Photographic Wonders Inside Your Home!
Rochelle Jobard shows you how you can capture seemingly ordinary things inside your home, extraordinarily.
This story was originally published in June 2009.
Remember the time you got your first camera and started shooting things in your house just to experiment? Then confident enough, you ventured outside. But have you thought of going back home again?
You do not need to travel the world to shoot great pictures. Simply walk around your home and you will realise that what you thought was obvious and ordinary, is actually not. Here are some tricks to help you bring out the beauty and uniqueness of the articles around your home.
Give Thought to Your Composition
Since you do not have to think too much about capturing the ‘right moment’ when shooting at home, every aspect of shooting is in your control. You have a choice of deciding the position of a subject, and even the lighting. Make use of a bed sheet or a plain, textured wall as a background and a desk as the base for your subject.
Explore Vantage Points
Your things may look the same to you, because you look at them everyday. But try looking at them from a different perspective this time. Move around and explore various vantage points. How does a table lamp look from the top? What do you see when you look at a basket of fruits from one side? Look for unusual angles; for example, shooting a glass coffee table from below or kitchen vessels from above will give you some unusual yet creative shots.
Focus on Your Favourite Things
A warm cup of chai, your favourite book, your antique rocking chair—possessions like these have personal values attached to them. These have their own stories to tell, which is what makes them great subjects of photography. Jewellery, heirlooms, trophies and other knick-knacks that you might have collected over the years are also great for adding that storytelling-warmth to your pictures. Pay attention to their small details, so that the story can come through effectively.
Play with Light and Shadows
Make the most of the available light in your home. Candles, tungsten bulbs and even sunlight coming through your window are great sources of illumination for any subject you wish to shoot.
For a more artistic touch, include the shadow of the subject in your frame too. For example, you may want to capture a picture of a cup along with its long shadow, which you can get only in the morning or evening, depending on the sunlight falling through your window. You can also place a soft light source behind the subject, to give it a glowing or a halo-like effect. When doing this, switch to spot metering for shooting interesting silhouettes. This technique works well with subjects like vases or cups placed by window sills.
Every Room in Your Home has Photographic Opportunities
Any decorative item like a statue, sculpture or little ornamental possessions placed around your home, would work as a beautiful subject. Try presenting different views of it to bring out its unique, aesthetic details. Use light to enhance the mood of the picture and bring attention to specific parts of a subject; for example, you may want to use soft lighting to highlight only some of its physical features.
Another great way is to move in closer to your subject. Switch your camera to macro mode to shoot stunning close-ups and capture intricate details of your subject. You can also experiment with a shallow depth-of-field by keeping only a certain small area in focus.
Explore Small Corners
There will surely be places in your house that you may not have paid attention to earlier. Observe them closely and you will notice the striking details in the form of rhythm, pattern and harmony. Exploring the corners of your room, inside your drawers or shelves and behind frames will open your eyes to the various possibilities of shooting.
Take in Your Environment
Remember to focus on space too! Capture your subjects in their natural space by zooming out a little or using a wide frame. Your workspace at home, the kitchen, kids’ study area and play area have numerous potential subjects. Use a wide frame to include their surroundings in the image, to complement them and tell a story.
You can also emphasise on the various characteristics of your home through different angles like your house steps, windows and doors, beams on your ceiling, archways and more.
Use Reflections and Illusions
The mirrors in your house can be real fun to shoot with! Put your subject in front of a mirror and capture only its reflection in your frame. The reflection could even complete the subject by reflecting its other half, adding to symmetry.
Also look for objects that show reflections when viewed from a certain angle like a bowl of water or a shiny surface. For instance, try shooting a reflection of your ceiling in a bowl of water for an interesting perspective!
Shoot Creative Compositions
Avoid cluttering your photographs. Capturing your subjects in isolation will help them stand out better. Do this by placing the subjects alone in the corner of your frame. Try to have one or minimal subjects as this would lend a stronger impact to your picture. A plain wall as the background can also help reduce clutter. Pay attention to lighting whether natural or artificial as well, and keep it understated.
So now that you have an idea of how you can shoot amazing photographs without taking a step outside your house, go ahead and have fun with your camera!
Shoot Antiques and Old Things in B&W
Black and white is perfect for shooting images of antiques and old things inside your house. It emphasises the aged and rustic quality of the subjects. Consider shooting collections of gramophone records, old books, smoking pipes, telephones, monocles, grandfather clocks and watches for maximum effect.