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Switched to remote con­trol or just decid­ed to spend the week­end at home with ben­e­fit? Even our own apart­ment can be a source of inspi­ra­tion. Let’s take a look at 13 cre­ative pho­tog­ra­phy skills exer­cis­es you can do in the com­fort of your own home.

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Exercise 1: Find the Light

Take one small light source: a lamp, a flash­light, or even a lap­top or TV screen. You can choose any room to do the exer­cise, but it is best to choose one where you feel it is impos­si­ble to take good pho­tos due to poor light­ing: it is too dark or dim, too cold or too yel­low.

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And then, in com­plete dark­ness, take a pic­ture of the light source, the way it illu­mi­nates the sur­round­ing objects. This exer­cise tests patience and long expo­sure skills, and gives you an under­stand­ing of how light shapes objects in the absence of oth­er light sources.

Exercise 2: From the inside

Look out any win­dow in your home. What do you see? A lone lantern, a bench where neigh­bor­hood kids gath­er every day, a park, or maybe even trash cans? Take a pho­to of this scene. Then take a pic­ture of her again, but in a dif­fer­ent way. And again the next day. Do it over and over. Force your­self to study and decon­struct the scene. Use dif­fer­ent lens­es, take pic­tures at dif­fer­ent times of the day.

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Can you make the scene work for you, give it a cer­tain mood? Con­verse­ly, see if you can repli­cate the scene as accu­rate­ly as pos­si­ble. You will see how per­ma­nent things become much more inter­est­ing over time.

Exercise 3: Food Diary

As you hone your cook­ing skills at home, work on your food pho­tog­ra­phy skills as well. Cap­ture a dish as if it were on the menu of a five-star restau­rant, or make a step-by-step pho­to instruc­tion that any­one, even a com­plete­ly new cook, can use.

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Or, on the con­trary, are you too lazy to cook and do you take the first thing that comes to hand? You can take a pic­ture of this too: emp­ty bot­tles around the sofa, a pack of half-eat­en chips, crumbs and can­dy wrap­pers.

Activity 4: Inspired by History

Work­ing with pre-exist­ing images helps devel­op vision, sharp­en your pho­to­graph­ic think­ing, and broad­en your rela­tion­ship with images and how they func­tion in the world.

As a rule, for this you need to walk through flea mar­kets to find old pho­tographs or post­cards, or work with pho­to archives. In the home ver­sion of the “cre­ative work­shop” you can turn to the cin­e­ma.

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Take mul­ti­ple screen­shots while watch­ing a movie. Ana­lyze the scene: com­po­si­tion, details, peo­ple’s emo­tions. Bor­row, devel­op visu­al­iza­tion, and then apply it to the shoot­ing.

Exercise 5: Portrait Studio

One of the gen­res of pho­tog­ra­phy in which it is con­ve­nient to work, even while stay­ing at home, is por­trait pho­tog­ra­phy. If some­one from the house­hold agrees to become your mod­el, you are in luck.

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If there is no one to shoot, shoot your­self. Even if these are pho­tos that you will nev­er show to any­one.

Activity 6: Portrait of my house

What does your home look like? How do you feel in it? Take a pic­ture of it so that the audi­ence can feel the atmos­phere.

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Exercise 7. Think of a number

Choose any num­ber and take a new pho­to after walk­ing the set num­ber of steps or seconds/minutes.

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Activity 8: Dutch Still Life

Still life is anoth­er genre in which you can work at home.

Mar­tin Bulle­ma de Stomme. “Still Life with Nau­tilus Cup”

Do any still life. We rec­om­mend tak­ing inspi­ra­tion from the works of Dutch painters of the 1600s, such as Maarten Bullem de Stomme, Pieter Claesz and Willem Heda. Study their can­vas­es to under­stand how sto­ry, com­po­si­tion, and light­ing can affect how a scene is per­ceived.

Van­i­tas, Pieter Claesz 1625

Exercise 9: Eight elements

This exer­cise is ide­al for home use — take pic­tures of these eight ele­ments on the spot.

  • Light,
  • Shad­ow,
  • Line,
  • The form,
  • Tex­ture,
  • Col­or,
  • The size,
  • Depth.
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Then you can make the task more dif­fi­cult by doing it in dif­fer­ent rooms or doing the exer­cise sev­er­al times a day. Stay in one place and pay atten­tion to how the light and time of day change the envi­ron­ment.

Exercise 10. Take a picture of a song or piece of music

Can you lis­ten to a song or any piece of music and then take a pic­ture of it? Cre­ate both lit­er­al shots and the most abstract ones.

The exer­cise helps to devel­op cre­ativ­i­ty and cre­ativ­i­ty for trans­lat­ing one lan­guage into anoth­er: trans­late the lan­guage of music into the lan­guage of pho­tog­ra­phy.

Exercise 11

Film pho­tog­ra­phy is great for devel­op­ing cre­ativ­i­ty — here every frame counts. You can do any of the above exer­cis­es with a film cam­era. A spe­cial plea­sure will then devel­op the film and print the result­ing images.

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