Still Life Photography With Things You Can’t Live Without

in Photography + Gear


A common discipline with photographers and painters, still life is the arrangement and assembly of inanimate objects that is completely in contrast with landscape photography in terms of composition. It is up to you which background to choose, the quality of light to use, and how to balance the composition with your arrangement of elements in the image. Still life photography also applies to wedding photography wherein we photograph each items of the bride and groom’s personal items, and all that jazz.

PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS: When framing a shot for still life photography, pay as much attention to the background as you do your subject. A complimentary background can enhance an ordinary subject. A poor choice of background will make an interesting subject fall flat. When composing your image, get the message across that you want others to see. Each element in your composition will vie for visual attention when arranging things in your viewfinder. Avoid over-cluttered composition because it lacks emphasis and a clear message.

For our latest post today, let’s grab some inspirations about the things we cannot live without and how we’ll gonna apply it to Still Life Photography creatively while at the same time inspire us to be appreciative of the things we have.. right now.

I came up with this roundup of few famous and not-so-famous people wherein they show off their stuff which they cannot leave the house without, or simple can’t live without at all. Actually, there’s this exceptional website called The Burning House wherein they ask people to submit a photograph of the things they will carry in case they got their house burning with fire. When confronted with this kind of situation, what you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities.


01. Vogue Social Editor / Chloe Malle


  • Watermelon Repetto ballet slippers
  • African print bikini by Roberta Freymann
  • Sigerson Morrison navy sandals
  • Comme des Garçons wallet

02. Blogger + Writer + Clergy / Emily Loerke


  • Childhood woobie (for cape wearing and fort building)
  • Favorite coffee mug
  • Passports
  • My mom’s 1962 Gibson guitar
  • Favorite thrifted belt
  • Birth certificates & marriage license
  • 1941 Royal Quite Deluxe Portable Typewriter (a gift from dear friends)
  • MacBook & iPhone
  • Wallet, Checkbook, Keys
  • Antique bone fork (a gift from my dad)
  • My grandmother’s oak recipe box & recipe book
  • Leather journal (My husband and I have been writing letters to each other in it for the past 5 yrs)
  • My mom’s 1960’s blue bandana
  • Favorite thrifted salt & pepper shakers that remind me of my twin sister
  • Vintage Fire King dish (a gift from my mom)
  • Antique E.T.N. Swift box (filled with cash we’ve been saving for our 25th wedding anniversary)
  • Canon 40D (used to take this photo)

03. Architecture Student / Pier Paolo Passsarelli


  • first pair of converse i bought
  • moleskine and pencil for sketches architectural
  • dictionary ,becouse i don t know well the english
  • toothpaste and toothbrush (and condom)
  • flip flops
  • t-skirt and underwear
  • book : “l’eleganza del riccio”
  • cd limited edition “confession on a danceflor”
  • book “sex” (madonna)
  • sunglasses H&M
  • band night (becouse i can ‘t stand the light at night)
  • digital camera
  • straightner and comb
  • leather bracelet
  • iPhone 4

04. Student / Natália Leal


  • My vinyl records.
  • Glasses
  • My favorite shirt
  • My red All Star’s
  • My favorite high heels
  • My Green Day dvd
  • My McFLY dvd
  • My Beatles dvd
  • My box of letters (the All Star box)
  • My old Konica C35 camera
  • The letter that i received from my best friends on my 15th birthday
  • My swiss army knife 
  • My favorite bag

05. Creative Digital Director / Tim Robison


  • My grandfathers camera. 
  • My favorite shoes. So comfortable.
  • Some of my favorite bowls. 
  • My Moleskine notebook.  Full of many sketches, ideas, and dates.
  • My favorite shirt.
  • A piece of driftwood I found and love.
  • My laptop. My iMac would be too hard to carry. 
  • Two full hard drives with years worth of work and photos.
  • My most used kitchen pans. Al Clad Ltd2 fry pan. Le Creuset dutch oven
  • My keys.  They open and start a lot of things
  • My pencil bag.  Full of my best pens and pencils.
  • My Iphone.

