Still Life Photography: Style & Shoot Scroll-Stopping Photos | Tina Moritz @beautifully | Skillshare

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Still Life Photography: Style & Shoot Scroll-Stopping Photos

teacher avatar Tina Moritz @beautifully, Photographer & Stylist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Trailer - Style & Shoot Scroll-Stopping Photos


    • 2.

      Photo Studio & Lighting Tips


    • 3.

      Visual Storytelling in Photography


    • 4.

      Composition Techniques & Styling


    • 5.

      Preparing & Executing a Photoshoot


    • 6.

      Final Photography Tips


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About This Class

The thing standing between you and better photos is NOT your camera!

Forget throwing your money away on fancy new equipment and obsessing over your camera settings. Professional, magazine-worthy photographs can be made just as easily if you know the tricks of the trade!

Dip your toes into the world of lighting, styling, and composition and your photography can go from good to next level GREAT quicker than you know it!

In this photography & styling class, I teach you my exact strategies for creating photos that make you stand out from the rest!


The lessons will cover:

  • Lighting - You’ll learn how to use the magic of natural light to your advantage and manipulate it to create a sense of depth that really sets the tone for the photo.
  • Photo Studio Setup - You’ll learn how to set-up a still life photo studio right within the walls of your home — with items you already have lying around!
  • Visual Storytelling - Photography is so much more than just capturing a moment. In this module, you’ll learn not only how to create a mood with your photo, but how to tell a story with it
  • Composition Techniques -We’ll be taking a deep dive into some of the most powerful composition techniques that only the best of the best photographers and stylists use. Learn to style flatlays for Instagram with a 1x1m background.
  • Planning the Photoshoot - I'll teach you how to plan and execute a shoot that is not only seamless, but is also guaranteed to produce amazing photos every time. You will also learn all about how to use props and backgrounds to create an authentic and intentional look.


Whether you're a veteran photographer or just starting out, this course will kickstart your passion and take your art to the next level. Maybe you're a blogger, a brand, or an influencer looking to better communicate with your audience and attract new customers. No matter who you are, if you use a DSLR or a smartphone, this course will teach you the things that will make you a better photographer.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Tina Moritz @beautifully

Photographer & Stylist


Hello, I'm Tina Moritz. I'm a product photographer & stylist for Blomverket. I also teach photography & styling in my masterclass over at Beautifully.  

My journey with photography started out with me determined to become a professional at all things overnight. I did everything I thought I was supposed to do: bought a fancy camera, invested in expensive lenses, and spent WAY more hours than I care to admit trying to perfect the camera settings. But, guess what? (…you probably saw this coming) — I STILL wasn’t happy with my photos!

