I live in Paris and when the lockdown for COVID-19 was first announced on March 17, my heart sank. I wasn’t worried about staying home, but as a photographer living in Paris, it spelled disaster. I write a popular blog, Eye Prefer Paris, and photos are essential to my blog posts, which I write three times a week.
Also, it’s springtime in Paris, the most glorious time of the year, when the trees and flowers start to bloom in the beautiful parks and gardens, the outdoor cafés are buzzing, and the city goes from looking like a black-and-white movie, to a Technicolor musical, and I would miss the opportunity to take photos.
The first few weeks of the lockdown, I was able to exercise close to home. As I live near the Seine River, I would take a walk every morning to get some fresh air and I was able to capture new photos of the river devoid of boats, which I had never experienced before.
I am in a high-risk group for COVID-19, so I made a conscious choice to go outside as little as possible, and that decision dramatically shrank my photo ops.
I have a lovely courtyard garden in my apartment building and now for exercise, I briskly walk for 30 minutes, up and down the pathway. One day last week, while taking my walk, I noticed some of the trees were shedding their leaves on the walkway.
The contrast and juxtaposition of the leaves on the pebbled walkway, made an impression on me, so I took close-up shots of the leaves. I posted them on my blog and received many positive comments. I also posted them on a new Instagram account I recently started, and I saw a big increase in likes and new followers,
Sometimes you have to think outside of the box to stay fresh.
Here are seven tips for taking great photos at home:
1. Take photos around the house.
Find household items that have interesting textures, colors, and shapes, and photograph them. This could be anything from the sofa throw in your living room to a colorful arrangement of herbs and spices in your kitchen.
2. Create your own compositions.
If you are like me and are used to taking photos of just what you see, start getting creative and compose your own shots. Take those herbs and spices—or balls of yarn, tools in the garage, anything really—and arrange them in a way that looks interesting. Have fun with it, you never know what you’ll come up with.
3. Take photos of your family and pets.
This could be a great opportunity to take photos of those you’re in lockdown with. You’re family aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so they have plenty of time to serve as models for your photos. And as for your pets, you have all the time in the world to watch them and wait for the perfect photo opportunity.
4. Photograph trees, flowers, and plants.
If you have a garden or greenery close to you, find new or different angles to photograph the plants there. Also monitor the garden frequently to see what new flowers and plants have bloomed, so you can take new photos.
The great thing about digital cameras is that you can take as many photos as you like, and trash them afterward if you don’t like them. With that in mind, take some chances and experiment with new subjects. You never know what new technique you’ll stumble across in the process.
6. Photograph what you know.
Writers are encouraged to write what they know, the same could be said about photography. Take photos of subjects you are familiar and comfortable with. Chances are you’ve got supplies for a hobby in your house, something you know intimately. You’re in the best position to take meaningful photos of subjects you understand well.
7. Retake old photos.
I personally have come a long way in my photo skills over the years and have improved over time. I sometimes retake photos of things I’ve already photographed, and the shots are usually sharper and more focused. Now is a great time to revisit these old photos and see if you can improve on them.
With these tips, you should be able to take interesting photos from right there at home, and who knows what you might do with them?