06. Designer / Prabal Gurung


  • iPod
  • To-do book
  • Eddie Bargo bangle
  • Sketches
  • Sunglasses
  • Blackberry

07. Owner of Kenmare and Don Hills New York / Nur Khan


  • Black Python skin Jacket with purple lining
  • Custom Ovation accoustic guitar gift from Axl Rose of Guns & Roses
  • Photo from artist/photographer Sante D’Orazio

08. Art Director / Rachel Liang


  • Jane Austin book. All of her novels in one. I have to take it. I’m a massive fan.
  • My favourite leather jacket.
  • Piggy bank; it has been with me more than 15 years. Not much in it, but I will need it.
  • Three of my most important notebooks. There are lots of thoughts, ideas and
    drawings inside.
  • My pen, can’t live without it.
  • I’ll certainly grab my bag, which has my Diesel wallet (has been with me at least 10 years), a pair of Ray-Ban shades and a Keep Cup in it.
  • My felt shoes. I wear them everyday when I’m home.
  • My Jeep Rubicon. Keep the dream alive.
  • Mac Book Pro & hard drive, contain years of memories and loads of hard works.
  • iPhone, to dail 000.
  • My favourite scarf and leather shoes.

09. Photographer + Fingerprint Expert / Kim Høltermand


  • ‘Sigur Rós: Takk’ (CD)
  • Holga 120 CFN Colorflash Camera
  • Glasses from ie-glasses
  • Antlers
  • ‘Sigur Rós: Heima’ (DVD)
  • Jet Set watch: San Remo
  • Action Journal from Behance
  • ‘The Stanley Kubrick Archives’ book
  • Dot Grid Book from Behance
  • Artline Drawing System pens
  • ‘Architects I met and I liked’ notebook
  • Dot Grid Cahier from Behance
  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Cretacolor 430 12 leadholder
  • Grafo 5340 leadholder
  • ‘Olafur Eliasson: Space is Process’ (DVD)
  • Action Runner from Behance
  • ‘Blade Runner Trilogy: 25th Anniversary’ (3CD)
  • iPhone in Exovault metal phone case
  • Light green Volkswagen Caravette from Lesney

10. Model / Ruby Aldridge


  • Denim shorts
  • Rag & Bone sunglasses

11. CT App Specialist + Photographer / Christian Baron


  • my favorite vinyl (kraftwerk/kruder & dorfmeister/stone roses/dj shadow/pixies/smiths/blumfeld)
  • purse with all the life in form of plasticcards
  • sinn watch
  • phone
  • harddisk with most of my photography-stuff
  • my leica m7 with 35mm summicron
  • the one and only dollar left from my first trip to the us twenty years ago
  • favorite belt
  • ramone jeans (not shown, since wearing right now)
  • imited edition old tom style gin from river mosel (fantastic stuff)
  • my ben sherman budapesters and of course my vans
  • a collection of my favorite prints, vandykes and emulsion-lifts
  • my hasselblad with 80 and 180mm sonnar primes
  • two folders with my most important negatives

12. Casting Director + Blogger / Natalie Joos


  • Laptop
  • Casting binder
  • Camera
  • Lip balm
  • Sunglasses
  • Gloves
  • Credit cards
  • Baby blue Céline cashmere
  • Snacks: apples

13. Photographer + Social Worker / Jason Broaddus


  • My Grandfather’s best spatula ever
  • Android phone
  • 1TB external hard drive filled with years of photos, documents and research
  • iPod- can’t take public transit without it
  • Bose headphones
  • Passport
  • Painting from our friend, Tim Rees’, 1st gallery opening, where I took my (now) fiance on our 2nd date- the painting holds a bit of an inside joke
  • My glasses- I’d be blind without them
  • Lens-cloth for my glasses
  • Grandpa’s handkerchief- there’s nothing like a good one
  • Camera, f2.8 24-70mm and f2.8 70-200mm lenses
  • My family history book (mother’s side)
  • My favorite watch
  • Grandfather’s wedding ring
  • My lucky wool hat
  • Wallet
  • Paisley sheet given to me by my fiance to protect my fair skin from sunburn on last year’s hiking trip

