Apples – Still Life Photography


I shot these two images while doing some food photography. I was trying some compositions with separate ingredients. During processing, I decided that I liked them better as still life images and converted to black and white. The 1st image is a random grouping of apples. I cloned one apple out of this grouping. Can you tell? It would have been easier to adjust the composition and take another shot but unfortunately I did not see it and moved on to the next composition with a bowl.


© Copyright Beth Walsh Photography. All rights reserved.




The green apples are one solid colour so I had to use the lighting to provide the necessary contrast. Because there was not enough sunlight in the kitchen that day I bounced a single light off the ceiling. This did present some issues with the highlights. However the main highlights are still from sunlight through the windows. I curved the image to create a more contrast on the apples themselves and then lightened the background to provide more contrast. I shot these wide open because I wanted most of the apples and background out of focus.




This blog is about my learning to be a better photographer and not just about sharing one image of my best work. At times, I’m sharing numerous images and asking for feedback and you are definitely responding. I want thank everyone who has taken the time to give me such wonderful and constructive feedback on my images. I also want to give a shout out to Noeline Smith of Noeline Smith Photography who has been especially generous with her constructive and helpful comments. Because I could not say it better I am going to quote Noeline from one of her comments on my last post “Nature covered in Ice and Raindrops – BW“…

“The benefit of varying opinions is that seeing other people’s views helps to refine our own and our understanding of what we do/don’t like and where we want our photography to go”


So please if you do have an opinion on what works or doesn’t work or what you think would improve the image, let me know. I appreciate all of your varying opinions.



14 thoughts on “Apples – Still Life Photography

  1. Gosh Beth – thank you for such lovely comments – and to be quoted too! 🙂 I love photography and to be able to share that, and whatever I may have learned along the way, only adds to the pleasure I get out of it. It’s all a good learning experience too!

    Is the missing apple to the back, right of centre? If you hadn’t said I wouldn’t be looking for it! I love the perspective and dof you’ve used. The angle of lighting is good and that along with the contrast makes the apples ‘properly’ round. The highlights, although blown out aren’t too bad – to a certain extent you can get away with it in B&W and they add to the three dimensional appearance of the apples. As you say, slightly less of a ‘blow out’ would have been better though – it would remove the odd sort of halo they get around them when processed. I’ve been very picky here (!) but the one big change that, for me, would really make this image, is to crop it square. If I scroll up/down on my screen and ‘crop’ it so that the laminate join on the left is just cut off it adds a lot more impact to the shot.

    As with ‘fromhereonend’ I prefer the first image. The space between/around the apples in the second shot makes the composition feel unbalanced. I think the slightly elevated angle might work but the apples need to be closer to each other and the bowl – I think it adds more of a ‘bountiful’ feel which is what the picture appears to be trying to say to me.

    1. I think that a redo of these apples is definitely in order and as a result of the excellent feedback I have a very good idea of how to correct things. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment because you are so right, when it is your own stuff it’s much harder to be able to critique it.

  2. I would never have guessed about the cloning out …
    and now Beth I shall have to look up ‘ curving the image ‘ as I’m not sure what it means ….
    Lovely apples 🙂

  3. Hi Beth … my preference would the top image …. mostly because i find that the angle of the camera in the second seems to make it the image top heavy and tilting towards the viewer. I also like the way the grain of the wood plays with the texture on the skin of the apples in the first ….. i also prefer the DOF of the first image.

    The advice above regarding diffusion would definitely help with the highlights. Shiny apples are difficult to get right and that would help hold back the light.

    All in all a good experiment and learning experience with lighting and composition …. i guess a few apples a day can benefit in more ways than just keeping the doctor away !

    Keep up the good work ….


  4. Excellent job with the lighting, Beth. I’ve found green apples are a great subject to play around with.

    The second photo is perfectly composed but I’d prefer a little less of the blurred foreground in the first shot. In fact I’d like to have seen the first shot as landscape size without so much foreground. On a third look, the background in the first image is a bit weird too. Almost as though the wooden surface has been bent upwards and is too light.

    Not sure as I’m a relatively a new photographer too, but I suspect your original might have been better than your edited one. I’d actually like to see the originals straight out of the camera.

    You have far better lighting (than my own image of some green apples some months ago).

  5. Nice shots. Bouncing light can work, diffusion can help more. Sheet over the window, Small soft box over the flash. If you try the apples again try for a background that is more even without the distracting horizontal lines. Lighting stuff like this is not easy. Still after all of that I like the photos.

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