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Still Life Photography

  • Level(s) of Study: Short course
  • Start Date(s): 15 May 2024
  • Duration: Wednesdays 6 - 8.30 pm, five weeks
  • Study Mode(s): Short course
  • Campus: City Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information


This course will teach you how to capture the beauty of an object in a photograph.

It blends theoretical and practical learning and will appeal to anyone interested in the art of creating still life images and the aesthetics of compositions.

Still life photography can bring inanimate objects to life.

On this course you’ll explore storytelling through different compositions and learn how to work with props and lighting to entice the viewer.

You’ll approach photography from a fine art perspective, giving your work a creative outlet that will appeal to a range of audiences.

  • You’ll be part of a design community in our creative studio culture; one that promotes discussion and collaboration, and encourages experimentation and the constant swapping of ideas.
  • With a limited class size you'll have the one-to-one attention you need to ensure you leave with the skills to continue developing your designs at home or work.
  • Benefit from learning with an experienced tutor who has established links to the profession and significant experience working in varied practices.
  • On successful completion of the course you will receive a certificate of attendance.

What you’ll study

On this course, you will:

  • improve your understanding of digital photography and the manual settings of your camera
  • learn about studio lighting
  • discuss the still life work of photographers and artists through history and into contemporary culture, and look at how they may inform the direction your work takes
  • experiment with abstract shapes, colours and textures through compositions and framing
  • use editing tools such as Photoshop to enhance and manipulate your images
  • develop a personal style to your photography
  • take part in regular individual and group critiques for your own development
  • create inspiring still life images that have both an aesthetic and technical quality.

Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll be studying during the course

Please note that this is only a guide - the programme will keep evolving, as is the nature of short courses.

  • Classroom discussion on composition and framing a still life
  • Practical session in the photography studio
  • Composition images critique
  • Anatomy of a DSLR - getting to know our cameras
  • Understanding Exposure modes classroom discussion.
  • Exposure modes practical in studio
  • Exposure mode images critique
  • Using Aperture Priority and Manual exposure mode classroom discussion
  • Aperture Priority practical session in studio
  • Aperture Priority images critique
  • Shutter speeds and long exposure practical in studio
  • Shutter speeds and long exposure image critique
  • Understanding and using studio lighting classroom discussion/practical.
  • Macro and still-life photography in the studio
  • Individual project work with props.
  • Review and discussion.

How you’re taught

This course will be delivered in person on Nottingham Trent University City Campus.

Further information

By the end of the course, you’ll have a portfolio of unique fine art images, the knowledge and experience of how to plan a shoot in a studio setting and ideas about how to continue your still life photography in the future.

Tutor profile:

Paul Witney has been a professional photographer for over 30 years and teaches on the degree programmes at NTU.

He’s British Institute of Professional Photography qualified to Associate Level, and has worked in such diverse places as Kabul, Afghanistan and Glaciers in Iceland.

He’s had an impressive list of commercial clients including Royal Ordnance, Texaco, Local Councils, British Aerospace, Heckler and Koch, Jane’s Defence review (small arms), Mercedes-Benz UK, Thomas Cook and Nottingham Forest FC.

For eleven years he was also the Head of Photography and Video for a small government organisation.

Please bring with you to the first session:

  • a pen and paper
  • a digital SLR camera (DSLR)
  • an 8GB memory stick
  • a couple of props or small objects you are interested in photographing.

An entry-level DSLR or Compact System Camera with a basic 'kit' lens is the recommended starting point for equipment on this course.

There are a large number of options on the market and, whilst we don't favour any particular brand specifically, Nikon, Canon and Sony are all well regarded.

Owners of mid-range or professional DSLRs/Compact System Cameras are of course also welcome on the course, and during the course we address the pros, cons and differences between more expensive cameras.

We wouldn't recommend upgrading specifically to a more expensive mid-range camera ahead of the course, as these discussions will give valuable insight into your buying decision. If you currently own an ageing entry-level DSLR there is certainly something to be gain from upgrading to a newer model, however it isn't essential to upgrade ahead of the course.

You can always start the course with your existing equipment and consider upgrading during or after the course, armed with all your new knowledge.

Campus and facilities

Entry requirements

Level: Beginner

Entry requirement: You should have some knowledge of using your digital camera in manual mode.

Fees and funding

The fee for this course is £295.

Payment is due at the time of booking.

How to apply