I have often championed the idea of not staying indoors when the weather turns messy. I’m not talking about going out in extreme conditions, but a little rain or snow never hurt anyone. Doing photography in bad weather can result in some unique and dramatic images. But if getting rained on doesn’t constitute your idea of a fun photography outing, that’s okay — being stuck indoors doesn’t have to ruin a day of photography, you’ll just have to make a few tweaks to your plan.
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So, for those times when the weather isn’t cooperating, here are 5 photography ideas that will hopefully prevent your day from being a complete washout.
If you’re on Instagram you probably see more than your fair share of food photography. It’s a common theme there, and as with any genre of photography, you will find that some shots are just better than others. When you strip away the popularity contest element that bestows hundreds or thousands of “likes” upon mediocre shots, you will discover that the best food photos are those that have been styled with care. While you’re stuck indoors you can take the time to play with styling, much of which entails coordinating the setting with the chosen dish. Presentation is everything.
Photo by Michael Stern
Shooting flowers isn’t strictly an outdoor activity. If you don’t already, you may want to consider keeping at least one vase of flowers in your house — not only will flowers brighten up a room, but they will give you something to photograph when you can’t get out of the house. You don’t need anything rare, exotic or expensive; a variety of types or colors is a good idea, though. Use this time as an opportunity to get more acquainted with the visual impact of depth of field by shooting at a variety of apertures; you will clearly see the difference between f/2 and f/11. Having different colors available — especially white flowers — will help teach you some valuable lessons about exposure and dynamic range. And if you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at macro photography, flowers are one of the best subjects to work with, plus you won't have to deal with rain and wind, a couple of things that are sure to increase the difficultly level of macro photography.
Photo by Delphine Jankowski
Yes, people who constantly photograph their pets get plenty of grief online, so if you choose to follow this suggestion, consider yourself duly warned. Pet photography just makes perfect sense when it’s just you and your furry sidekick lounging around on a rainy day. Generally, pets aren’t all that different from kids: they’re unpredictable and deceptively fast. As the photographer, you’ve got to be attentive and patient. Having good reflexes is helpful, too, so you can capture those special moments when they inevitably happen. Congratulations! Not only do you have a stockpile of adorable pet photos to share on Instagram, you’re also good at candid photography (but keep practicing).
Photo by Cristina Souza
Do you know what makes window portraits so alluring? They fashionable, dramatic and easy to create. A window can act as a large diffuser, and this light-softening effect is even more noticeable on cloudy/overcast days (clouds are particularly helpful if you have east or west facing windows, as they might proffer too much direct light). Placing your subject at a 45-degree angle to the window gives something of a classic look, but you can experiment with subject place to achieve different effects. You might even include the window as part of the shot; a window decorated with raindrops or streaks of water is sure to wow viewers.
Photo by Magdalena Roeseler
Interior photography might provide you with an incentive to finally tidy up a bit. After you’ve done so, break out a wide angle lens and a tripod (though these aren’t absolutely necessary unless you’re submitting real estate listings); take a few moments to discern a few angles that really show off the charm of whatever room you have chosen, decide on lighting (natural, artificial or a mix of the two) and take your shots. I suspect this project will teach you a few things about exposure and white balance and how mixed lighting affects these elements. You might also be inspired to redecorate your house.
Photo by Tom Merton
The ideas presented here are meant to give you practice in a few different photography related skills, while also being fun activities to undertake when the weather stinks. Or when it doesn’t. Obviously you can do these things anytime you’re indoors. Do you have any indoor/rainy day photography projects that you’re particularly fond of? Feel free to share them.
A couple of others, Jason.
Macro photography (for example, a while back, I did a series of catalogue photos for a friend who’s making jewellery – and it turned out to be quite an extensive project).
And printing photos – one of the things that attracted me to digital photography was the fact I could produce my own colour prints, at last! It’s very educational – you learn a lot about your own photos, when you actually print them – so this helps you improve later, when you go “outside”.
Family portraits, or photos of the kids playing indoors – they’re trapped too, presumably. Recognising of course that (unlike the family pets), the other members of the family will tire of this game after a while.
I appreciate your idea!