Projects for the Photographer Stuck at Home for Carmageddon


The weekend is coming, but something may be stopping you from venturing out (like those of you in California currently experiencing Carmageddon). Not to worry; it's not the end of the world, and you can still have fun at home. Plus, you can exercise your creative muscles and try something new to expand your horizons. Here are a couple of cool projects that you can do at home. Try these out this weekend, and post them in the B&H Photo Flickr Group, which we will browse through and round up some of the most interesting selections in a future posting.

Environmental Portrait (or Playing Dress Up)

In photojournalism, we were taught that an environmental portrait can be a key part of any story. By definition, it is a portrait that says something about the person, and helps to clearly define who they are. For example, think about the elements that you may introduce into an environmental portrait of a jazz musician:

- Their instrument

- Every musician has special clothes that they wear when they perform.

- If they perform in bars at night, you might want to add some flash with a snoot to simulate the look of the spotlight that might shine on the musician during a performance.

- Pay attention to their expression. Maybe they play the blues, or perhaps something more upbeat.

Tag with "bh-photo-enviro-portrait" without the quotes and then submit it to our Flickr Group. Be sure to tell us a bit about the person in the description.

Product Photography with a Twist/Angle

Whenever a new product comes in for review, I usually try to photograph it in a way that it not only looks appealing, but it also looks different from what's already floating around. I shot the photo of the Olympus EP3 above with the intent to make it look like a fine piece of jewelry.

In the photo above, I meant to give it a more vintage look, to appeal to another clientele.

So where can you start? Try taking something simple—a strawberry, for example—and use the power of the palette to let your creativity take control. You can figure out ways to make it appeal to someone who loves Ice cream or cereal, or just wants to use it as a still life. The possibilities are endless, but making your pictures appeal to basic human needs and wants is a great way to give them an edge.

Tag with "bh-photo-product-shootout" without the quotes, and then submit it to our Flickr Group. Be sure to tell us a bit about the product in the description.

Work with What You've Got (Edit, Edit, Edit)

Instead of shooting photos, try working with what you already have. Boot up the hard drives, look through your archives, and try to figure out how you can change the images you didn't like so that they look better. This can often be accomplished by using a different editing technique, for example:

- A different crop (one that would change the composition)

- Rotating it around

- Changing the color scheme to look film-like. Cross Processing and old film looks are popular these days. Research the kodachrome look and try to mimic your photos to look like it.

- Doing some basic retouching could help polish up your skills (on a budget, too!)

- Are your photos discolored? Take a look at this guide to fixing them.

Tag with "bh-photo-edit-edit" without the quotes and then submit it to our Flickr Group.


Photo by Ryan Brenizer

Here's something you may not have tried: freelensing. By definition, that means detaching your lens from your camera and tilting and shifting it to mimic the look of a tilt-shift lens (which makes elements look miniature). If you're a lover of bokeh, you'll become smitten with freelensing. Take a look at our guide on how to do it.

Tag with "bh-photo-freelensing" without the quotes and then submit it to our Flickr Group.

We look forward to seeing your submissions!