The Fruit Bowl - My Process in Styling a Still Life Image
The Fruit Bowl - A ton of sweat and hard work!! 

The Fruit Bowl - A ton of sweat and hard work!! 

The 'Fruit Bowl’ is the first Still Life image I shot.

Way back in 2015, I had a Panasonic GH2 and a Leica Macro 45mm f2.8. Since sold, it was a fantastic camera and an excellent lens. I was in love with the touch to focus & shoot touchscreen. At that time, in the early stages of my photographic journey, I mainly used continuous lighting. I had not yet had the finances or the knowledge for the wonders of a strobe lighting kit.

However, for this shoot, window lighting was the magic that emphasized the texture and colours of the fruit.

The image was a learning assignment for the excellent, British photography magazine, 'Practical Photography'. Superb articles, skills, advice and knowledge, I purchased the mag monthly and in each issue they ran beginner assignments, such as a Still Life photo assignment, Landscape photography, Action, etc. I would submit my work by uploading my image onto their website.

For this Still Life project I was awarded a Gold certificate.

Unfortunately, my GH2 did not have any tethering solution so I as I styled the fruit bowl, I viewed my composition on the touchscreen, in real time.

I also did not have any knowledge of Still Life artistry such as the 17th century Italian paintings by Galizia or Garzoni, or any other artist in the rich history of Still Life artwork.

When styling the composition, with the window light spilling in from camera left, it is a consideration of, where in the bowl do I put the satsumas? How is the composition off balance when I put the banana too close to the edge on the left of the frame? Or should it be on the right? How high off the bowl do the grapes need to be in relation to the other fruit and how far should they hang over the bowl? These are not questions that I would pose in my mind at the time of creation; but rather the process was instinctive, as I styled the fruit scene to my aesthetic taste, whilst looking at the camera LCD. These questions are what I can now retrospectively write about, in telling you how I worked the composition and how it evolved.

I will only know if every element is correct when not one piece of fruit is at the center of interest. Every piece should compliment the other. There needs to a be a natural flow to the styling where no one can look at the image and say, 'Oh, I like what you did with the banana.’ Or 'Those grapes really look amazing’. For this image, every item must work together, as one. After all, the subject is 'The Fruit Bowl’, not 'The Banana Bowl’.

The light coming in from the window adds delicate highlights to the fruit, the bounce card camera right, fills in the shadow areas. This was my earliest work and the lighting, as simple as it was to set up, it was perfectly effective for the image that I was creating.  I was not trying to reveal one piece of fruit more than any other, or hide any either. The lighting scheme fits the composition.

The backdrop is simply a sheet of quality, textured paper.  Nothing fancy, but it worked. Once again I was, and still am, pleased with the results.

After the image was taken and submitted and now it is on my website, I see it is as one of my most aesthetically pleasing pieces of photographic art.

I hope that from the divulging of my process, that you can feel inspired to have a browse of my other work here on my website or if you are creatively inclined, to set up your own home studio and create your own fruit bowl image or any other 'Still Life’ image.