Staying at home means being a responsible citizen now. But, why lounge around watching Netflix when you can pick up your camera and get creative. Here are some suggestions for the type of photographs you might want to experiment with:
Natural light portraits
Naturally this genre requires minimal equipment. What you will need in fact is a window as well as, obviously, time during daylight. Yes, this type of photograph can be taken both outdoors and indoors but right now, I recommend trying indoors. Get your subject close to a window and start shooting. You can experiment by using putting your subject further from or closer to the window. Moving the subject closer to the window will make the light much harder and brighter as it is hitting directly. Indirect light will make the shadows more subtle and gentle.
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PRO tip: if you have a curtain that is partially see through, close it and get extremely soft shadows. This will create a portrait that is calming.
Do you fancy a bit of cooking? Prepare a meal, decorate it and turn it into a masterpiece. I am a terrible chef, so clearly preparing a full meal that would look good on a photo wasn’t for me. What I did was to take more of a natural approach. Food photography works just fine in natural light. In fact, in my tutorial I deliberately use only light coming from the window.
PRO TIP: the background makes or breaks your photo. Spend some time looking at what looks best for a particular food.
We all remember the egg that got 54 million likes on Instagram. To me, that was the most boring photo ever and could have been so much better. Many photographers are now trying to complete an egg challenge. I personally like a dark contrast mood in my work, so I went for a dark background. The egg was lit using a desk lamp with a makeshift snoot attached. A snoot is simply a tube that can direct your light. The photo itself was underexposed slightly to make for richer blacks.
PRO tip: depending on your idea, it is a wise idea to somehow secure the egg in place. I didn’t and you can guess what happened.
Desk lamp portrait
Being a largely portrait and fashion photographer, I work with human beings. Now is the worst time to do so though. So, in my room, a pretty small room at that, I shot self-portraits. For this one, I made a DIY light modifier by using 2 sheets of paper. This created the weird highlight on my face that I went for in the image.
PRO TIP: if you want defined and stark shadows, place the paper as close as you can to your face.
If you want more subtle and soft shadows, move those sheets further away.
What I appreciate about still life is that it doesn’t move. This means I can carefully and precisely set my lights exactly where I want them to be. It gives a great opportunity to experiment. I tried it with a kind of portrait though, as I happen to have a little Beethoven bust. Try moving the light source close to and then further away from the subject. See what that does to the shadows. What I missed, when I first started studio work, was that I didn’t look at the shadows. I have since learnt that is the source of greatest contrast and really sets the mood of any image.
PRO tip. Just like with natural light photography, placing a semi-transparent material in front of the light source will make the shadows softer.
Free tutorials for each idea are available at https://www.ovcharstudios.com/take-better-photos-now-blog