Photography at home: ideas to keep you snapping

7 great photography projects to keep you occupied while at home

Self-isolating during this unusual time will be difficult for most of us, especially if you feel like your creativity is draining away. If you’re stuck indoors, you might find that you’re running low on ideas to keep you going through the day. Conversely, you might be working from home and bursting full of exciting new thoughts of things to do to keep you ticking away. Whether either of these relate to you, or whether you’re somewhere in between, this article may come in handy.

We’ve put together a list of practical photography tips and photography ideas for you to try out at home. It doesn’t matter if you’re an amateur photographer, a freelancer or someone who got a DSLR for Christmas and hasn’t had much time to use it yet.

1) Bokeh

Bokeh is one of the most popular photography techniques out there. If youre just getting started with photography, then this is a really nice project to try out. 

The term bokeh originates from Japan and literally means “blur”. Youll probably be familiar with the out-of-focus bokeh effect, even if you didnt know the actual name for it.  When done properly, bokeh should separate your subject from your background; with the background appearing out of focus or blurry.

Bokeh is rendered by the lens, not the camera. You’ll need a lens with wide aperture to get the best bokeh shot. Remember, the smaller the aperture number, the larger the aperture, so try out f/1.8 or f/2.8 for size.

If youve got some fairy lights at home, then these can give you a really nice background to practice bokeh with. Position your subject close to the camera to focus on, with your fairy lights hanging in the background. The end result should be really nice on the eye!

Bokeh with fairy lights

Akshar Dave, Unsplash.

2) Water droplets

For those of us who are finding life at home more boring than some, you can find inspiration in the simplest of things. Even if its water dripping from the tap.

You can capture water droplets falling and get some really impressive shots. It can be a bit of work to get the image just right, but the end result is worth it!

Try holding up a tub of water with a small hole in the bottom to allow the water to drip through. Youll need to use both your flash and shutter speed to help capture the moment. Set your speedlight or flashlight low and your shutter speed to around half a second.

The hardest thing is to time the shutter as the droplet lands. If you want to help make this less difficult, you can mix your water with xanthan gum or use milk as an alternative. The thicker the liquid, the easier it should be to capture the droplets. If you really want to get creative, then you can try mixing your water with food colouring.

Water droplet photography

Erda Estremera, Unsplash

3) Views from your window

Sometimes the most interesting scenes are closer than we think. Even if you cant head outside, theres no reason why you cant bring the beauty of the outdoors into your home.

It doesnt matter if the view outside of your window is of rolling fields or of a rain-soaked street, every picture can tell a story.

Try shooting under different conditions and from different rooms to see different results. An early morning shot might show a great contrast with a dark evening for example. Play around and see what you can produce and feel free to show us on our social channels!

View from outside of your window

Robert Wingate, Unsplash

4) Still life photography

The basic premise of still life photography is to create a story or an image, rather than capturing a moment in real-time. 

In this instance, you can use objects around your home and position them to find the perfect composition for you. Remember that youre creating the whole photograph, so perfect your lighting, background and take the time to play around with the framing of your shot.

You can use food, flowers or everyday objects to tell your story. It might even be a good idea to describe your time at home through your still-life photography.

Still-life with fruit

Roberta Sorge, Unsplash

5) Food photography

One way to really impress your Instagram followers is by sharing images of your tastiest dishes.

Weve all logged-in and seen a plate of food that gets our stomachs rumbling. Now, its your turn to make everyone else jealous with these simple tips: 

  • Clean up any spills from around your plate to keep it looking neat
  • Make sure your meal has got a good mix of colour. Reds, greens and other bright colours look fantastic
  • Get your lighting right. In order to do your food justice, make sure theres plenty of light!
  • Experiment with different angles

You can even get creative by slicing up foods such as onions and kiwis into very thin slices and shooting them on a lightbox, with your camera suspended directly from above for birds-eye view.

Food photography

Patrick Browne, Unsplash

6) Flowers

One of the most classic and traditional ideas for portrait paintings and photographs is a pot of flowers. The chances are that you’ve already taken a few choice pictures of flowers and flower arrangements – but hey, what’s the harm in a few more?

Still-life photography

The thing with still-life photography is that it takes time to get right. You want your composition to be just right; whether it’s the background, the subject or the lighting. Everything needs to be positioned and adjusted to be able to tell the perfect story. The great thing about being at home is that you can take as long as you need to get the scene as you’d like it.

Place your flowers on a windowsill, a table or mantelpiece, or even something more imaginative to tell your story.

Flowers on ice

One really cool idea excuse the pun is to freeze your flowers. Place your flowers in water and freeze them to add some creativity to your flower photography. Keep in mind that flowers will float as soon as you put them into water, so you might need to fasten them in place.

When they’ve completely frozen, try and bounce light through the ice and shoot the flowers from opposite side to capture the perfect moment.

Flowers in ice

Noelle Vandenbroucke, Unsplash

7) Macro photography

Macro photography is really fun. With macro photography, youre essentially making smaller objects appear much larger. You can take close-up shots of fruit, vegetables and other food to start with, before moving onto more interesting subjects.

The key thing with macro photography is to shoot from directly above your subject, using a shallow depth of field. 

Other photography ideas:

Aside from photography projects, here are a few other ideas to keep you occupied over the next few weeks.

Back-up your hard drive

If you've got several folders worth of your images sat on your desktop then now is a good time to back them up. Plug your external hard drive into your PC or laptop and back up your precious images just in case. Youd rather be safe than sorry!

Find online courses to study

You may even be able to find some online photography courses to study in the meantime. You can study photo editing courses to brush up on your Photoshop or Lightroom techniques. Theres even plenty of helpful Youtube channels dedicated to providing free tutorials to photographers if you wanted to make your spare-time as productive as it can be.

Clean your camera kit

If youre going to be giving your flat or house a deep-clean, then why not give your camera gear a good once-over?

Its important to keep your camera equipment properly maintained, but youll need to be careful. Use cotton wool buds to clean the camera body and lens cloths for to remove any dust from your lenses.

If youve got any swabs and specific camera cleaning kit to hand, then give that a go and keep your kit looking as good as new.

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