It wasn’t until I started experimenting with different lighting, composition, and storytelling techniques that I actually saw improvements I was happy with. Many years and many lessons later, I ru... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Trailer - Style & Shoot Scroll-Stopping Photos: To take your photography skills to the next level, all you need to do is learn how to become more intentional with your styling. For years, I was stuck taking average photos. Then he learned how professional photographers and stylists use special techniques and tools to create their shots. And it instantly changed my photo game. I used to think using rules and strategy would limit my creativity, but it turned out to be the opposite. Instead, I found the tools I needed to compose amazing shots and I was able to stop guessing what makes for a good photo. If you're finding your photos lac pro level composition, you need to join me in this special online course. And the precise steps you need to become more intentional with your styling and to improve your photography skills dramatically. You'll learn to master powerful composition techniques, such as layering, leading lines, and many more. It'll also help you develop your skills in visual storytelling. One of the most effective techniques a photographer can use to stand out in a world saturated with visuals. Today, you only have a few seconds to capture your audience's attention. And beautiful photos aren't always enough. Learning the strategies for creating a beautiful, compelling photo that connects with the viewer will be a game changer for your photography career. Whether you're a veteran photographer or just starting out. This is the course that will kick-start your passion and take your art to the next level. Maybe you're a blogger, a brand, or an influencer looking to better communicate with your audience and attract new customers no matter who you are, if you use a DSLR or a smartphone, this course will teach you the things that will make you a better photographer. Invest in yourself and take your passion to the next level. 2. Photo Studio & Lighting Tips: Let me start by saying this. You don't need outstanding production to take outstanding photos. This is an important one. Don't fall into the trap where you think it's the camera or the lack of studio equipment that makes your photos fall short? When I first started out with photography, I was convinced that the camera, the camera settings or maybe the lens was holding my photos back. Don't get me wrong. All of that is important, but it's not the gear that makes you a better photographer. For the majority of my photos, I use a really simple setup that consists of a table by the window in the corner of my living room with a few props and a one-by-one meter backdrop. I can create entire worlds in this tiny space. Sometimes I also use different screens to team the light, which I'll go through in a bit. Otherwise, I keep it very simple. Most of the time I shoot simple objects that you normally wouldn't pay much attention to. It's all about recognizing beauty in these things and finding ways to turn them into interesting art. Finding the right angles for the light to hit the object or arranging them in a way that creates an interesting and beautiful photo. The simplest objects have beauty to them. You just have to find ways to bring that out. The single most important factor in taking a photo is the light. A lot of people are kneeling their composition, but ultimately failing to get the right light. And light is huge. It will literally make or break your image. So let me give you a few tips here. The first tip is to use natural light. You do not need fancy studio equipment like flashes or soft boxes or any of that. Just moved to a window. That's enough. Trust me when I say that a lot of professional photographers work exclusively with natural light. So you'll be in good company. My advice to you is to master natural light first. Then you can start experimenting with artificial light. Don't try to learn everything at once. Having setups that are too complicated, it will only make you frustrated and ultimately hinder your ability to get to the next level. My second tip is to never mix light sources. When you shoot in natural light, you need to remember to turn off any artificial light before you start shooting. Want to know why? It's because different light sources have different temperatures or colors. The light from a light bulb is a bit red. While natural light has a more bluish hue. If you shoot with different light sources, you will end up with both blue and red parts in your photo. This is something you don't want because having a more consistent color temperature in your photo will ultimately lead to a more compelling shot. You could, of course, edit the photo afterward and adjust the color temperatures. This was something I used to do early on. However, this is very time-consuming and won't give you as good of a result as simply turning off the light in the first place. For those of you who want to go more pro and manipulate the natural light in some way, I recommend you start out by using reflectors. Reflectors are really easy to use and very affordable. Most of the time, you find them in silver, gold, white, or black. To use them, you place the reflector on the opposite side of where the light comes into the shot so that you have your object between the light source and the reflector. You then use the reflector to bounce back some of the light into the scene, either softening or intensifying the shadows. 3. Visual Storytelling in Photography: The way you tell a story through your photo is probably the most effective way to stand out nowadays. We live in a world that's completely saturated with visuals. So capturing a pretty photo and letting the work speak for itself might not be enough anymore. If you run a business, a brand, or a blog, your photos are most likely part of your marketing strategy. And one of the best ways to connect with your audience or customers. So you gotta be intentional with your photos. Don't shoot for the sake of shooting, be mindful of what you want to communicate to your audience. Think about who your audience is and what feelings you want them to feel when they look at your image. Experienced a brand photographers really take photos of the products alone. They are more interested in creating emotions with their photos and making the customers feel a certain way about the product. Many times it's not the cheapest product or the one with the greatest specifications that sells the best. It's the product or the brand that tells the better story that cells. When I first started out and took a lot of photos like this one, where a zoomed in on the main subject and let it fill up the entire frame. This photo is okay, and I still take photos like this, but it doesn't tell a story and it's certainly won't make the viewer stop scrolling through Instagram when they see it. So what I've learned through the years is to sometimes take a step back and include more than just the main object. Setting up an entire scene will make the photo easier to engage with and ultimately make it easier for them to insert themselves into the story. Once you've zoomed out, you want to include small details in your photo that give the viewer a hint of what's going on. The candles, the present, and the person garnishing the Keq, set the scene and tell the viewer a story about someone that's right in the middle of preparing a birthday. Now let's say you instead want to tell a story about someone spending their day in the kitchen baking a cake. In that case, you might want to include small details like some of the ingredients or some of the tools used in the baking process, and not just the final version of the cake. If you select a marble background, for example, you will let the viewer know that photo was taken in the kitchen. These small details will make it easier for the viewer to relate to and engage with your photo. You don't want to focus entirely on what your object looks like, but more on how it feels. To accomplish this, you want to find the object that connects with the viewer emotionally. Try to identify what will make your viewer feel something, the things that trigger memories and make them nostalgic, or the things that make them happy. You want to use objects that the viewer can relate to and that they may have experienced in real life. Let's say you want to capture a photo of a stack of pancakes. If you focus only on what a stack of pancakes looks like, you can take a photo like this. This photo might trigger some emotions, but it's ultimately more of a documenting image. What if we instead focused more on the feeling? Well, then we would capture a photo like this. Instead, having someone pouring the syrup and showing the way it's dripping down adds an aspect of movement to this photo and makes it more real. It's almost like you can touch it. Most people have experienced this. So they feel something when they see the syrup dripping down. Even though the photo is static, it doesn't feel static, right. 