Over the past few months, social distancing measures have meant that most of us have been spending more time than usual at home. While this has flipped plenty of routines on their heads and resulted in boredom for many, there is one silver lining for photographers: Having the time to work on your photography skills.
Spending most of your time indoors is the perfect opportunity to get better acquainted with your camera gear and learn how to take creative photos you’ll treasure for years to come. To explain exactly how to do this, we’ve teamed up with the experts at Ted’s Cameras. From light painting to DIY camera obscuras, discover their 5 top creative photoshoot ideas to try at home below.
1. Experiment with water
Water droplets and splashes may seem like boring, everyday occurrences, but look again and you’ll find that they make interesting, unpredictable photography subjects. Water drop photography is a great way to develop your macro photography skills, and can result in some stunning images – so long as you protect your gear from getting wet!
For successful water photography, you’ll need a mirrorless or DSLR camera, tripod, flash gun with a wireless trigger, and a remote control. Place a small container of liquid in front of a wall, then set up your camera so that the flash bounces off the wall. Using an eyedropper, make droplets in the water and use your remote control to capture the moment when the drops hit the liquid and make a splash.
Top Tip: For best results, use a fast shutter speed of around 1/250 a second, and practice till you get the perfect shot.
2. Try your hand at miniature still-life art
When it comes to unusual yet brilliant photoshoot ideas, it doesn’t get any quirkier than miniature still-life. Hone your macro photography skills further by crafting careful still-life masterpieces out of miniature models, architectural figurines, or even your kids’ toys.
Use a tripod and macro lens to get an up close and personal view, and arrange your miniatures in fun and interesting scenarios. This photography exercise is a good opportunity to experiment with unconventional angles and composition, and can teach you lessons that you can also apply to regular photography.
3. Build a DIY camera obscura
Ever wondered how to make a camera obscura? Making this handy optical instrument, which artists usually use to create quick sketches that form the base of a more complex artwork, is actually a lot easier than it sounds. All you need is a window, some cardboard, gaffer tape, and a pair of scissors. For best results, choose a small room with a single window if possible.
To build your camera obscura, start by blacking out the window completely with cardboard and gaffer tape. Then, use the scissors to cut a small hole in the centre of the cardboard. After a few minutes, the scene outside your window will be reflected on your opposing walls, giving you a chance to experiment with smartphone images, long exposures, or even time lapse photography of the project images.
Top Tip: Have kids or young teenagers? Blu-Tac some tracing paper to the walls and let them trace the projected images.
4. Experiment with light painting
Have a portable LED light or small LED torch and want to experiment with lighting? Position yourself within a dark space and use the torch to spell out words or make specific shapes that can then be captured by your camera.
For the best light paintings, set your camera up on a tripod and ensure that it is set to a slow shutter speed. Also ensure that your camera is on “Bulb” or long exposure (15 – 30 seconds) mode, and adjust your other shooting settings accordingly. Once you’re happy with the settings, use a remote to press your camera’s shutter and start “painting” with your light source.
Top Tip: For more defined light shapes, trace your light source around an object or prop that’s somewhere within view.
5. Get creative with mirrors
Mirror photography is a fun and easy way to add an extra dimension to your images, particularly if you’re looking for creative kids photography ideas. A handheld mirror, freestanding mirror, or even your bathroom mirror can be used to achieve a range of effects that are suitable for portrait photography or more abstract images alike.
Whether you want to create symmetry, abstractions, or use mirrors to reflect light trails, the only limitation to this particular photography technique is your imagination.
Get creative with our photography exercises at home
While being stuck indoors isn’t ideal for everyone, there’s no shortage of creative photography ideas to do at home. The fun photography exercises outlined above are a fantastic way to keep the creative juices flowing while social distancing, and can help you develop photography skills you’ll use for years to come.
Follow the photography tips in our list to keep boredom at bay today, or visit the Ted’s Cameras blog for more inspiration and photography advice.
Written by Ted’s Cameras