If you have a hard time finding time or inspiration to go out and shoot– just shoot photos at home!
Why shoot at home?
Let’s be real: most of us don’t always have the opportunity to constantly travel, see and experience new and novel things, or break our daily routines of wake up->commute->work->go home->sleep.
For me, the benefit of shooting photos at home is:
- Appreciating your loved ones. When we take a photo of our loved ones, we remind ourselves: “Wow, I’m so grateful that I have them in my life, and they are alive.”
- Making visual art, regardless of where we are: Most of us make excuses that we don’t have the opportunity or chance to make photos, but if you realize you can make photos at home, we have no more excuses. We have the great opportunity to make photos, regardless of how busy we are in our daily lives!
- “Creative constraint” of shooting at home: Of course to us, because we are used to our homes, we think our homes are boring. But if you force yourself to find interesting things at home to shoot, you will actually be able to think more creatively, and find interesting colors, textures, subjects, and objects to photograph at home. Thus the photographer who is able to successfully photograph ordinary things (and make them look interesting) is a great photographer (some examples include Stephen Shore, William Eggleston, Martin Parr).
How to find inspiration to shoot at home
Now the more challenging thing:
How do we find inspiration or motivation to shoot while at home?
1. Wear your camera around your neck at home
When you’re just walking around at home, wear your camera around your neck, like your camera was a necklace.
This is my theory:
The more often you wear your camera around your neck, the more photos opportunities you’re going to see, and thus you’re going to shoot more.
If you’re at home, use the lightest, most compact and light camera.
Assignment: For an entire evening after work, keep your camera around your neck, and see if this motivates you to shoot more at home.
2. Pause, and stop looking at a screen for a moment
When you’re at home, every once in a while, take a break from looking at your screen (whether your tv, laptop, phone, tablet). Then stretch a little bit, walk around, and see what your loved ones, kids, partner, or roommates are up to.
Then take a photo of them.
3. Photograph stuff in the kitchen
Go around your kitchen, and photograph whatever you find interesting. Look for different textured things (cheese graters), shiny reflective silverware, cups, or any ordinary objects.
4. Photograph what is inside your fridge
Or take photographs of whatever is inside your fridge.
5. Photograph your food and meals
Find nice colors in your meals. Experiment with cooking with differently cooked vegetables and use different colored plates.
I love the red-green color combination.
6. Photograph your personal life: photograph your memories
You can use whatever camera you want, if simpler, just shoot with your phone.
Use photography at home as a chance to document your everyday life, and document your own life.
For example, whenever you see something at home, ask yourself:
Will looking a photograph of this bring some future joy?
If so, shoot it.
For example, whenever I took a trip to Costco to get film developed, I took a photo of it. Now looking at these older photos, it brings a lot of joy to me.
So don’t treat all your photos as “artwork”— some of the photos you shoot at home can just be like recording your personal memories— stuff that brings a smile to your face.
7. Visual shapes
Look for different visual forms to shoot:
Shoot photos at home to keep your eyes sharp (keep your visual acuity sharp), for more inspiration buy HOW TO SEE.
8. Do fun activities at home
For a while Cindy did linocuts at home as a way of exploring her interest in printmaking.
This eventually lead to her making the CITY OF ANGELS art portfolio.
By doing fun activities at home (instead of passive stuff like just watching Netflix), you will find more inspiration and motivation to make photos!
9. Photograph family portraits at home
Before you have a meal at home or at the home of a friend, make a family/friend group portrait. Take a step back, and frame the scene well. Try to include objects and ephemera in the background which you find interesting.
10. Photograph the corner of your ceiling
Practice your composition at home, by looking up, and trying to create more diagonals in your photos. Experiment with different angles, orientations of your camera.
11. Photograph the clock
To me, photography is a meditation on life and death. I call it photographic memento mori.
As photographers, we seek to immortalize moments, people, and scenes in our photos.
Thus, the clock is a symbol of time, life, and death.
Shoot photos at home, and include the clock in the background.