14. Photographer + Designer / Rohan Anderson


  • Nixon Chrono Dive Watch
  • Japanese bone handle knife (had it for 22 years)
  • Led Lenser torch
  • iPhone
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.4
  • 500gig Time Machine Back Up
  • Macbook
  • My glasses. Can’t see without em so may as well gram em! (yes they have real lenses in them)
  • One of my Nikons
  • CZ 22 Magnum. It’s my favourite hunting tool
  • Barbor International.
  • G-Star Raw circa 2004? Love these guys. I haven’t bought G-Star since. I’m happy just to keep these as the best pair of jeans I’ve ever owned

15. Designer / Aurélien


  • One of my beloved black t-shirts
  • My leather gloves made in the french-factory my grand-ma used to work in.
  • A scarf which belongs to someone I care about
  • A box of my three favorite pens, to draw
  • All my Moleskine sketchbooks
  • A pair of “Shwood” sunglasses, made in Oregon and bought in Portland, where I used to live
  • My hard-drive, containing all my design-files & photos
  • A miniature of a red Ford Mustang, souvenir from good moments spent with a friend of mine
  • A finger-skateboard
  • A shirt gifted by the same person I care about
  • My “Mondaine” swiss watch and my favorite belt
  • An iPod for the musics, and an iPhone to call my family and friends
  • A photo-album containing photos of my family, a gift from my beloved brother
  • My camera (not pictured)
  • My wallet and my bag to contain all this stuff
  • And a pair of shoes (not just one, cause I would have thrown the 100 others by the window before!)

16. Wedding Photographer / Leila Peterson


  • SX-70 Polaroid Camera passed down from my parents
  • Rolleiflex + Minolta X-700 camera (First camera I owned)
  • Dad’s vintage Ray Bans I somehow adopted
  • Favorite mini globe
  • Old box I found at a flea market, filled with rings and necklaces and a pin from Grandmother
  • Chambray shirt I wear with everything
  • Wallet I bought at a museum in LA, 5 years ago
  • DIY model airplane that reminds me of a happy time
  • Moleskin with daily writings + letters from husband, when he was a boyfriend.
  • Reading glasses- Prism London
  • A few stacks of Polaroids
  • Favorite shoes
  • Lip gloss and compact 
  • Heart locket and name plate necklace
  • Photobooth photos 

17. Executive Director at M.A.C. / Laura Bellafronto


  • M.A.C. makeup like Pro Long Lash, Lady Danger red lipstick, and Mineralize Medium Plus
  • Leopard-print cashmere and Chan Luu silk scarf

18. Architecture Student / Adrien K


  • Backpack by una Velocidad
  • Jordan V
  • Vintage book: Jules vernes “cinq semaines en ballon”
  • Opinel Knife
  • Tokyo flash Watch
  • Markers with special ink
  • Dran “100 jours”
  • Moleskine notebook
  • My Meyer glasses
  • Aristo Technical pen
  • Indian ink pen
  • Hanafuda game by nintendo
  • box of Sakuma’s drops candies

19. Artist / Laura Pritchett


  • The unglamorous but practical galoshes that I wear most often
  • A painting I am (almost) satisfied with
  • An irreplaceable blouse which has no tag and I have no idea who made it, but love
  • The wooden clothes hanger from my grandfather’s closet
  • The perfectly weathered belt I am rarely without
  • Candid shot of grandfather and his car
  • The last remnant of family plaid my grandmother brought back from Ireland
  • Keys from my childhood scavenging
  • 1957 edition of the Fanny Farmer Cookbook with my grandmother’s and mother’s recipe alterations handwritten in the margins
  • The bit I trained two horses with
  • Klein bag with my well broken in sable brushes
  • The hatchet my great grandfather used to build his house
  • The Ball jar that I keep all of my flash drives in
  • Family Bible
  • Moleskine journal I kept while traveling in Uganda
  • First fabric sample produced by with my design for Ugandan tailors
  • iPhone

