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Simple, uncluttered backgrounds are a fundamental element to most good photos, but they are extremely important in still life images. Here are two examples of effective still life backgrounds.

• Try a seamless black velvet, it will absorb any light hitting it so no shadows or reflections will show up in your photo.

• If you use a white background, you can make it look as if your subject is floating in space by lighting the background separately at two stops brighter.
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Adapted from The Ultimate Field Guide to Photography (National Geographic, 2006; $25)_

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