12. Photograph your partner getting ready
Cindy’s red lipstick is her signature look. Whenever she puts on lipstick, I always try to photograph it — using the macro mode and flash on my RICOH GR II.
Or whenever she is getting ready before we go out to have dinner, I always try to make a photograph of her, and try to make a creative/novel/dynamic composition.
13. Photograph the light setting into your house or living room
Usually when at home, around 6pm, there is epic light that streams into our living room. In these situations I will try to photograph whatever I see interesting at home.
The above photo: I asked Cindy to cover her eye in a “V” shape with her hand, and shot with -1 exposure compensation on RICOH GR II to make the portrait.
14. Photograph your partner before they go to sleep / photograph your bed
15. Photograph your partner taking a nap, or photograph your couch
16. Photograph your partner at work
An idea: photograph your partner while they’re at home, working on their laptop, or a closeup photo of their hand gestures.
17. Photograph your parents
Your parents will probably die before you do. If you live with them, photograph them. Or if they come to visit, photograph your time with them.
18. Ask your partner to take photos of you
If you’re with a loved one at home, ask your partner to take photos of you — to document a certain moment you like.
19. Document moving into a new home, or moving out.
Most of us don’t live in a certain home, house, or apartment forever. Be very diligent to make photos at home during the moving in and moving out process, as a way to record your own life, and document your personally meaningful life moments. Whenever I look at old photos of me moving in and out with Cindy it brings great joy to me — I reflect how far I’ve come in life, and all the fun experiences we had in the different homes we lived in.
20. Photograph your living room
21. Photograph your coffee machine or tea setup
22. Shoot film at home
Shoot with a film camera at home, to get a more nostalgic and old school look. I think the aesthetics of film will always look more beautiful than digital.
23. Shoot your front door
Photograph the keyhole, the knocker, or anything in front of your door.
24. Photograph your loved ones as models!
Even though your passion might be street photography, an assignment from STREET HUNT:
Do a mini-photo shoot of your loved ones at home.
Play dress up. Shoot from low and edgy angles. Change around your perspective, and have fun!
25. Shoot while lying on the ground
To get a more unique perspective in photography, shoot photos while lying on your stomach (or back) at home.
26. Photograph your partner (or yourself) in the shower/bathroom
Keep it abstract, no need to show nudity (only if you want).
27. Minimalist compositions.
Practice minimalist compositions with your subject at home.
Also to simplify your photos, shoot high contrast jpeg, or shoot RAW and use ERIC KIM MONOCHROME 1600 preset.
28. Photograph the moment you wake up
Also another fun idea: photograph, video, or document your own morning routine.
29. Shoot selfies of yourself at home
If you’re single, or don’t have roommates at home, just shoot selfies of yourself!
30. Shoot reflections in the mirrors at home
And also get your selfie in the photograph (HONOR THY SELFIE).
Never stop shooting; find inspiration everywhere
This is my theory:
The more we shoot, the happier we will be as photographers and human beings.
So let us not feel discouraged. Just because we aren’t always traveling — this doesn’t mean we cannot shoot everyday!
Don’t overthink it. Don’t worry about making “good” or “bad” photos, and don’t care whether people on social media will “like” it. JUST SHOOT IT to proclaim your joy for being alive, and finding beauty everywhere in your everyday life.
For more inspiration to shoot photos at home and to build your own visual acuity, pick up a copy of HOW TO SEE.
NEVER STOP SHOOTING,
- Everyday Photography: How to Find Beauty in Everyday Life
- The Joy of Everyday Photography
- Everyday Photography
- 10 Tips How to Take Better Photos of Everyday Life
- How to Be Creative Everyday
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Why do you make photos? Find more personal meaning in your photography and life with PHOTO JOURNAL >
Respark your passion for street photography with STREET NOTES: full of practical assignments to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Also check out STREET NOTES: Mobile Edition to always be inspired, regardless of where you are.
For inspiration during your commute, pick up CREATIVE EVERY DAY: Mobile Edition >