When you’re stuck at home, it’s easy to give up on your 365 project. You feel there’s nothing to photograph. You want to deliver some cool photos, but how? You’re at the most boring place on earth.
Well, first of all your house might be boring to you, but not to others. You’ve seen every corner a thousand times, but to anyone else it’s something new.
Or maybe you work long hours and only come home when it’s already dark. The light is gone. Therefore the opportunity for a good photo is gone as well - or at least that’s what you tell yourself.
But again, that’s not true. Being sick, working long hours, mundanity of everyday life should not stop you from continuing your 365 project. Remember the golden rule of every 365 project? Keep going.
You can still produce nice images when you’re stuck at home.
2-weeks long quarantine due to a pandemic virus might sound like a good reason to stop taking photos, but it’s not.
Some of my most creative photos came from desperately looking for a photo idea just before midnight. The self imposed requirement to produce an image every day really does make you more creative.
”Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.” — Bruce Garrabrandt
And it’s not that hard, really. There’s plenty of ways you can get creative with your photography wile being stuck at home.
Here’s some tips that will help you.
Look for the light
One thing to remember is that photography is mostly capturing light. So that’s what you should look for. The light.
Maybe you’re stuck at home for the whole day and you can easily find time for a photoshoot during the blue or golden hour. If so - please do that. Set up a reminder so you don’t miss the best light during the day.
It’s really hard to not get a good photo during the golden hour.
But even if you’re working long hours and find yourself without your daily photo at 11:30 pm, there’s still many light sources at your house you can use.
”Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” — Mary Lou Cook
Look inside the fridge
Nobody knows if the light in your fridge is on when the door is closed. But you know that it’s definitely on when you open the door. It’s usually a soft, evenly spread light. Use it.
Set up the self-timer, put your camera in the fridge, press the button and say… cheese.
Use TV, laptop or tablet screens
Just like your fridge, screens can become a nice, big source of light. But you can get much more creative here. The screen can produce the light in any color you can imagine.
You can also set up the brightness and the angle of the light (you can’t really do it with the fridge unless you’re willing to move it).
Use car lights
If you can get to the garage, or the parking lot, your car’s headlights can also help you with creative photoshoots.
Maybe it’s raining, or snowing - use that to produce some nice bokeh effect. You can shoot some really nice photos in the fog when light is soften and spreads all over the place.
Shoot directly at the headlights or use the car lights to light your subject.
Capture the view from your window
It might be boring to you, but it’s something new to every one else. Take a photo looking outside your window. Maybe do a photo series with the view captured at different times of the day. It probably looks totally different in the morning and than it does during the golden hour.
And… I’m 99% sure you have more than one window at your place. Use every single one of them and you’ll have photo ideas for the next couple of weeks.
Be mesmerized by the fire
If you're lucky, you live in a house with a fireplace. Fire is always good streak pic idea, because you never get the same image twice. I always end up with tens of photos while shooting fire. Sometimes I get really cool photos of fire taking weird shapes.
Use your phone’s flash
You have a very powerful light source in your pocket. It’s your phone’s flash. You can probably turn it on and use it as a flashlights. Some phones even give you a way to set the brightness of the light.
If you have a tripod you can use your phone’s flash and long exposure to capture some really nice product photos. We even have a detailed tutorial on that.
Look inside the washing machine
Have you noticed that the inside of the washing machine looks like space ship interior. Why don’t you use that fact to produce some really cool shots.
For this, fisheye lens would be perfect, but a regular wide angle lens will do the trick. 24mm should be more than enough to get some nice images from inside of the washing machine.
Since it’s probably dark inside you can use your phone’s flash to add some light. You can even put your flashlight inside the washing machine and use that glowing hole as a cool, but weird looking light source.
Create a simple dedicated space for last-minute shots
This is probably one of the best tips I can give you on 365 projects. It saved my streak so many times.
Basically, what you need to do is create a tiny little photo studio at your house. A space you can use to take your daily pic at those times when you really don’t have an idea, don’t feel creative or are just tired and want to go to bed already.
„You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” - Maya Angelou
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A small table with a lamp on it is perfect. But to be honest, you don’t even have to prepare anything special. Just write down what you’re going to do when it’s 11:30 pm and you still don’t have your daily photo done.
For me it’s going to the TV room. I use the TV screen as the light source. I have a whole gallery of pictures shot there. It’s my go-to space when the day is almost over and I’m out of ideas.
Remember, that „bad” photos are ok
A good photo doesn’t necessarily have to be aesthetically pleasing. It can be underexposed, blurry, out of focus and still tell a good story.
Boring photos, or as I call them „painful streak pics” are valuable part of my 365 project. They remind me that I’m not always at my best, that I have worse days. That’s ok. I’m fine with that.
The goal of 365 project is not to deliver extraordinary photos daily but to show up with a photo every day. No matter if it’s a good or bad picture.
As you can see, being stuck at home is not the end of the world. And it definitely should not be the end of your 365 project. Get creative with what you have. You have more than you think.