5 Ways to Increase Photo Skills While Staying at Home
I’m trying to wrap my head around all that is happening right now, just like everyone else on the entire planet. This hasn’t been easy for anyone and I take just a bit of comfort knowing we’re all in this together, while staying apart. Many of us are trying to figure out how to teach children who are suddenly home, while trying to keep a business afloat or trying to work for a company from home.
There are also all the posts about organizing, cleaning and getting back to hobbies or learning a new skill. If you’re looking at dusting off that DSLR that is taking up space, or using the point and shoot more efficiently or just making the most of your smart phone, I’m here to help! If you have a tween, teen or child who wants to experiment with photography then I’m also here to help them!
Find the Light
Right now we have all kinds of time to actually look around your house. Which rooms have the most windows? The biggest windows? Where do you get morning light? Where do you get afternoon/pre sunset light?
If you pay attention to these then you can set up your shots to make the most of your light. Kids want to do a puzzle? Great – put them near the window/sliding glass door where the light isn’t blazing, but streaming into the room.
Something else to remember when looking at this light coming in through your home. You don’t need it to be a clear sky, bright sunny day to utilize window light. Even during a cloudy day there is a bit of light coming in somewhere through your windows and house.
These were all taken during the “Winter That Would Never End” in Newport, Rhode Island. These were all taken about 3 feet from a sliding glass door with the blinds pulled all the way open.
And these were taken in Stuttgart, Germany where the clouds like to settle in for long, long, long periods of time! Find the windows and open up the curtains and blinds!
Find Alternative Light
Yes, alternative light. Have a sky light? You can use that all day long! It makes for a great stream of light that pours over your subject(s).
When your family has a birthday do you turn all the lights off to focus on the birthday person?! Candle light is a small, but great source of light and let’s you get really creative!
Artificial Light is Not Your Enemy
I’ll admit, I use artificial light very, very, very little. It can create terrible shadows, color casts and just doesn’t give that nice glow that natural light gives me. However, I do use it to push myself and also use it to get more creative in my work, especially with idle time on my hands!
If you are like our family, there is a much larger than normal amount of time being spent behind screens doing school work and staying connected to friends and family.
This light is actually a great source of light! Turn off other lights in your home and let that screen light illuminate your family’s faces. If it’s a truly interesting show or conversation you can also get some great facial expressions as well!
Street lights serve as sort of a sky light as well. Yes, you have shadows, but overlook those and do something fun and creative just outside your house (without interacting with others of course) with the spotlight on that special person!
*Fairs and markets are closed right now and I’m not advocating going to them.*
This type of photo can be done from your house as well. Turn on a light near a window and turn the rest of the lights in that room/area of the house off. You can go just outside your house and shoot through the window to illuminate your family/child to spotlight them. This above photos was shot through a window of a Christmas market booth.
Photograph Everyday Things in Whatever Light is Available
We’re all home for days and days and days and days. Is your child doing something over and over again? Playing with a particular toy or item for days on end? Wearing their hair a certain way and insisting on this?
Seriously, this is my friendly “they’re only little once” PSA to you. Even in these days of neverending togetherness, it goes fast. So fast. The phases leave as soon as they come on. They may seem annoying at the time, but once they’re gone you kind of miss them!
No Willing Humans? Use Flowers and Food!
When I don’t have anyone willing to let me practice or there’s a new technique I want to try I turn to flowers and food. They don’t talk back, don’t get tired of taking photos and are beautiful and delicious in the process!!
You can practice lighting, focus, bokeh, etc. The possibilities are endless.
All of these can be practiced by adults, kids, teens, etc. Take a few minutes off of e-learning and tv watching and let everyone take photos of something that makes them smile, laugh, think, etc. You’ll be surprised at what kids will choose and it’s a great talking point for everyone. You just need your phone, but bust out the point and shoot or DSLR as well. That’s the glory of digital; you can take an abundance of photos and delete later!
Christa Paustenbaugh Photography | Family, Lifestyle, Newborn, Fresh 48, Senior Photographer | Carlsbad & San Diego, CA