Who said that you can’t practice your photography skills inside your house? Here’s a list of smart things to try those rainy Sundays.
1. Learn how to love the flash
Are you a natural light photographer afraid to use the flash? There is no better way to practice your strobe skills that indoors, during a moody rainy day. So plug the flash unit on your camera, cable or stand and start playing with it. Experiment with different angles, bouncing the light to the ceiling, wall, or other areas, or even create your own DIY light modifiers. Practice, until you understand how flash photography really works and eventually fall in love with strobes for life.
2. Try interior photography
Often thought that interior photography is easy and boring? Think again. Imagine that your flat is of a client and you were asked to shoot it for the next edition of Maison Decoration, and you’ll pretty soon realise that it’s by no means an easy task. What’s the best angle? How can you have everything in focus? How can you fix the white balance when each light is using a different colour temperature? And how can you light the dark areas in order to ensure details are inside your camera’s dynamic range? Sounds like a lot of answers needed to be discovered!
3. Shoot close-ups
You don’t have to be in front of the Grand Canyon to take a nice photo. It doesn’t have to be an interesting subject; as long as the visual image produced is appealing to the eye, it’s a great photograph. So be creative, try to see with your ‘visual’ eye instead of the ‘semantic’ one. Stop rationalising what each object is and see it only as a form, shape, and color. Practice shooting every object in your house from different angles, and you’ll end up with many interesting findings.
4. Remove the clutter
Spending a day at home can be a good opportunity to clean up and throw away things you don’t need, but no, that’s not what I’m talking about; I am actually referring to throwing away unnecessary objects from your photographs! One of the most common mistakes amateur photographers do is to focus on a subject and pay no mind to all the little things that clutter the image (our brain is smart enough to filter these our from our sight, but the camera isn’t). Practice shooting in your living room or bedroom, it’s a good exercise to notice, and then learn how to remove clutter from your compositions.
5. Be spontaneous
Sometimes you don’t even have to think, or try enough to take interesting photos; instant random shots can turn to be quite exciting. Prefocus at a distance around 50cm (manual focus), hold the camera in your hand and move around in your house. Whenever you see an object, point the camera to it and shoot —without taking it close to your eye. This way, you don’t see what you’re shooting. Combine this with a flash and you’ll be amazed with the results.
6. Organise your Lightroom library
Technically this doesn’t count that much as skill sharpening, but one could argue that organising your library is a real skill, and it can actually become a very useful one. If you’re shooting often (and you should!) you will soon end up with thousands of photos in your Lightroom library, probably untagged and uncategorised because you always avoided adding metadata immediately after the import. Staying inside is a good opportunity to tag your photos, put them inside collections, star them and group them in any way you like. Next time you’ll need ‘that photo with the 3 monitors shot with the wide angle’, it will take you only a coupe of seconds to find.