Fun Photography Projects To Try At Home
When you think of fun photography projects, you probably aren’t thinking of many you can do inside. Most photographers like to get outside and explore local areas to take photos, shooting whatever catches your eye. You rarely have a get a burst of inspiration from something you see every day inside your own home.
Unfortunately, you can’t always get outside to take pictures, but that doesn’t mean your creativity has to stop! There are still a ton of fun photography projects that you can try without needing ever to take off your pajamas. How good does that sound?
In this article, I’ll be sharing eight fun photography projects and ideas that you can try on those days that you can’t leave the house. All of the ideas I share here can be created with items you already have in your home to make life as easy as possible. No rain, snow, or wind can rain on your parade (not even a global pandemic) with these eight creative photography projects. Let’s jump in!
1. Create A DIY Bokeh Filter
Get out a piece of dark-colored paper, scissors, and some tape; craft time is in session.
Creating a custom bokeh filter is super easy, and one of many fun photography projects to try at home. This effect works by manipulating the light entering your lens, causing any bokeh to appear heart-shaped. You can create any shape you’d like, but for this example, I’ll be sticking with a heart. I recommended using a longer lens for this project, something like 70mm or longer. That way, you won’t catch much of the paper on your lens. It’s also useful to use a dark-colored paper to ensure you get the crispest bokeh shape possible.
What You’ll Need
- Dark Colored Paper. Craft paper works best.
- A pen or pencil
How To Do It
Step 1: Trace a circle around the front element of your lens and then cut it out.
Step 2: Fold the cutout paper in half and draw a half heart (or whatever shape you’d like), starting from the fold. Make sure this shape is around .5 – 1 inches in size. Cut the shape out then unfold the paper to see the result.
Step 3: Place the paper over your lens and tape it down to the outside edges. Try to make the paper as snug as possible to the glass for the best effect.
Step 4: Find a light source and make it out of focus. Watch how the bokeh turns into the shape you created!
Tip: Make sure you use as wide an aperture as possible for the best results.
Now your bokeh takes the shape of whatever cutout you created. Some other great ideas I recommend trying are a star, diamond, or triangle shapes!
2. Create A DIY Lightbox For Product Photography
Ever thought that you needed a bunch of expensive gear for a product photography studio? Think again!
A lightbox is an easy way to get an even and professional light in your product photography. Lightboxes are best for smaller items, but what you can photograph will depend on the size of the lightbox you create. In this example, I’ll be creating a relatively small one to photograph a tomato. For this fun photography project, you may need to sift through your recycling to find an old box; the remaining items should be a lot easier to find.
What You’ll Need:
- A cardboard box, the size is up to you
- White Paper
- Parchment Paper or Wax Paper
- Tape or stapler
- A Knife
- A Small Lamp
How To Do It
Step 1: Cut your box in half and cut out two squares on each side. Try to make these squares very large to help let more light in.
Step 2: Cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit over the cutouts in the side of your box then tape or staple them in place. This acts as a diffusion!
Step 3: Tape the top of your white paper to the top of the box, let it sit inside your box with a natural bend in it, then tape the bottom side in place. This creates a DIY infinity wall!
Step 4: Place your lamp beside your box to shine through the parchment paper. This works best if you use a light on either side of the box, but isn’t necessary. For extra ease, I will be using my LED panels for my lightbox.
Tip: Try to place your lightbox in front of a window to get as much extra light as possible.
With a little DIY trickery, you just created your very own lightbox. This is an easy photography project to try at home and works to capture very professional looking product photos with ease! A good one to add to your list if fun photography projects.
3. Experiment With Lens Whacking
Lens whacking, also known as freelensing, is when you take a photo with a detached lens. The result is a dreamy, soft-focus photo effect made entirely in-camera. How awesome is that?
When you are trying lens whacking, make sure you are not in a dusty area. Without the lens fully attached to your camera, it can be very easy for little particles to land on your sensor. Be vigilant, and don’t take your lens too far away from your camera body if you can help it. Lens whacking requires minimal lens movement and relies mostly on small angular adjustments to let in small light leaks. You can take your lens further away from the camera to get drastically improved minimum focus distances, great for dreamy macro photography!
What You’ll Need:
- Your Camera Body
- A Detachable Lens
How To Do It
Step 1: Detach your lens from the camera body and pull it slightly away lens mount. Try to angle your lens in different ways to allow for light leaks.
Step 2: Find a subject big or small and move your lens around to find the perfect focus and light leak. Press the shutter button when you’ve found the ideal spot!
Tip: Lens whacking works best at a mid-range to long focal length. I would suggest using a 24mm or higher for this effect.
Lens whacking is an easy way to make a dreamy and mystical look totally in camera! This photo effect works best for portraits or macro photography and is a fun photography project to let your creativity run free!
4. Try The A To Z Challenge
Don’t worry, if you aren’t in the mood for arts and crafts, this one’s for you.
If you’re as competitive as I am, you’re going to love the A to Z photography challenge. The challenge is simple, find something to photograph for every letter of the alphabet. For example, you could use the word ‘Wet’ for W and photograph splashing water or water droplets on someone’s skin. The real challenge comes with the letters Q, X, and Z!
To spice this up a little more, challenge someone you live with to do it with you, but you can’t take a picture of the same thing! The A to Z photography challenge is a fun way to work those creative muscles and see what interesting shots you can find in your own home.
How To Do It
Step 1: Create a list of words to represent every letter of the alphabet.