20. Designer + Brand Director / Ryan Hahn


  • Vintage top from my childhood
  • Ray Ban glasses, blind without them
  • Antlers 
  • Photo I took of my friend Michelle (all photos would be grabbed)
  • Asian ashtray with change
  • keys
  • Cigar keepsake box
  • Fish bone that my grandmother used as a crucifix
  • Banana sculpture by my friend Ismael
  • Ceramic dog (representing my dog who hates to be photographed)
  • Horn
  • Commemorative stamps from the collapse of the Berlin Wall
  • Large bone
  • Vintage Brownie Starflex camera
  • Wood sphere

21. Manager, Annie Leibovitz Studio + Designer / Karen Mulligan


  • Hermès cuffs and watch
  • Pret-a-Surf rashguard and shorts
  • Pret-a-Surf inspiration book
  • Pret-a-Surf wax
  • My copy of Nancy Drew’s Guide to Life
  • Sky-high Prada espadrilles
  • Smith’s Rosebud salve lip balm
  • Balenciaga bag

22. Photographer / Mikael Kennedy


  • Large Olive Green Filson Duffel
  • 6 boxes of my Polaroids (I only could fit 6 out of the 18 that are full, priorities include, edit for next show & Passport to Trespass book edits)
  • Workbook from ‘The Odysseus’ photo series
  • St. Christopher Necklace given to me by an old friend when he was done traveling and had settled down
  • Grandfathers Timex (still broken)
  • Small tin of dirt from the Santuario De Chimayo in Chimayo, NM
  • Black Polaroid SX70 Special Edition
  • Custom Polaroid case from Strawfoot Handmade
  • Two bricks of the last Polaroid 779 batches ever made (Expiration Date 09)
  • Wallet
  • Keys to my Chevy
  • Harddrive with latest backup from computer
  • iPhone
  • First edition of Johnny Dark’s ‘People I may know’ published by Little Bear Press

23. CEO + Co-Founder, Moda Operandi / Aslaug Magnsdottir


  • Bright pink Matthew Williamson cape
  • High heel Christian Louboutin gladiator sandals
  • Black crocodile clutch Celestina
  • House of Waris plumage brass and black diamond pavé bracelet and ring
  • Gold and diamond Baron ring
  • iPad

24. Fashion / Foster Huntington


  • My Grandfather’s Explorer Scout Shirt
  • Naked and Famous Jeans
  • Zeiss 35mm f/2
  • Nike SFB boots
  • Ralph Lauren Alligator Belt
  • Leatherman Wave Black 
  • One basalt rock from the Columbia River Gorge
  • One shell from Nicaragua
  • Three shells and one stone from the Maine coast
  • 45 RPM Orange Bandanna
  • Vintage Woolrich Horse skin hunting gloves
  • LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive (all of my photos and image research)
  • Rolex Submariner Date with Zulu Ballistic Nylon Band
  • Oakley Razor Blades
  • Ernest Thompson Seaton, “Two Little Savages” (well worth a read)
  • iPhone 4

