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24.04.2020

10 Creative Things To Capture At Home

For our latest Stay Creative at Home feature, we’ve put together a top 10- list of items, objects and experiments that you can photograph at home to push your skills and get you capturing some creative, quirky shots… oh and of course, having some fun! From artistic abstracts and flowers in ice to smoky patterns and light trails, there’s something for everyone!

Why not challenge yourself to shoot all ten! And make sure to share any images you’re really proud of online with us via the #FujifilmFromHome hashtag.

Made something you’re really proud of? Why not make a print? Visit the FUJIFILM House of Photography online print store to explore the range of prints and photo gifts!

FUJIFILM X-T4 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR - F14, ISO 800, 1/250 sec

Technique 1: Smoke and mirrors

Capture artistic patterns with smoke and add colour post-production for extra dramatic flair!

What you need:

  • Camera and lens
  • Tripod or a steady surface for your camera
  • A flash or alternative light source (e.g. torch on a smartphone)
  • Black piece of card or material for the background
  • Incense stick and holder

The process:

  • Set your camera and flash up on a tripod with your background, incense stick and holder in position.
  • Set your shutter speed to the flash sync speed of your camera, with an aperture of around F16 and ISO 800, and set your flash on low power.
  • Use manual focus for the smoke or you could put your hand over the incense stick and let the autofocus take your hand as a reference. Then switch it to manual focus to lock it in.
  • Keep windows open when shooting as the smoke can build up.
  • If you find the smoke goes straight up, wave a hand to one side or use a rocket blower to disturb the air.
  • Edit your shots by adjusting the white balance and using a combination of temperature and tint edits to add in different colours.

FUJIFILM X-T4 + XF23mmF2 R WR - F4, ISO 1600, 1/170 sec

Technique 2: Make your own DIY photo booth!

This is the ultimate indoor-birthday celebration! Create a DIY photo booth and capture fun-filled pictures of your family!

What you need:

  • Camera and lens
  • Flashgun or additional lighting for a more professional finish (e.g. torch on your smartphone)
  • A clear wall or a coloured/patterned sheet or card for a back-drop
  • Props – if making your own, you’ll need card or paper, colouring pens or paint, scissors, tape and some skewers or chopsticks (to use as handles). There are also lots of photo booth templates available online.
  • Fancy dress is optional!

Process:

  • Set up either in front of a clear wall or use the coloured/patterned sheet or card as the background.
  • Get your family members to grab some props and strike a pose.
  • Change the image size to a 1:1 ratio for pictures perfect to post straight on social media (MENU/OK > IMAGE QUALITY > IMAGE SIZE).
  • Use a tripod and self-timer or remote release with the Fujifilm Camera Remote App to shoot self-portraits.
  • For an added element, if you can, incorporate some printed memories with an instax printer.

FUJIFILM X-T3 + XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro - F2.8, ISO 160, 1/80 sec

Technique 3: Oil and water separation

Easy to set up with endless combinations of effects and unique results to capture!

What you need:

  • Camera and lens
  • Tripod
  • Glass/Perspex bowl (ideally 20cm deep)
  • Food colouring
  • Water
  • Cooking oil
  • Washing-up liquid
  • Brightly coloured paper/photo

Process:

  • Find a bright spot near a window and place a bright, colourful image or patterned paper under a glass/Perspex bowl.
  • Set your camera up on a tripod above the bowl and select a wide aperture to create a shallow depth-of-field.
  • Add the water to the bowl, then a couple of drops of washing up liquid and finally some oil (use a pipette or tablespoon to allow you to add the oil gradually).
  • To help achieve a better focus, use manual focus and focus peaking.
  • Start taking pictures and add more oil or food colouring as desired. Use a spoon to move the water and oil around to create different patterns.
  • Play around with certain elements to the experiment such as how much water is in the bowl, your aperture settings, or how much oil you use because, with abstract photography like this, even the smallest changes can make a huge impact to the final image.

FUJIFILM X-T4 + XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro - F2.8, ISO 3200, 1/250 sec

Technique 4: Focus on faces

We are hard-wired to see faces – it’s how we recognise things – and once you see one face, be it in a USB cable or the side of a house, you will start to see more. This makes for an endless amount of opportunities for you to capture in the house – one for a series perhaps? Or get your friends involved and share your findings with each other remotely!

What you need:

  • Camera and lens
  • Imagination!

Process:

  • Look all around you, you’ll find faces in all kinds of everyday objects once you start searching.
  • Be observant – some are less obvious than others and may require different lighting or angles to become visible.
  • Be creative and tell a story – be topical and match the face to a scene.

FUJIFILM X-T4 + XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro - F11, ISO 160, 1/200 sec

Technique 5: Psychedelic bubbles

This is an amazing way to capture abstract shapes and colours, and you can be guaranteed that no two photos will be the same!

What you need:

  • Camera and lens (a macro lens if you have one, but experimenting with different focal lengths will give you different results – you can always crop your image in post-processing)
  • Tripod
  • A light source, such as flashguns, or a continuous light source, such as a desk lamp or a torch
  • Water and washing-up liquid
  • A straw
  • Coloured mugs

Process:

  • Position your cup upside down and then set up your camera on a tripod. You may want to switch to manual focus if you want to fine-tune your focusing.
  • If you are shooting with flash, switch to the mechanical shutter and use the recommended sync speed. Otherwise, if you’re using continuous lighting, set your exposure as required.
  • Mix some washing up liquid with water and pour it onto the upturned bottom of your cup. Using the straw, blow bubbles into the soapy water until one holds form for long enough to take the shot.
  • To avoid camera shake when pressing the shutter, you may want to use a self-timer or remote release to help you capture the bubble, or you could use the FUJIFILM Camera Remote app.

