography that you start out with few elements, simple composition and carefully placed light, either electronic or ambient.
The more intense the light you use, the smaller aperture and greater depth of field you can achieve. The closer the light, the more contrast it gives. The farther it is from your subject, the more diffused, less contrast you will see in your photograph.
Depth-of-field also is an important tool in this type of photography. The closer you are to the subject, the less the depth of field. Distance from your subject increases the depth-of-field.
After understanding the basics, you can integrate more elements into your photos. Multi-element photographs can be very rewarding and exciting for the viewers.
Paul F. Moloney's monthly series of Photo Tips offers ideas to improve the quality of your photographs.
Moloney has always "wondered" about life, marveled at and admired the beauty God has granted the world -- and "wandered," roamed, roved with his cameras. All photos © Paul F. Moloney.