Stuck At Home?
Are the rains playing spoilsport again? Sarang Naik gives you 15 photography ideas to make the most of your time indoors.
This article was originally published in July 2014.
Monsoon is the season of foiled plans and dull weekends. On a Sunday morning, you decide to go out for a shoot. You pack your bags and get ready. Then it starts pouring cats and dogs and suddenly, you are stuck at home for what is bound to be a long and agonisingly boring day.
But don’t let the rain gods ruin your photographic plans. Who says you can’t shoot fun projects at home? Here are a few tips to help you make the most of a day spent indoors.
1. Shoot the Mundane Objects of Your House
Have you ever looked closely at the walls and furniture of your house? They make great abstract subjects. Get quirky and include the cleaning marks and cobwebs in your images.
2. Explore the Window Garden
From flowers to insects, there is a world of beautiful things to shoot in your indoor garden. Flowers look really fresh after the rain. Go up close and also include the raindrops on petals. Search for insects like jumping spiders or mantises lurking in your flower pots. They make for great macro subjects.
3. Raid the Kitchen
No matter where you live, your kitchen is bound to be a lively place full of clutter. Look for colours and patterns that stand out. Shoot the cutlery, the food or just the mess.
4. Capture All 26 Letters of the Alphabet
This is a really fun challenge. Find objects in your house that look like one of the 26 letters. Search every nook and cranny. Keep the composition simple. Shoot them against the same background and with the same settings.
If you have trouble finding a letter, then form the shape with whatever materials you have at hand. In this way, you can also create words and sentences.
5. Shoot the View From Your Window
You don’t have to be out in the rain to photograph the drama. Peep out from the window and maybe even include it in the frame to give the images a different perspective. You could also shoot through textured glass or a transparent umbrella.
6. Build a Light Box and Shoot Products
A simple light tent or light box can be made with a cardboard and butter paper or a white cotton cloth. Use flashguns, CFLs or even table lamps to light the products. You can make reflectors by wrapping silver foil over cardboard sheets.
Shoot everything shiny you can find from wristwatches to perfume bottles. Try to make the visual treatment similar to an advertisement.
7. Build a Makeshift Portrait Studio
Use white bedsheets and mirrors as your light modifiers. Turn colourful bedsheets into the studio backdrop or custom dye your own backdrop.
Do a crash course on posing for portraits with your friends or family. Think creatively and make optimum use of your equipment. Having multiple lights helps, but even if you have a single flashgun, you can still get beautiful, diffused light by bouncing it off the ceiling or walls.
8. Shoot With the Least Used Lens
Dust off the grime from a lens that you rarely take out. Challenge yourself to work around its limitations and find good pictures.
9. Make Collages With Cellphone Photos
Use a collage-making app or good old Photoshop to create funky collages from your cellphone images. Select a particular collage format (square with four photos works very well) and compose new images with that collage in mind. Make sure that the app you are using does not reduce the picture quality.
10. Or Make a Patchwork Photo Montage
Photograph a scene in parts with a telephoto lens and then merge all the parts together with the help of Photoshop or a photo-stitching software. Shoot several overlapping images so that you will have more options while postprocessing.
11. Try Out Freelensing
A quick and easy technique, freelensing lets you turn your normal lens into a tilt lens. Hold the disconnected lens in front of the camera and turn it at an angle to get the tilt effect. It creates a shallow depth of field and makes life-sized objects look much smaller.
12. Collaborate With Your Buddies
Call up a friend and ask him or her to make an interesting image. Shoot another image yourself and make a diptych from both the images. You can invite more people to shoot and create collages from them. You can also decide on a theme in advance.
13. Become an Architectural Photographer
Have you ever tried to shoot architectural images but never had access to good shooting locations? Well, start with your own home! Use a wide angle lens or rent or borrow if you don’t have one. You can also make panoramas to capture larger expanses. Use HDR or multiple flashguns to get professional results.
14. Learn a New Postprocessing Technique
Use your free time to learn and perfect the Photoshop technique that daunts you the most. Watch tutorials online and read about layer masks, perspective control and histograms. Your images will thank you for it.
15. Enter an Ongoing Photo Contest
There are several free-to-enter photography contests on the web. You can also contact local photography associations and ask about ongoing photography salons and exhibitions.
Read the terms and conditions carefully before you enter. Be very critical when reviewing and selecting your photos and send out only the best ones.
Fun DIY Ideas To Try At Home
- Make a Photo Calendar: There are several websites that help you do this. You just need to select a template and upload your images, or create a design of your own in Photoshop. Gift the copies to your family and friends.
- Make a Pinhole Camera: It’s simple and fun! There are several easy methods available on the internet that make use of stuff lying around the house. Experiment with exposures ranging from a few seconds to a few months.
- Make an LCD Viewfinder: No more squinting at the camera’s LCD screen in bright sunshine. Just build a viewfinder from a cardboard sheet or a plastic box. You can also use the eye cup and magnifying glass from a pair of toy binoculars. Dull and diffused light is best for black and white photography.