25. Designer + Artist / Bryan Bowie


  • Leatherman PST – Their first model, and my first Leatherman, handed down.
  • Dad’s Bolle’s – From early 80s. 
  • Grandfather’s WWII Leather Photo Pouch. 
  • Final Prototype Of First/Flagship Tipton & Co. Wallet .
  • Parker 51 Fountain Pen.
  • Moleskine & Dog Tag & Foot print from my best, and one of my oldest friends, Buster (a plotthound).  We had to put him down last year.
  • One of my Grandfather’s smaller ink pieces.
  • Small Portfolio – Stuffed with my own work and select negatives. 
  • Small Wooden Box – Things that have poured out of my head from the last 2-3 years, cards from parents, and misc. things like that. 
  • The Thing – natural sculpture, driftwood. 
  • Hard Drive – 3TB in Rosewill enclosure.
  • The Yearling – First edition from my Grandmother.
  • Grandfather’s issued Navy Watch Cap & Blanket.
  • Camera Bag 
  • Contents: Nikon F3HP (hard to replace in good shape, otherwise I wouldn’t care). 
  • Leica M3 (I could let this go honestly, but it’s always in the bag so I included it). 
  • Weston Master 5 meter. If you find one, buy one. Never had a better meter.
  • Leica M6 + 40 Cron – I’ve had a camera in my hand since I was a teenager, and  the lens was a gift.

26. Photographer / Claiborne Swanson Frank


  • Summer hat
  • Rag & Bone linen boots
  • Sunglasses
  • Boat shoes
  • Plaid linen Isabel Marant top
  • Native American cuff

27. Graphic Designer / Emilio Lenzi


  • Headphones and iPod Touch
  • Moleskine, my interactive agenda (and pen)
  • Thriller LP
  • Mac Book Pro
  • Superga shoes
  • Origenes Tobacco
  • Casio
  • Lomo Fish Eye
  • Persol eyeglasses
  • Ray Ban Clubmaster sunglasses
  • My bible, Paul Arden – Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite
  • Clipper lighter, that looks like me
  • Gucci by Gucci
  • My favorite denim shirt
  • A painting by Sten & Lex

28. Co-Owner, SATURDAYS Surf New York / Morgan Collett


  • Converse shoes

29. Stock, Vintage Menswear Store / Melissa Howard


  • 1930’s Spalding Shawl Collar Sweater
  • 1920’s JC Penny Leather Jacket
  • 1940’s Chippewa Engineer Boots
  • 1940’s LL Bean Duffle Bag
  • 1950’s Rolex Oyster Army Watch
  • Credit Card Case
  • Faded Blue Bandanas
  • Early Carhartt Bandanas
  • Early Leather Jacket & Overall Salesman Samples
  • Early Beaver State Pendleton Blanket
  • Early Carved African American Mechanical Toy
  • 1906 Hickory Cane with Carved Handle

30. Architect / Merie W Matta


  • selected sketchbooks from architecture school + WD hard drive containing every drawing I’ve ever made
  • B+L red cat-eyes
  • ever-present turquoise rings
  • assorted personal ephemera, mostly photographic history
  • minolta SLR, formerly my mother’s
  • gifted leather klein tools toolbag
  • dogeared selection of favorite books
  • trusted phone and well-worn wallet
  • italian knit fisherman’s sweater from salvation army
  • two most loved pairs of shoes: beat up brogues + all-star hi tops
  • architectural model from my senior thesis, made of paper and gold leaf
  • feline companion

Final Thoughts and Inspiration

Here’s a portion of the quote about things we cannot live without by Stylish Technology Entrepreneur and World Traveler Colin Wright via the interview.

Figure out who you are, what you stand for and why. Build your life around that, and make sure that every aspect of your life shouts your message loud and clear. The gear you carry, the clothes you wear, the style of your hair, this is all part of that total picture.

Be practical (whatever that means for you, your life and your profession) and own it.

Don’t follow trends, unless you want to look like everyone else who follows trends. Uniqueness doesn’t have a season or go out of style.

The clothes don’t make the man, the man makes the life that’s emphasized by the clothes. A style without purpose is like a person without content: interesting for a few minutes, but incredibly dull once you make it past “hello.”

– Colin Wright

Last but not the least, don’t be content with simply imitating other people’s captured photos. Use a different lens or angle of view.. more artistically different from your last shot. For more still life images in the fashion world, drop by to view their amazing photography. If you’re curious about our lead image showing Colin Wright and want to find out more, do check out his blog wherein I am an avid reader myself.

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