4. Composition Techniques & Styling: Let's dive into some of the most powerful composition techniques you can use to take your photography skills to the next level. As with any art form, photography is highly subjective. There is no right or wrong way to take a photo, as we all have different tastes and different ways of expressing ourselves. To that point, the techniques taught in this course should not be seen as a rules, but rather as guidelines. Use them in your own way and develop your personal style. Experiment with how you want to express yourself in your photos. Let your personality come through. One of the most powerful composition techniques that I use is called layering. When using this technique, I think of each layer as something that adds steps and interests to the photo. I then add layer upon layer to gradually make the scene more and more interesting. In the end, using props with different patterns and textures helped me add dimension to the photo and make it appear more three-dimensional. Let me show you how I work with this technique. Let's say that I want to shoot a scene where someone is tying a bouquet of flowers while drinking a cup of coffee. In my early days of photography, I would probably style my seen something like this. This photo feels a bit flat and won't catch my viewers attention for very long. So let me show you how I work with the different layers to add dimension to the scene. First, I make sure to select a backdrop with a pattern or texture, since that will add more depth to my photo compared to a one colored backdrop. This is something I will go through in more detail in the last module. When I select a cup of coffee, go with one that has a small plate underneath it, sends that is much more interesting than a plain COP without the plate. Can you see how shadows are created both from the COP and the plate? These shadows are really good for building the depth in the photo. The next prop I want to include is one more plate underneath the cup. While it's a minor change, can you see how it makes the photo more interesting and adds dimension? As you can see, I've carefully selected plates with patterns and textures that enhance the sense of dimension further. Now it's time to learn another technique, one that makes the photo feel less static and more three-dimensional. Leading lines. Align in a composition can be very powerful if used correctly. The reason for that is that the brain perceives lines as a continuing movement. So by using lines, you can create a sense of movement and direction in your photo. The viewer's eyes will naturally be drawn along the lines in your composition. And you can effectively guide the viewer to the main object of the photo. If your main object is a mountain, for example, the leading lines could be a road leading up to that mountain. If your main object is a person, you can use things in the surrounding walls are buildings to create lines pointing to your model. You can also use leading lines in your still-life compositions by placing your prompts along a line that's leading up to the Hero Element. Your photo will come alive with the simplest props if you just place them along a line. Keep in mind that these lines could be in any form, vertical, horizontal, diagonal, curved, or even implied lines where the lines are not actual lines, but implicitly created by changes in color or texture. For example, different lines evoke different feelings. So make sure to use them to enhance your composition and to tell your story. In general. A composition with very straight lines will feel more strict. While curved lines will make the composition feel more graceful and naturally inviting. The next composition technique we're going to discuss is called the rule of odds. This is a really simple rule, but very powerful as it helps you create interest and movement in your photo. The idea is this. If you have several elements of similar shape in your composition, you want to have an odd number of them. Our brains seem to be wired in a way where we are drawn to compositions with uneven elements. In fact, most people find photos with odd numbers to be more visually pleasing. So when you have several elements with a round shape, for example, you simply want to include three or five of them instead of two or four. When you have an even number of elements in a photo, the viewer's brain will subconsciously pair these elements, making the composition appear more static and predictable. So to create some visual tension in your photo and make it more dynamic, you want to have an odd number of objects instead. 5. Preparing & Executing a Photoshoot : I used to think that really good photographers just had to show up in a place and their photos would look great simply because they're so talented or experienced. This is of course not true. It's the people that plan their photos that get great results. When I started out, I really planned my photo shoots. Most of the time I was shooting for the sake of shooting and whenever it fit into my schedule, my photos, I didn't have a purpose and I didn't communicate anything in particular. Nowadays, I prefer to go into my photo shoots with a clear vision of what I want to achieve with my photos and what I want to communicate through them. Not only do I get better photos this way, but it makes me more effective during the actual photo shoots and I get more out of it. Let me show you what my preparation process looks like. Nowadays. I usually start with the story and I planned for what message I want to communicate through my photo. During this step, I also like to think about who my audiences and what I want them to feel when they look at my photo. For the next step, I create a mood board on Pinterest. And I start to pin images related to the story I have in mind. It could be composition, ideas, prompts, backgrounds, colors, the mood in the photo, or anything that comes to mind. It's easy to think that the background is just a background and not that important. But believe me, the background is a really important for the end result of your photo. With the background, you give the viewer the illusion of being somewhere else, setting the mood for the entire photo. So let me share a few tips on how to select the best background. My first tip is to use your imagination and creativity. Most likely, you can use things that you already have in your home. This old wooden board, for example, was something that I found in the storage and have synced used in a lot of my photos. Take a walk around your neighborhood and see what you find. Old items with lots of patina are the best. They often look both interesting and beautiful through the lens of a camera. Once you've decided on what background to use, it's time to start gathering the prompts that will make your photo look authentic. I'll give you a few tips here as well. Tip number 1 is to build your prompts collection continuously. Curating a prompts collection takes years and can actually be quite expensive. Start out with things you already have at home and then slowly add prompts that you feel you're missing. By things that you can use over and over again. Things that never go out of fashion. Select prompts with texture or a pattern. This one is the worth reiterating since it's so important. Prompts like this white plate, for example, will often look flat in a photo as it doesn't have a texture or a pattern. Using a gray played with some pattern to it will end up looking much more interesting in the photo. Remember to sometimes look through the camera to get a feeling for how the different textures will look in the final photo. Experiment with letting the light hit the different textures from different angles and then try to see how it translates through the lens. 6. Final Photography Tips: Now there is only a little bit of practicing left. Repeat the techniques and rules you've learned in this course over and over. Experiment with finding the best locations for your photo shoots. And try to find the best time of day where you can catch the best light. Also, don't forget to be patient with yourself and accept that you are on a journey. You're not going to become an expert overnight, but practice makes perfect and the sky's the limit for you. I can't wait to see your photos. Finally on Instagram at and tag me or DM me, I'd love to connect with you and see your progress. You'll also find me over at, where I regularly update the blog with practical tips on how to take your photography to the next level. Thank you so much for letting me be your instructor and guide you throughout this course. Take care and go chase those crazy dreams of yours.