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How to take better photos at home (no flash needed)



  Multiple indoor portraits of a woman.
Harry Guinness

Photography is often seen as an outdoor hobby. Think landscape photographers wandering through mountains and forests for a sunrise shot. But really, photography can be done anywhere. And indoors is one of the best places at home. Here's how to get started.

Understand the Light

Photography is all about working with light. The better the light, the easier it is to take great photos. Although there is no such thing as & # 39; bad & # 39; light, some types are definitely easier to photograph than others.

For example, take artificial interior lighting indoors (such as your kitchen lamp). It's really hard to get a flattering portrait when the main light source is directly over your subject's head. His nose, eyebrow rim and lips will all cast deep shadows across his face. Try it yourself with a selfie.

This kind of light is just as unflattering for other types of photos. Food shots look strangely dramatic and contrasting. It is also too dark for good close-ups. This is not to say that you can never take good photos under direct overhead lighting ̵

1; you really have to work for it. You also need to know exactly what you want. Controlling the hard shadows is challenging.

If you think indoor photography is about using this kind of light, you're wrong. A better, easier light source is available in almost every home: natural window light.

  Two portraits of the author: one shot in natural light from a window and another shot in overhead light.
These are made in the same room, just a few seconds apart. Note how the shot with the light from the window (left) is much flattering. Harry Guinness

Natural window light is without doubt one of the easiest, most subject-flattering light to work with. I much prefer to work with it than direct sunlight outdoors.

Windows are great because they are a large, indirect light source that is roughly on a par with your subjects. Any diffuse shadows are placed behind the subject, making it look three-dimensional. It's all very gentle and easy to work with.

So what's the ideal window for home photography? Try to find one in your house with all of the following:

  • Big: The bigger, the better. A larger window allows more light to work with.
  • Not in direct sunlight: Choose a window away from direct sunlight. You want diffused, reflected light.
  • Plenty of room to work: There's no point in having a great light source if you can't get in front of it. Look for a window with enough space around it.

Take great portraits and selfies

  A portrait photo of a woman sitting on a couch.
Harry Guinness

The large indoor is one of the best places to shoot a portrait because natural window light is perfect for them. It really flatters people.

All the usual portraits advice apply, including:

  • If you have a portrait lens, use it: Although any lens or camera works.
  • Use Aperture Priority mode and set the aperture as wide as possible: Somewhere around f / 1.8 to f / 2.8 is best. However, if your lens only goes to f / 5.6, that's okay too. Set the camera's ISO to Auto and you're ready to shoot. (Ignore this step if using a smartphone.)
  • Use a self-portrait tripod: Allows you to use an external shutter release or shutter timer.

That's about it! Move around and see how the different angles of light affect your shots. Leave your subject closer to the window and try further away. Use your full control of the space and have fun.

And don't forget to play dressed up! The woman in the picture above is a friend of mine in my great-great-grandmother's dress.

Zoom in on Everyday Life

<img class = "wp-image-672174 size-full" data-pagespeed-lazy-src = "https://www.howtogeek.com/wp-content/uploads/ 2020/05 / xtip-of-a-ballpoint-pen.jpg.pagespeed.gp + jp + jw + pj + ws + js + rj + rp + rw + ri + cp + md.ic.YnnIA7e2WV.jpg "alt = "A macro photo of the tip of a ballpoint pen writing on a piece of paper. [19659029] Jason Dudley / Shutterstock

Macro photography is about seeing small things up close, and it's very easy to do at home. Unless you're putting in thousands of dollars equipment, your home is by far the best place to do it.

To begin with, you need a cheap set of extension tubes so you can turn your regular lens into a macro lens, they cost about $ 10, and you can They get them for Canon and Nikon cameras.

The best thing about macro photography is that you can see everyday things from a completely new perspective: salt crystals, the thread pattern in your tablecloth, or even the crust of a freshly baking bread, they all look a few times more different when enlarged a few dozen times. If you have a tripod, this is much easier, but you can still try some macro photography without a tripod.

Grab a few different objects from your house and get started! For best results, look for things with interesting textures. In our more detailed macro photography guide, Jason got some very interesting close-ups of a $ 5 bill.

Even if you don't have the equipment to take macro photos, you can still do with the same ideas play. Try still life or abstract photography. Some textures look great at any magnification.

RELATED: How to Enjoy Macro Photography Cheaply

Use Your Control to Create Great Composites

  A Composite Photo of the Author Holding a Lightsaber [19659010] With a little time, you can create great composite images. <span class= Harry Guinness

Unless you are a professional photographer, you usually have no control over the space in which you work. However, you do it when you are at home – and you can use it a lot.

Composite images are multiple photos and digital processing techniques used to create a single image. Almost all advertising photos are composite images, the subject, background and product of which are photographed separately and later combined in Photoshop.

A good example is adding a lightsaber to each image. This fairly simple composite only takes a little time in Photoshop. However, you can use the same tools and techniques to make it look like you're floating, fighting a bear, or that your child is in a dangerous situation.

Making a well-composed image takes some work and space, so these are perfect for doing at home. Just set aside a day and put everything in front of your favorite & # 39; photo window & # 39 ;.

  An outside photo of a woman who seems to float on her back.
I took this outside, but you could do the same inside. Harry Guinness

In addition to your photography skills, you also need an understanding of some Photoshop functions to create a well-composed image. Some of the main functions are the use of layers and masks and the removal of people and objects.

If you're not quite done yet, check out our guide to Photoshop. For more composite-specific advice, we recommend Phlearn.

RELATED: How to Make a Lightsaber in Photoshop

Other Ideas

Portraits, Macro Photography, and Composites are just a fraction of the things you can photograph at home. For example, you can go all-in on food photography, turn your pets into Instagram stars, or play with dyes and water. It is up to you!

Remember that photography doesn't have to be done outdoors. There is always a great light source you can work with, even at home.


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