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We all have those dull moments when we are just sitting at home and doing nothing. Just killing time because you have no work, for the moment. Instead of wasting your time scrolling through Facebook or Twitter, you can use the time to practice your photography. Grab your camera and snap some shots in your home. Photography is a skill that needs constant practice and experimentation, so if you want to improve, you’ll need to constantly work on it. Here are some ideas for mini home projects you could do anytime.
Getting to Grips With Better Composition
Photo by Sodanie Chea
You can practice composition with almost anything you have at home. Keep in mind, though, that most of the subjects you'll find will be stationary, and you won't improve much if you are photographing the same thing over and over again. Try practicing composition on non-stationary subjects such as your spouse, kids, parents, pets – anything that breathes and moves around the house. You might annoy them a bit, but they will eventually get used to it. Since they will be unpredictable and moving around all the time, you’ll have to constantly readjust to compose properly, thereby sharpening your composition skills.
You can almost do the same with stationary objects, but try to compose the shot as quickly as possible, this time. And, of course, after each shot you can alternate between several objects just so that you don’t get too used to the angle and position.
Macro Techniques for the Win!
Photo by MattysFlicks
I'd guess that there are at least ten small objects within your arm's reach right now, while you’re sitting at your desk and reading this article. You can improve your macro skills by using those objects while sitting at the desk and wasting time on the internet. Pick up a few of those objects and arrange a cool scene (this kind of gets you practicing conceptual photography, as well) to photograph. Practice hand-held focus stacking and hand-held high magnification shots. You can even practice macro lighting using flashes on tabletop stands. There are endless options in this matter, so all you need to do is practice.
Why You Should Get to Know Your Camera
Photo by 55Laney69
The longer you have your camera in your hand, the more you learn the button locations and configuration through muscle memory. For photographers who work outside of the studio setting, this skill is really important. You need to know where every button is at all times without even thinking about it. You can achieve this just by holding and using your camera as much as possible. So use your camera at home and try to change as many of the settings as possible during that practice period in order to get used to the feel, position, and configuration of the buttons. You need to be able to change every setting on your camera without looking at it. This will help you use and setup the camera faster, helping you get more shots in a shorter period of time.
Maintenance Can Save Your Gear!
Your camera and gear need maintenance and proper cleaning once in a while. Doing that is fairly easy when you are at home with the luxury of having time and a clean workspace. You won’t have such luxuries in the field, so it is crucial to know what you are doing and how. While you are cleaning your gear at home, make sure you get proficient at it. Make sure that you can clean your gear and camera as fast and thoroughly as possible. If you manage to succeed in properly cleaning your camera (even using wet-process on your sensor), it will eventually pay out in time and money saved by skipping the visits to the service center.
How to Improve Your Editing
Photo by Yu Morita
You will do most of the editing at home anyway, but when you aren’t on the job and you have nothing else to do, it would be wise to do some editing. You can always research new ways of editing something, new processes, and maybe even different workflows. This way, you will gain experience in that field and possibly improve the quality of your images and post-processing techniques. Additionally, this will help you optimize your workflow by getting you used to it and by eliminating any workflow bottlenecks you may have.
Time spent doing nothing is time wasted. You know that. So get out your camera and shoot. You will learn something new every time, you will gain experience, and you will get better. All you need is the drive to do it. You’ll notice the differences and improvements in just a couple of days. Then you’ll be thanking yourself that you weren’t lazy but continued working to improve your skill as you devoted quality time to your passion for photography.