Shooting photographs using your creativity at home is a wonderful idea. I’ve personally shot hundreds of photographs at home using my creative concepts, and after accumulating years of experience I am now a professional creative and commercial photographer. I would like to share my unique experiences with you.
I can’t imagine photography without a DSLR camera, even though my first camera was a simple point-and-shoot. I received that first camera from my uncle (who was a great photography enthusiast) on my 14th birthday. Purchasing your first professional camera is the first step towards success in creative or commercial photography.
Being a city-dweller, I know how it is hard to find time for an outdoor photo shoot as a beginner. I was a college student when I first purchased a DSLR camera, with hardly any time for outdoor shooting. However, I managed to join a famous photography school and took lessons for two years. During this time I regularly shot varieties of subjects both in and around my home, including Nimo (my pet dog). I will not forget his contribution to my understanding of photography. Following my advice, you can take your photography skills to a new level.
If you are going to use a professional DSLR camera, then you should have a clear understanding of how it works. DSLR stands for “Digital Single Lens Reflex”. Most professional photographers (myself included) started their careers with a non-digital SLR camera, which means “Single Lens Reflex”. Today, most professional photographers use DSLR cameras, and I am not an exception. Both entry level and mid-level cameras usually come with between an 18mm to 55mm lens. Professional-level cameras tend to come with nothing except a good quality, weather-resistant camera body. The good news is that the working modes of both entry-level and pro-level cameras are almost the same, which is why even an entry level camera can offer a brilliant, high-quality image. That being said, in the end, everything depends upon you, the photographer. You can magically change the dimension of an image with your creative concepts and sound technical knowledge. Now, let’s get to the point.
Playing with focus
Correctly focusing on the subject tends to be the most important part in photography. This is usually done by adjusting the focus ring in front of the lens. An auto-focus lens can focus on the subject when you press the shutter release button halfway. Most auto-focus lenses have a switch at one end of the lens that allows you switch between auto-focus and manual focus. Active focus points may vary from camera to camera. Focusing the nearest object is key. A perfect focus can quite clearly reveal the details hidden inside of the object. Also, remember that there is a correlation between focus and aperture.
You can experiment with focus by placing objects like pomegranate seeds or other fruit in front of a unicolor backdrop (I personally recommend a white backdrop). Focus on the seeds from both close-up and far away and observe the results. Unless you get an impressive image, just keep shooting.
Playing with aperture
The aperture is a series of synchronizing plates held inside the lens. By adjusting the aperture ring you can control the flow of light through the lens. Generally, dull or low-light conditions require a lower level of aperture, somewhere between f/1.4, f/1.8, and f/2.8. The image below was taken using a f/2.8 aperture setting.
Just place some similarly sized objects (like teacups) on a backdrop, place them on the floor, and shoot them from both close-up and far away distances to see the results. It’s also a wonderful idea to make some creative repetitive texture shots at home. In outdoor conditions, we sometimes choose repetitive architectural structures like cathedral arches to show this kind of effect. This creates a rhythmic pattern.
To take these photos you should use a prime lens that is around 50mm. Use the lowest level aperture available (it should be around f/2.8). A lower number aperture decreases the depth of field. You should focus on your first object in the series from a close distance by using manual focus. I tell you to manual focus because this will increase your control over your camera. However, you can also use auto-focus mode. Set your film speed to ISO 200, and your shutter speed to 1/125. Another thing you need to consider is light. There should be enough ambient light, otherwise you will get a underexposed image.
Magic of motion blur
You may have seen this kind of image in photography magazines: A horse is depicted running with specific parts of the image blurred (like the horse’s legs) while the static parts of the image appear clear (like the head). Sports photographers often use this technique to depict the motion of athletes.
You don’t have to go outside to take this kind of image. With my innovative ideas, you can create these effects in your home.
The concept of motion blur is based on the movement of the subject. Adjusting your shutter speed is the key to achieve this effect. Relatively fast moving portions of the image will blur much more than the slow or non-moving parts, and the closer you are to the subject, the blurrier the image will be. Flash should not be used. Light instead should be controlled by correctly setting both the aperture and film speed. This tends to be a very dramatic shot. I often use a spinning globe to show the motion blur effect. I usually use a lower shutter speed like 1/8 sec and an f/8 aperture setting to capture motion blur. If the lighting is dull, you can increase your film speed from ISO 100 to ISO 800. Always try to photograph with your ISO set to 200 or lower, because the higher the shutter speed the more your image will pixelate, producing a generally lower quality image. Have creative fun at your home.
Rocking texture (Macro Photography)
Do you know how many patterns you can create even sitting at your home? There are numerous tiny objects around that contain unique patterns inside of them. The core of a flower, garments, and even leaves can be used to create excellent patterns. To snap them in a creative way, you must have a macro lens.
When you are using a macro lens, lighting is the most important factor to be considered. Without proper lighting, your image may look dull or faded. You will not be able you get vivid, natural color if your lighting is insufficient. Indoor creative photo shoots often require an artificial lighting system like an umbrella, reflector, soft box, etc. But you can achieve almost the same effect by reflecting your flash towards the subject. Using a macro lens allows you to focus even more closely than a prime lens would, allowing you to capture the minute details of tiny objects like cotton fibers in a garment.
Water Splash Photography
This is a very refreshing idea for creative home photography. When working with water, keep in mind that if your camera is not weather-coated you should keep it at least three feet away from any water containers. Generally, entry level DSLR cameras are not weather coated.
First, place a champagne glass onto a (preferably) glass-made table-top. The background should be dark, without any backlighting. Fill the glass halfway with water, then have a friend drop a slice of lemon into the water from at least one foot above the glass. Lighting is the most important factor in taking this photo. You could shine a powerful white light or a remote flash gun from below the table. Remember, the light should only come from one direction: out from under the object. Any light coming from the sides would devastate this shot. Place your camera onto a tripod, setting your shutter speed to a high level, around 1/500s to 1/1000s. Set the aperture ring to f/5.6, and bring the champagne glass into focus. When your friend drops the lemon, trigger the shutter by using a remote shutter control. This will give you a nice, refreshing image. Many soap and fruit juice companies display these kinds of images on their billboards.
Smoke art photography
If you can do this well, you might end up deserving the first prize in a creative photography competition. Again, lighting is the most important factor in this kind of photography. Light should illuminate the subject from beneath.
First, place a small, slightly moistened piece of burning wood onto a glass-made table-top. Switch off any external light sources in your room. Priming your camera lens is necessary for shooting this image. Next, place a remote flash under the table. Make sure to properly focus your camera on the burning wood. Also, remember to set up a black background ahead of time. Now take your photo, and the result should be a nice piece of abstract smoke art. Try setting your shutter speed to 1/125s, and your aperture to f/5.6 for this project. ISO 100 should also give you a good result, if while slightly increasing the film speed. Stay patient and keep shooting until you find a nice shape.
It’s very easy to get excellent photos of hands, feet, your friends, and even relatives at home. Sometimes this can create a brilliant image.
When you are shooting indoors, lighting is again the most important factor. Exposing a part of the body through the lens is one of the most creative home-based photography ideas. To take this photo, focus on your subject while setting your aperture to between f/2.8 and f/1.8. Set the shutter speed to either 1/125s or 1/250s. The subject should receive more light exposure than the object. Take for example a “thumbs up”. Here, you should focus on the thumb from close up, using a prime or 35mm lens. You will get quite a dramatic effect.
If you get a new DSLR camera, then try these at your home. Use simple and creative concepts and you too can create outstanding, competition-level images while sitting at your home.