Photo Projects You Can Do from Home
Part of becoming an improved photographer is understanding how to challenge yourself to put the skills you already have to the test and acquire new skills that will allow you to expand your boundaries as a photographer. But what many photographers seem to think is that in order to find a challenge, one must travel to far-off locations to find material worthy of a photo.
That’s just not the case!
In that spirit, we’ve put together a list of simple home-based photography projects that you can easily do in your spare time and that will help you become the photographer you want to be. Now, these don’t just ask you to try typical around-the-house projects like “photograph your children playing” or “create a still-life photo of a household object.” Instead, these projects try to get you to think more outside the box so you come away with more creative ideas – and better skills too. Give one or two a try, or challenge yourself to try all 12. Either way, there’s plenty to do in your own backyard to improve your photography.
It’s easy enough to snap a photo of your dinner with your smartphone. For this project, however, try to turn your food – or better still – the ingredients you use to make a meal – into a fine art photo. Whether it’s julienned carrots, slices of apple, or little piles of spices, get in close with your camera directly above the ingredients, get sharp focus using your camera’s live view function, and fire away. Just be sure you have enough lighting (and even lighting to minimize shadows).
Nothing challenges your photographic creativity than having to hunt for a subject that corresponds to each letter of the alphabet. For a fun twist, photograph concepts that represent more difficult letters – a horse galloping in a field could represent Q for quick. Over the course of a series of 26 photos, you’ll be challenged to find subject matter (let’s face it…X and Z are difficult!). But not only that, you’ll develop your photographer’s eye in the process. Part of learning the craft of photography is seeing subjects worthy of photographing where other people do not. This project will help you do just that.
Go Black and White
Like the A-Z photo project, shooting only in black and white will help develop your creative eye, but in a different way. Because of their lack of color, black and white photos depend on other factors, namely, lines, patterns, textures, shapes, and, of course, light and shadows, to retain the interest of viewers. Thus, learning to see in black and white is an important skill not just for black and white photos, but for color photography too. After all, it’s often those fine details that make a good photo a great photo. So, with that in mind, try a week long or two-week black and white challenge. No matter what subjects you capture, look for the elements listed above to try and elevate your photos.
Capture Oil & Water
Test your ability to create some abstract art by photographing oil and water. Put a colorful cloth or piece of paper on a table. Place several drops of cooking oil into a clear, glass dish of water, then set the dish on top of the cloth or paper. Then, add a light source – a flash or even an incandescent lamp that can be angled – and capture the striking interaction of these elements. The results, like the image above, can be breathtaking! Plus, you’ll acquaint yourself with creating abstract photos, and you can begin to build close-up or macro photography skills as well.
Create a Photo Scavenger Hunt
If you want to expand your photography skills while hob-nobbing with friends, family, or other photography enthusiasts, a photo scavenger hunt is a great activity. Have each member of the group come up with a list of things to find and photograph, put them into a hat, and pick out a dozen or so subjects. Then, head out as a group, find each subject, and fire away! The benefit of doing so is twofold: first, you get to pursue photography with other people, share your thoughts, and learn from one another’s mistakes (and successes!). Secondly, tackling a photo project with other photographers allows you to get feedback on your own work, which is an invaluable aspect of improving your photography.
Work With Water
All you need for this project is a container of water with a small hole that allows small drops to fall through, a good lighting source (like natural light through a window), a nondescript background, and a camera setup just right to capture the drops in midair. It’s a simple enough idea, but is a fairly complex process of getting the lighting, the timing, and the camera settings just right. But those are good things for you – the more you practice adjusting your camera’s exposure settings, for example, the quicker you’ll be able to make adjustments for all types of photos. That’s learning that has wide applicability!