Home Photography Ideas: Indoor Photo Projects to Try During the Covid-19 Crisis

With most of us now spending a lot of time indoors, we are all looking for home photography ideas to satisfy our photographic cravings! Here are some great ideas for home photography projects to keep you occupied.

You might feel that creative inspiration is hard to come by if you are confined to your home; Whether you are socially distanced or self-isolating, looking at the same four walls can leave you struggling to find inspiration. Fortunately, with a little creativity, you can take some fun photos without going out!

We’ve put together this list of home photo projects that you can take indoors, in your own home – and many of them can be done on your kitchen table using things (and people!) That you already available …

1. Make a splash

(Image credit: Jon Adams)

To get a classic studio still life without a studio, glue a white pillowcase to a wall and kitchen counter so that it forms a spoon. With your camera on a tripod, frame a glass of water with a lemon wedge. Stay level with the glass, but leave some room for splashing. Place an external flash to the side, but aim it at the background, not at the glass.

2. Pull the candle

(Image credit: Jon Adams)

Its illuminating power may be low, but candle light greatly exceeds its luminosity in terms of atmosphere. To take a portrait by candlelight, use the Manual mode (M) and the raw format. Include the candle in the shot because the light is so hot that the light source is needed to help the viewer understand the image. Use an ISO sensitivity of 1600 and a fast lens like a 50mm f / 1.8 at an aperture of f / 2. Set a shutter speed of 1/100 sec and focus on the eye closest to your subject.

3. Mix oil and water

(Image credit: Jon Adams)

With a macro lens and a few everyday items, you can take amazing photos of oil drops floating on the water. Like most macro shots, careful placement is essential, but the process forces you to focus on the smallest details. The discipline that comes with trying out this project will spread to your other styles of photography, so shooting delicate abstractions is of great benefit overall.

To prepare, fill a glass with water and add a drop of dishwashing liquid to it. After lightly mixing, let stand 5 to 10 minutes, then add a few drops of cooking oil.

4. Make a portrait of a rainy day

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When making a portrait, the golden rule is to focus on the eyes. But the rules are meant to be broken, and you can shoot meaningful portraits without the face coming out in focus.

Pick a window on a rainy day and you will notice water drops on the glass. With your subject positioned on the other side of the glass, you can use these beads as a focal point and take a dark, reflective portrait that’s just as effective as a normal portrait.

Film upside down to convey the idea that the subject is outside in the cold, or film from the outside in to give the impression that someone is craving a break in time. To make shooting really effective, you need a very shallow depth of field, so that only the water pearls are in perfect focus. To do this, use a lens with a fast maximum aperture such as a 50mm f / 1.8 prime. In Aperture Priority mode, dial the lowest f / number and frame the subject. Focus on the drops and take the photo.

5. Get into the swing

(Image credit: Jon Adams)

It’s easy to create a fascinating image that captures the laws of physics! In a dark room, tie a yard of string to a light fixture and tie off the torch, and mount your camera on a tripod below. Focus manually on the torch and set the camera to manual (M) mode with an ISO sensitivity of 100, an aperture of f / 11, and a shutter speed of 30 seconds. Turn off the lights in the room, then rotate the torch in a circular motion so that it begins to orbit in an ever smaller ellipse. Release the camera shutter and move back until it closes.

To get multiple ellipses in a single image, use the Bulb setting and cover the lens with a black card between the torch swings. To change the color of the torch, place transparent candy wrappers over the bulb.

6. Sculptures in a fraction of a second

(Image credit: Jon Adams)

The reason we know how water drops behave is because of high speed photography. But you don’t need high-tech equipment to create aquatic art. Setting up this project is straightforward, but you’ll need precise focus and good timing.

Fill a baking sheet with water and place it on a work surface. Place a chair on it so you have a place to attach a freezer bag half-filled with water. Drill a hole in the corner of the bag with a safety pin and you will obtain an even flow of drops in the tray.

Place your camera on a tripod and fill the frame with water from the drip tray and the drip tray itself. A macro lens can be useful but is not essential. Anything you place behind the drip tray will reflect in the water, so experiment with sheets of paper in different colors and textures. Once your set is built, set a flash aside, lean on some books, and point it towards the background.

Accurate focusing is essential, so switch to manual focus mode and place the tip of a pencil over the splash site, and focus on that. All you have to do is focus on the right timing.

7. Painting with light

(Image credit: Jon Adams)

Move a small light source in the frame during a long exposure and you will record ethereal light trails. You can trace around a subject with a torch to outline it, light it from different angles with the torch beam, or even move colorful fairy lights behind it for an amazing background.

Place your camera on a tripod, then frame and focus on your subject. Now switch to manual focus to lock in the focus distance and set the mode to Manual (M). Choose an ISO sensitivity of 200, a shutter speed of 8 seconds, and an aperture of f / 16. Set the self-timer to 5 seconds. You can now turn off the lights.

Pull the camera, get into position and when the shutter opens, you have the duration of the shutter speed to do your light painting. You can program a longer exposure if needed – just keep the torch moving the entire time to avoid hot spots. You can paint an entire subject in one shot, or divide the work into separate shots and blend them in Photoshop.

8. Strike a match

(Image credit: Jon Adams)

When a match is struck, it comes to life so quickly that we cannot actually observe what is happening at the precise moment of the lighting. But by taking a rapid burst of shots at a high frame rate, we can record this amazing moment and get a photo that straddles the gap between art and science. You need a macro lens to record it, but leave plenty of space around the matchhead when composing because the fiery flare is bigger than you might think!

9. Smoke signals

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Capturing puffs of smoke is easy if you can get the right lighting. To get the shot, light an incense stick and place it in front of a dark background. Use an external flash in manual mode to light it from one side, making sure that the light does not spill onto the backdrop or lens. Focus on the tip of the stick, then switch to manual focus to lock in the focus distance.

Use manual mode and set an aperture of f / 8 and a shutter speed of 1/200 s. Now take a few test shots and adjust the flash output to make the smoke brighter or darker, until you have the perfect exposure.

10. Frozen flowers

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cover the bottom of an ice cream container with about 2 cm of water and place it in the freezer. Once it’s solid, place a colorful flower on ice and add enough water to cover it. Freeze it again and the end result will be a flower encased in a block of ice.

Remove the frozen block from the carton, place it on a dish rack, and mount your camera on a tripod. Use a torch to light up the ice from different angles and you will quickly find a number of very textured and colorful compositions.

11. Smart art with a smartphone

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The small LED light on a smartphone is perfect for creating light trails. With a little practice, you can draw any shape in the air while taking a long exposure. Wear dark clothes and keep moving forward, and you will not appear in the photo.

To set up the camera, use Manual mode and manually focus on the area where you are going to paint. A good place to start is ISO 100, f / 16 and a shutter speed of 30 seconds.

More techniques to try at home:

IPad Photography Tips: Creative Lighting Ideas for Cheap Photography Projects
Close-up filters: take macro photos without a macro lens
How to use polarizing filters for colorful cross polarization effects
Scanning slides and prints using a DSLR or mirrorless camera
The best lighted tents for photography

Stewart C. Hartline