Step 2: Find something to take a photo of that represents each word you came up with on your list. You can’t take a picture of the same thing twice!
Spice Things Up
To make things more interesting, challenge someone else in your house to do the challenge with you. Work together to create a list of words for every letter of the alphabet and then go try to find something to take a photo of that represents the words.
The twist? Neither person can take a photo of the same thing. The images must be entirely different for every word.
Once you finish, show the photos to someone else and see if they can guess the word each picture represents. The person whose photos get guessed the most times correctly wins!
5. Clone Yourself
Have you ever thought about how much better life could be if there were two of you? Well, now it’s possible! With a little help from Photoshop, of course.
Cloning yourself is a fun photography project to try at home and is a ton of fun for any photographer. The effect is simple to make and requires super minimal Photoshop knowledge to pull it off. The effect works by taking multiple photos of yourself in different places, all without moving the camera. Once you bring the images into Photoshop, you simply overlay the two pictures and mask each clone into place. Don’t worry if that sounds confusing; I share this process more in-depth below.
It’s best to choose an open space and make sure that none of your poses overlap. This will make your life significantly easier when you start in Photoshop!
What You’ll Need
- A Tripod
How To Shoot It
Step 1: Set up your camera on a tripod and set a shot that you’re happy with. Think ahead and consider where you’ll be standing in each shot and what your pose will be.
Step 2: Set your camera’s drive mode to a 10-second shutter delay. This way, you’ll have ample time to run into position after you hit the capture button. If your camera has wifi connectivity, you can also trigger the camera from your phone via the brand-specific camera app. For my Canon camera, I use the Canon Camera Connect App.
Step 3: Repeat step 2 throughout a variety of poses until you are happy with the results. Do your best to make sure none of your poses overlap.
How To Edit Your Clone
Step 1: Open all of your clone images in Photoshop. Place them all on top of one another in a single document. If your photos open in different documents, grab the move tool by pressing V and click and drag each image into the same document.
In my example, I only have two images, shown in my layers panel.
Step 2: Add A layer mask to the top image in your layer stack.
Step 3: Select the layer mask and press Command or Control + I to invert the layer mask and make everything transparent.
Step 4: Grab your brush tool and make sure white is set to your foreground color. Paint over the area you want your clone to be visible.
After some basic layer mask work in Photoshop, you now have yourself a perfect clone! The possibilities with this fun photography project are endless and can even give you a good laugh now and again.
6. Capture Your Pets In Action
Nothing warms your heart more than your pet doing something hilarious or adorable. That’s why capturing your pets in action is the perfect photography project to capture at home!
To get that perfect action shot of your pet, you need to think of an activity. Do they make a funny face when they run, can they catch a treat in the air, do they jump high when you throw a ball? These are all great starting points to capture your pet in action… unless they’re a fish, of course.
Make sure you are using a fast shutter speed for these action shots so that everything looks crisp even when they are moving quickly. If you aren’t shooting in manual mode, I would suggest using shutter priority mode.
Try a few different activities with your pets and see what types of hilarious or heartwarming images you can capture. This is one of my favorite photography projects to do at home and always puts a smile on my face. I guarantee it will do the same for you!
7. Explore Your House With A Macro Lens
After spending so much time in it, your house can start to feel like a pretty mundane place. There’s not much that catches your eye or inspires you to take photos, but have you tried doing any macro photography?
Macro photography is a fun way to get reinspired about any place you’re in. With macro photography, you’re finding the little details that you don’t typically give any attention to, things like the stack of books on your shelf, the texture of a picture frame, or the drip of water from a tap. There are a ton of things in your house that look pretty plain to your eyes, but look incredible through a macro lens.
You don’t need to have an actual ‘macro lens’ to take macro style images. Just choose whatever lens has the best minimum focus in your kit. You can find the minimum focus labeled on the lens body or on the focus ring.
Go around your house and see what types of interesting things you can find; you may be surprised! Be sure to experiment with lighting whenever possible to really spice up your homemade macro shots.
8. Create A Flat lay
If you have a bit of OCD, then there is no better photography project for you than this.
A flat lay is a photo of a bunch of stuff lying on a surface, taken from directly above. Flatlays can consist of literally anything from camera gear to satisfying color patterns. The only thing required of a flat lay is that the photo’s shot from directly above. Everything else is up to you to decide.
What You’ll Need
- A chair or stool to stand on and capture photos from
- A surface, preferably one with an interesting texture.
- Stuff to put in your flat lay (literally anything)
How To Do It
Step 1: Begin to place all of your objects on the surface of your choosing. Try to put everything in a patterned layout. Minimalism is key to this.
Step 2: Once everything is laid out, carefully stand on a chair or stool to get a top-down view on your flat lay. Take the photos with your lens pointing straight to the flat lay.
There are a ton of creative ways to tackle a flat lay, and that’s just the beauty of it. Flat lays are an excellent way to show off your style and let your OCD run wild. Flatlays with light colors are typically the most popular online, but make do with what you have in your house. I wouldn’t recommend buying any flat lay backgrounds unless you want to get really serious about the whole thing.
So those are eight fun photography projects and ideas to try at home. Whether you’re stuck inside because of the weather, an injury, or a global pandemic, these eight projects are perfect to work those creative muscles with. Not only do these photography projects offer something fun to do, but they are also excellent ways to build up your skills and creative eye as a photographer.
If you know someone stuck inside and looking for something fun to do, then make sure to share this post with them! I’d love to hear what projects you’re going to try, let me know in the comments below.
– Brendan 🙂