FUJIFILM X-T3 + XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR - F2.8, ISO 200, 1/125 sec

Technique 6: Perfecting a flatlay

If you’re shooting content for your social media account or blog, flatlays are a great way to show off your lifestyle or products. When shooting a flatlay, think about the things or objects that can be associated or complemented with what you’re shooting.

What you need:

  • Camera and lens
  • Backgrounds
  • Various objects/props
  • Stool (optional)
  • Reflector/white card (optional)

The process:

  • Planning here can be really beneficial. Take time to think about which props work together to tell the story, and why, and use sites like Pinterest to gather ideas.
  • Make your flatlay arrangement either on the floor or on a table, near natural light if possible or even outside.
  • If shooting on a table, stand on a sturdy stool to allow you to shoot from above. If your camera has a screen that tilts, you may find it handy to use this to help you frame your shot.
  • Take some test shots as you may find you need to move some objects closer together. Ensure that your subject is clear and in focus, and that it isn’t drowned out by too many other things going on in the shot.
  • If you get shadows, use a reflector or piece of white card to help bounce light into the darker areas.

FUJIFILM X-T3 + XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR - F8, ISO 160, 1/250 sec

Technique 7: Ice baths

Got some beautiful flowers in the garden? Before they start to die, why not try something different and freeze some of their elements (with any other interesting objects that you can freeze) for a creative experiment to shoot. Just remember to prep the day before!

What you need:

  • Camera and lens
  • Tripod (optional)
  • Flowers or other objects you don’t mind freezing
  • Freezer
  • Water
  • Container
  • Dark surface or dark card

Process:

  • To fully encase your flowers in a block of ice, you need to gradually build up the surrounding layers of ice. To do this, place the flowers face up in an inch of water, let that freeze over a couple of hours and then fill the rest of the container. Use distilled water or water that has been boiled and cooled as this will help give a clear, glossy effect.
  • Once it’s frozen, find a bright spot near a window or, if it’s sunny, head outside and place the block of ice on to some dark card or a dark surface.
  • You can now capture pictures of your ice block from different angles. Check back on them every 30 minutes as while the ice melts you’ll be able to get varied results!

Why not also try:

  • Experimenting with coloured water and different objects.
  • A time-lapse of the ice melting!

FUJIFILM X-T3 + XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR - F22, ISO 200, 40 sec

Technique 8: Long exposure

Long exposure photography can be as simple or as complex as you wish, but is always a lot of fun! Here are two different ideas to try…

What you need:

  • A camera and lens (the wider the better)
  • Tripod (or a very sturdy surface)
  • Finger LEDs or a small torch (try different coloured lights)
  • One metre of string

Process: Physiograms

  • Securely tie a small LED or finger torch to the end of a one-metre piece of string. Hang it from something directly above you – a hook or a light fitting on the ceiling – and set up your camera low to the ground, pointing up to your string.
  • Set your camera to 40 secs at F22, ISO 400 as a base setting.
  • With the lights off, set the torch spinning to create beautiful light trails known as physiograms.

Process: Painting with light trails

  • Place the camera on a tripod or table and set a ten-second self-timer, giving you time to start drawing.
  • As a basis, set your camera between five and 20 secs at F20, ISO 800.
  • Put on the finger LEDs and experiment with drawing different shapes – you could even get more people in the shot for a variety of shapes!

FUJIFILM X-T4 + XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro - F4.5, ISO 3200, 1/60 sec

Technique 9: Guess the object

Sometimes the most simple artefacts can create impressive, abstract images. This one is another great game to quiz your family and friends on too!

What you need:

  • Quite simply, just a camera and lens
  • …and your creativity!

Process:

  • If you have a macro lens, use it to help you get closer to your subject to make it less recognisable. If you don’t have one, you could use extension tubes, close-up filters or even a close focusing wide-angled lens. But any lens will do here, you’ll just have to get creative with your positioning.
  • Set your aperture to the minimum you can on your chosen lens. This should give you an extremely narrow depth-of-field, which will help make the images more abstract.
  • Look around your house – challenge yourself to make a mundane object look abstract. Look for leading lines and focus on your composition. Think about how you can incorporate additional elements to confuse or aid the viewer. 
  • Utilise the tilting screen on your camera. This will help you to get low- or high-aspect shots.

Post-processing options:

  • To make your image even more abstract, try rotating or desaturating it.

FUJIFILM X100V - F5.6, ISO 160, 1/500 sec

Technique 10: Light play

Photographing illuminations, shadows and silhouettes in the home can be a great way to practice working with light while creating some dramatic, artistic shots. And it’s incredibly simple to do!

What you need:

  • Camera and lens
  • Tripod (optional)
  • Light source – this could be anything from the light from a digital clock, a lamp, a lit computer screen in a dark room, or a window

Process:

  • Find the light source and decide what kind of image you want to capture – are you trying to capture a shadow? If so what is the subject and how do you need to position yourself so as not to disrupt the shot?
  • To capture silhouettes, you need to back-light your subject so place it in front of your light source (such as a pet sitting in front of a window or a tree with the sun setting behind it, or a face in front of a computer screen).
  • If you’re not confident using your camera in full manual, then spot metering can help your camera do some of the work for you. Make sure your focus point is on the bright background (not your main subject) and then shoot in Aperture Priority mode with an aperture of around F5.6 or F8. Your camera will then automatically select the right shutter speed.
  •  areIt’s OK if your images are a bit light, you can either set your exposure compensation to a minus figure, or you can help enhance your silhouettes in post-processing. You could also try shooting in black and white!