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Interiors Part I: What to Photograph in Your Home

Credit: Photo by Terje Sollie from Pexels
Hamid Amirani - 3.21.20

One needn't venture out for interesting and creative photographic opportunities. You can find plenty of subjects right at home to practice your artistic skills and get your photographic fix.

 

Here are suggestions of what you can put before your lens in your own abode.

 

PLANT POWER

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If your home is adorned with plants, they offer plenty of potential for evocative and imaginative compositions. David Chapman of Nature TTL says, "It is very easy to take a photograph of a plant, but doing it creatively can be extremely challenging."

 

He imparts tips for capturing plants in the open, but most of them can be applied indoors too.

 

For example, he talks about taking pics after water droplets from rain have gathered on leaves. You could get the same effect from watering your plants, and then follow his advice: "Sometimes water droplets can hold a world of information within them: a refracted, distorted, reversed view of what lies beyond. Get up close and examine the droplets using a macro lens and live-view. Try focusing through the subject to see what comes into focus."

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See if you can position your plant in a place that will enable you to create a bokeh effect in the background: "Points of strong light behind the subject can become dazzling kaleidoscopes. Telephoto lenses are best for getting this type of bokeh, and it is worth experimenting with various apertures to increase or decrease the size of the highlights."

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Experiment with movement. If the weather is windy, open a window and then "embrace the wind and be creative. Set your camera on a tripod and use a low ISO combined with a slower shutter speed. I sometimes even put a neutral density filter on as well. This way the plants will move during the exposure, creating a blurred effect."

 

SELFIES

 

With millions of us taking billions of selfies, you might think there's nothing new you can do, but in fact, there are a number of alternate poses you can strike to make for a more visually arresting image, and many tips that will help you create the perfect picture and elevate it above the standard selfie.

 

Strike a (new) Pose

 

Improve Photography offers suggestions for creating an innovative selfie. Thinking outside the box, it posits that a selfie needn't just be of your face. How about taking a shot of your feet? Maybe you've got new shoes you want to show off. Or "shoot a photo of the new bracelet or Fitbit on your wrist or your newly-polished fingernails."

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The most fun idea is to take a selfie while you're in water, obviously being careful not to drop your phone: "Float on your back in a pool and shoot down at your face. Or prepare a bubble bath, lie down in the water, and take a shot of your face framed by bubbles."

Credit: Ali Edwards

 

Point and Shoot - Enhanced

 

It also provide tips on how to make your selfies more technically accomplished. Among the top recommendations are:

 

  • Play around with angles. Don't just go for the straight-on shot.

 

  • Choose the best position for natural light to produce the most flattering result. The best time of day is magic hour(s): one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset.

 

  • Extend your neck forward to accentuate your jaw line,  or angle your camera from above and  look up to even further accentuate the jaw.

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HAPPY FAMILIES

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If you want to capture great pictures of your family, Darlene Hildebrandt of Digital Photography School has helpful advice derived from her more than 25 years photographing portraits and weddings.

 

Here are just a few of her expert tips.

 

  • Use a tripod because 1) it compels you to slow down, which will enable you to "check your settings, review the composition and exposure to make sure you’ve got everything right," and 2) it lets you get your eye away from the camera so that you can engage with your family or friends. Some people feel uncomfortable being photographed, so you're more likely to get relaxed and fun expressions "by interacting with them than you will looking through the viewfinder."

 

  • Use manual exposure mode to get consistent exposures throughout. "Just remember that each time you change the pose, location, etc, you need to check exposure again." This will help reduce the amount of post processing you'll need to do.

 

  • Staggering! Avoid "a boring straight line, row, or column of heads" by staggering the heads of your family members. You achieve this by positioning them "so that no head is directly on top of, or beside (same level) another. Make diagonal lines, not totem poles."

 

  • Express Themselves! If everything else is perfect, you still need great expressions to make the photo really special. Darlene says, "Being a photographer means that sometimes you have to also become a comedian, or a clown. Knowing the right thing to say or do to make people smile is mostly experience." When kids play and smile, the adults usually end up looking at the kids. But she has bit of helpful advice for such a situation: "do NOT look at your child." Make sure they're looking at you.

 

Before you put that guidance to use, also check out what family photographer Louise Downham says at PetaPixel. She's created a guide specifically for choosing where to photograph your family at home. Her recommendations include using a wall as a blank canvas against which to create a formal studio feel; capturing the family interacting naturally on the sofa or in the kitchen; creating individual child portraits by lensing at their eye level and composing the shots through the framework of their toys.

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GETTING ABSTRACT

 

If you want an alternative to traditional subjects like plants, selfies and family, why not get experimental and adventurous with your images? You can obviously do this technically in order to produce dazzling results, or you can create imaginative and surreal compositions, or a combination of both.

 

Take this photo for example.

Credit: Cece Di Paolo

 

Juxtaposing Cecilia's SD Memory Card Wallet with unrelated objects makes for a quirky image that gets viewers’ attention and tells them this isn't your typical wallet.

 

In its Abstract Photography for Beginners guide, Adorama says it's "a method of expressing ideas and emotions with photographed image elements without the intention of creating a traditional or realistic image. By avoiding and going beyond the usual representations of an object, scene, or any particular element, it reveals details that are normally ignored and triggers the viewer’s imagination."

 

Among the tips are:

 

  • Use everyday objects. "Choose a random object or set of things, such as kitchenware or a single light bulb, and try to figure out how you can photograph it in a different yet appealing way."

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  • Macro magic! Use a macro lens to "magnify tiny objects or details and capture a life-sized (or even bigger) image." This can produce beautifully enigmatic results.

Credit: Pixabay

 

  • Post-processing is your photographic sandbox where you're free to "manipulate your results and create your very own abstract imagery" by altering your pictures with "recoloring, cropping, reshaping, distorting, or flipping images."

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If you want to go even deeper, Expert Photography has 112 tips for abstract photography. The extensive guide includes advice on multiple and double exposures, photographing water and oil, and Photoelasticity, which is the process of shooting transparent plastic items with a polarizing filter.

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Credit: Forest Simon on Unsplash

 

With so many visual adventures awaiting you right at home, let your imagination run wild and get snapping!

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