TABLE TOP PHOTOGRAPHY – Coastal Framing and Design
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Table top photography is easy to achieve so get excited as I lead you on the journey of how to master it in a few easy steps. Would you like to fill a blank wall in your home for Christmas OR have your printed and framed masterpiece delivered directly to a friend or family member as a unique, personal and affordable Christmas gift? When you master this skill and combine it with our print and frame packages, you can have your own photo creations showcased on any wall so quickly and easily.

And it’s all very achievable for everyone, whether you are a novice photographer, an expert or a professional photographer. So get cracking because Christmas is just around the corner.


Here I’ve selected three of my favourites from my still life table top photography shoot. Our Love it Frame It shop online has created a neat photo wall for an empty wall in an apartment. 3 x medium frames, white matting, oak frames with total price $297 delivered to your door.

1. FIND A STILL LIFE SUBJECT for your table top photography.

Look around the house for everyday things. You may like to make a collection to tell a story to master your table top photography.

  • A bowl of fruit (go to the shops and buy fresh)
  • A flower arrangement – real or artificial.
  • A collection of money
  • Cutlery 
  • Glass bowls, or wine glasses
  • An arrangement of books, favourite ornaments or a shell collection.
  • Perfume bottles in the bathroom 
  • Cocktails or mocktails in glasses decorated with those little extras
  • Bottles- Gin bottles are gorgeous and there’s some fabulous spirit bottles around at the moment with various unique and translucent colours and shapes. 


What type of table do you have on hand?

I sat my native, eucalyptus arrangement on our low coffee table in the middle of the lounge room.  You can use any table, but a white or a rustic timber one is great.  Whatever you choose, give it a wipe down to prevent spots showing up in the photo as your table top is most important in this photographic exercise.


All photography depends on light and the way it interacts with the subject. I set up my table with the sliding glass window on the right hand side. This let the even, filtered light come in to the room from the balcony. I’ve done lots of tabletop photography in other spaces where I’ve photographed directly into the light, light from the side, light from above or even underneath on a glass top table. It’s important to find the best composition where the light plays with your subject in order to master table top photography.


The backdrop can change the whole look of your still life subject.

In the past, some would use a black sheet of perspex for tabletop photography, but I’ve discovered that the black, TV screen created a great back drop for my composition. Move your table in front of the TV and use a lower table if you need. 

You could even drape a white sheet over the TV to create a white background. One step further, you could have your smart TV set on a screen saver that you choose, such as a sunset, or a forest of trees.  That could be my next challenge.  

Also, if you have roll down blinds that are flat and even, try that as a background. Place your table in front of the closed blind for an even, lighter look to your still life on your table top. Other interesting backdrops are the shine from the fridge, the wire from a screen door or taking your image straight into the light behind your object.

5. CREATE AND ARRANGE YOUR STORY for your table top photography.

I separated the stems, flowers and gum nuts so the black background was showing through. I did a bit more fluffing around with the arrangement and then started taking photos. Sitting on the adjacent couch at the level of the arrangement, I was shooting straight into the black background. I had my 35mm – 70mm zoom lens which allowed some close up, definition work.  I tend to sit and photograph the same thing, over and over, just changing the setting slightly each time to achieve a different image. Don’t hesitate to shuffle things around if you think it will make a better composition. Just keep working on the images and at the end, keep the ones you like.


It’s quite OK to set your camera on auto, photo mode or Portrait mode on a smart phone.

Even though I usually use my zoom, stabilizing 35mm x 70mm lens on my Canon 6D, there’s no reason why you can’t do this with your camera set on auto. This just depends on where you are at with your photography.  You can always go to YouTube or Google and learn more about how to use your individual camera. Whatever you use, vary what you do and experiment in the following ways:  

Change your 

  • physical distance and move in close to the subject – depth of field.
  • change what you focus on 
  • work on your composition 
  • find textures and shapes in your subject
  • Shoot from a different angle – above, (stand on the couch) sideways, from below looking up.
  • Try the ‘P’ or program setting which gives the result of BOKEH.  
  • Your iphone set on ‘portrait’ will also give the BOKEH affect. 
Make your images look more professional as you master the skill of Bokeh, which is that blur in the background when you discover table top photography.


Let’s get creative

This is my favourite trick for my abstract tabletop photography. 

Bokeh comes from the Japanese language and is defined as “the effect of a soft out-of-focus background that you get when shooting a subject, using a fast lens. Simply put, bokeh is the creative quality of out-of-focus blur in a photograph.

8. SPECIAL EFFECTS – use your imagination 

-Use a glass bottle or salad bowl to find a reflection as you shoot through to your still life.  Play with the light. 

-Grab some foil out of the cooking cupboard and play around with making a reflector to shine light onto your subject. Wrap it over the chopping board, or a cook book so that it can stand up. 

-Splash some water onto your subject and photograph the droplets as they catch the light.


Table top photography is about practice. Just have fun with your smart phone camera, or your SLR.  Find new ways of taking photographs of still life on the tabletop. 

When you tire of your first attempt, change your subject.  Re arrange the still life and use a different light source. My next series is going to be my perfume bottles so watch my instagram space to see what I come up with.

I find that I can sit and shoot the same subject for an hour.  I change the light, the angle, the distance, the composition. Get to know your subject inside outing just PLAY with your settings and composition.  

Photography is about patience.  Don’t expect to get your masterpiece shot in five minutes. Practice and practice.  Learn to see differently and take your time. 


Our print and frame on line shop has been very successful over the past twelve months. This site is ideal if you would like to have your favourite ‘table top’ images printed, framed and sent directly to your friends or family for Christmas. The three sizes combined also makes a perfect photo wall for you to enjoy your favourite photos on the wall.

We are keeping the prices in our LOVE IT FRAME IT store the same until the New Year. Be quick and jump on board, upload your table top photography images and enjoy them on your wall.

These are such value for money, all being printed and framed in our print studio and custom framed in our workshop.

The small print and frame package start at a low, $59 which is the perfect gift, wrapped in its own box and couriered to the address you give us.

Learn more about still life compositions here.

Until next time, with passion…..




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Coastal Framing and Design