HOW TO... Home Photography Projects

We've got some great camera-based activities to try at home

Home Photography Projects
Tutorial

With much of the world in lockdown, photographers are finding their choice of photographic subjects more limited than usual. However, there are still plenty of interesting photographic opportunities and projects that you can try. Here are a few we’ve come up with, we’ll add more over the coming days.

Sony Alpha a7 III sample image

1. Shoot portraits in your garden

You can shoot a portrait anywhere in your house but it’s nice to get outside for a bit of fresh air. Also, shooting outside captures a little sense of escapism while still staying within Government guidelines.

Another great thing about shooting outside is that there’s plenty of light. You can use a flash or a reflector if you want to inject a little extra illumination, but you can also manage without.

If you can’t persuade anyone to pose for you, try a self-portrait. You can just use the self-timer, but if you connect your camera to your smartphone via Wi-Fi you’ll have more control and be able to check the focus and composition are what you want.

Shooting a portrait is also a great excuse to have a bit of fun with your clothes. You could choose to shoot your every-day wear, but you can also try something a bit different too.

Read how to shoot outdoor portraits for tips on lens choice, shooting angle and how to get great results.

How to get still images from 4K video
Image by Ross Grieve

2. Capture water splashes

Whether they’re coming from a water pistol, a hose, an exploding balloon or something dropping into a glass, water splashes make great photographs. However, using traditional methods require careful timing and can be very tricky if you’re shooting by yourself.

Fortunately, 4K video technology makes things a lot easier, effectively increasing the shooting rate to 30 frame per second. Pro photographer Ross Grieve explains how to get still images from 4K video.

How to set up the Nikon D850 Timelapse Movie mode: interval time

3. Shoot a time-lapse video

Time-lapse videos compress events that happen over a long period of time into a few minutes or seconds. In just a minute, for example, you can see how flowers wilt over the course of a few days.

Time-lapse videos are also great fun to shoot and they’re an ideal way to record lockdown activities such as baking a cake, doing a jigsaw or the kids building something from Lego.

Some cameras and many smartphones have a time-lapse video mode or intervalometer built-in. Alternatively, you can use an external intervalometer, or if your subject is moving slowly enough (or you use a stop-motion technique) you can shoot stills to join into a video.

Follow the link for the full details of how to shoot a timelapse video

How to create a coloured background using lights
Image by Robert Pugh

4. Create a coloured background with light

We tend to assume that the background of an image has to be the colour of whatever is in the background, but if you use lights with coloured gels you can change its colour to make something a bit more interesting.

Pro photographer Robert Pugh explains how to create a coloured background using lights.

Woodland shot with Intentional Camera Movement

5. Shoot with Intentional Camera Movement

Intentional camera movement, or ICM, is a fun technique that goes against the grain of traditional photography. Instead of trying to keep the camera still during the exposure, you move it to introduce blur. The fun part is that no two images are the same. There’s also plenty of scope to experiment with different exposures, the direction of the movement and the degree of blur.

Follow the link to read our simple guide to intentional camera movement.

How to find your safe shutter speed

6. Find your safe shutter speed

In-camera and lens-based stabilisation systems have really come on in the last few years, enabling you to get sharp images when using much slower shutter speeds than in the past. However, it means that the convenient guide of using a shutter speed of at least 1 second divided by the focal length of the lens has gone by the wayside.

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to find your safe hand-holdable shutter speed, you just need a bit of time with your camera and each lens. Read how to find your safe shutter speed for the full details.

How to set-up Nikon DSLRs for wireless flash
Nikon D500, 105mm f/1.4E lens and SB5000 flashgun off-camera. ISO 50, f/1.4, 1/200th.

7. Recreate Golden Hour Using Flash

The hour after sunrise and before sunset is often called the ‘golden hour’ because of the beautiful warm light that is created by the low sun. It’s ideal for a wide range of photography because the shadows a soften and everything looks a little more romantic.

The problem is that you need the right weather conditions for it to actually happen. And even if you do get the right weather, in summer, golden hour is horribly early and late in the day. However, with the help of some orange gels (or even sweet wrappers), you can recreate the look of golden hours using a flash.

Ideally, you need the flash off-camera, either connected wirelessly to your camera or by a cable. For step-by-step direction and an explanatory video, take a look at How to recreate the golden hour using flash.

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