The inspiration for this article was the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic with many of us being socially distanced at home. However, any of the home photography ideas in this article are applicable whenever you are at home, and looking for some inspiration for your creative photography.
Garden & House Plants
Our first of our home photography ideas are garden flowers (see feature image). If you are lucky enough to have your own garden then you can get some great shots of plants & flowers. If you don’t have a garden, then you can still get great photos with some careful composition to get the backgrounds right.
1) Macro lenses are ideal for this type of photography, as they let you capture a lot of detail that you wouldn’t necessarily see by the naked eye. If you don’t have a macro lens, however, then any medium focal length lens will be just fine. Modern smartphones are superb for this type of photography!
2) Use a tripod if you have one, particularly if working outdoors. The combination of plant movements in the breeze, as well as camera shake, makes it difficult to get sharp shots of flowers without a tripod.
3) For lower light situations, use a ring light to illuminate the flower, as they give a more natural effect than a flash. However, if you are using a flash, then use a diffuser so that the light is not so harsh.
4) Set the camera to Aperture Priority mode and set the aperture to the lowest native setting your lens will allow. Keeping the depth of field low will help the flowers stand out by blurring the background.
The recipe for great photos of match strikes includes a little trial and error, and a bit of luck. With a little perseverance though, you will be able to capture some great shots. Matches are therefore the next in our lineup of home photography ideas. Because the images are more abstract, you don’t need to worry about precise focusing, a little blur actually adds to the aesthetics of the final image.
1) Mount your camera on a tripod.
2) Use a dark backdrop to make the colors of the match strike stand out.
3) I recommend a medium focal length telephoto or telephoto zoom for this type of photography as you can create a distance between the camera and the striking match. Also, the actual match strike is not going to be at a specific focus point, a telephoto will naturally increase your depth of field, giving you more margin for error.
4) Set the camera to shutter priority and start with the fastest native shutter speed you can achieve. You may need to experiment with different shutter speeds.
5) Use manual focus and focus on a match head at about the right distance that it will be struck.
6) It helps if you have a person to help, so they can strike the match for you leaving you in control of the camera. If not though, use a remote shutter to set the camera to multi-shot so that you capture several images. This will better guarantee that at least one is a good shot.
Timing is everything when photographing water splashes, but with a little trial and error, and the use of a few standard household items, you will soon get some great shots.
If photographing indoors, you will need a tray to hold the water in, if outside in your garden, then you can pretty much set up near any water, such as a puddle, pond, etc. You will need something to create regular drips of water, so if indoors a kitchen tap, or a food bag with a pin-hole. If outdoors a hosepipe is ideal.
1) Mount your camera on a tripod.
2) A macro lens is ideal for this type of photography, but not essential if you don’t have one.
3) Use a remote shutter control to avoid camera movement Setting your camera to multi-shot will yield the best. results as it maximizes your chances of getting the timing just right on at least one shot.
4) Set your camera to speed priority, and set the frame rate to at least 1/250th of a second.
5) Use manual focus.
6) The use of a flashgun or supplemental lighting will create more interest in your images.
Shooting through windowpanes is particularly effective on rainy days. You can either shoot from the comfort of your home at the scene outside or the other way around. The technique is the same either way, whereby you focus on the beads of water on the windowpane using a very shallow depth of field. The subject on the other side of the glass will then blur making for an interesting composition.
1) Camera set to Aperture Priority Mode.
2) A Macro Lens is ideal for this style of photography due to the small focal distances of these lenses, but if you don’t have one of these lenses, then any medium focal length lens from around 35mm to 100mm will work.
3) Set the f-stop to the lowest setting your lens will allow.
4) Use manual focus and focus on the water droplets.
5) Don’t limit your shots to inanimate objects, try shooting people or moving subjects.
If you are lucky enough to have a garden or even a balcony, then you can get some really great bird pictures at home. Of course, it helps if you have been attracting birds to your home over some time through feeding. To do the subject of bird photography justice, it needs a book, but the following are a few basic tips.
1) Camera set to Speed Priority and use a nice fast shutter speed such as 1/200th of a second. This will help you capture the action and also help reduce any camera shake.
2) To get close-ups, you are going to need a long telephoto zoom, preferably 300mm to 500mm.
3) If you are trying to capture a shot in a particular location (e.g. a regularly used perch), then use a tripod. In lower light conditions, notch the ISO up to say 400 to 600 to help maintain a reasonable depth of field.
4) Maintaining space between the camera and the subject, and the subject and its background will help to blur the background. This will help the subject stand out.
5) Avoid harsh light conditions (such as mid-day in bright sun), as this can cause over-exposures on highlights.
Photographs done with candlelight as the only light source, give you an ethereal quality to the image. There is a range of techniques you can go for, from something abstract as in the image above, or something more conventional as in the cover image for this article.
1) Mount your camera on a tripod if you have one, and if so, use a remote shutter.
2) If using a tripod, set the ISO to around 400 to 600, if you are not, then you may need to notch the ISO higher.
3) For abstract photos: Use a Macro or alternatively a faster lens such as 50mm.
4) Set the camera to Aperture Priority, and set the lowest native setting e.g. f1.8. You can also experiment a little here, particularly if on a tripod, by setting to the highest f-stop e.g. f22. This will help you get little starbursts, as the light refracts off the lens shutter at higher f-stops.
5) For portrait photos with candles: Use a fast lens such as 50mm. This will help you get a natural blur behind the subject. Set the camera to Aperture Priority, and set the lowest native setting e.g. f1.8.
Oil In Water
If you have a macro lens for your camera, then photographing oil in water can be a lot of fun. Because a macro allows you to focus on much smaller objects, it is ideal for this more abstract style of photography. To get started, choose a container such as a tray or glass and add water, and then a little washing-up liquid. Next, add a few drops of an oil-based product such as olive oil.
1) Camera fitted with a Macro Lens ideally 50-100mm focal length.
2) The use of supplemental lighting from either a photography lamp or torch across the surface of the water or below the water level will add interest.
3) The use of a tripod is ideal, but if you don’t have one, try resting the camera on a cushion or similar object for stability.
4) The use of a remote shutter release will also avoid you from adding unwanted movement.
5) Use manual focus and focus on the oil droplets.
6) Shoot in Aperture Priority with your camera set to the lowest aperture possible to limit the depth of field.
The final suggestion for home photography ideas is smoke. One of the easiest ways to photograph smoke is to use an incense stick, as they yield lots of lovely delicate trails of smoke, over a long duration. For best results, you want to photograph against a dark background as it accentuates the smoke trails.
1) Use Speed Priority mode and set the shutter speed to around 1/200-1/250th of a second.
2) Set the camera on a tripod with a remote shutter if you have one. If you don’t though, you can still get some great shots, just watch out for camera shake/movement.
3) A macro lens is great, but if you don’t have one, then go ahead and experiment with the lenses you have.
4) Use a flashgun off-camera, and set it so that it is firing across the smoke perpendicular to the line of shot. Be careful though not to have light coming towards the lens as it will create reflections.
5) Experiment by reducing the power settings of the flash to reduce the brightness, and get the best visually appealing shot.