Many will say winter is a great time for outdoor photography, and they would be correct. However, during those long dark months, there are days in which even the most talented photographer will struggle to find inspiration in the great, but cold, outdoors.
Fear not though, for today we are going to bring you some ideas for shooting around your own home when the weather is just too nasty to go outside.
1. Food Photography
Winter is a season when many of us spend time creating in the kitchen rather than with our cameras. So why not combine the two? You do not need expensive equipment to shoot food, nor do you need to be a domestic Gordon Ramsay to create attractive dishes.
The often overcast flat light coming through our kitchen windows can work well as soft backlit, whilst we can fill in the food with low levels of flash and white card as reflectors.
Look for props from your kitchen to make your food photography look appetizing. A nice wooden chopping board, some quality knives a smattering of fresh fruits or vegetables and you are good to go.
The great thing about food photography is once you have finished, you have can have a delicious meal to celebrate.
Much like us, our pets are not so keen to go out in the winter weather. They do however often sit at window dreaming of the coming summer. This makes them great subjects for shooting on winter’s day.
Again the soft window light of an overcast day works great in bringing out the definition in the fur. A smattering of flash can add subtle highlights to your cat or dog’s eyes and these can be further enhanced with a shallow depth of field.
Rather than positioning your pet where you want him or her, go to their space, spend a little time with them before shooting. If the light is low, perhaps bump up the ISO and use what is available. If the noise is high, maybe convert to black and white. There are many ways we can take great shots of our furry or feathered friends.
3. Inside Looking Out
One very simple thing you can shoot at home in bad weather is snow, rain or condensation on your windows. Get in nice a close and use a shallow depth of field to get the background out of focus then looks for interesting patterns on the window.
Don’t neglect the background even though it’s defocussed. On days with snow, look for splashes of colour, such as a car to add interest. Maybe consider shooting in the blue hour where the street and city lights will make interesting patterns in the background.
4. Christmas Portraits
If you celebrate Christmas, it can be a great time to shoot some family portraits around the Christmas tree. The key to getting Christmas lights to look great is to use a slow shutter speed. It must not be so slow that you risk motion blur from your subjects. You can offset the slow shutter speed by using a little direct flash to freeze your subjects. Find a nice balance between the two.
If you want the lights on the tree to standout, aim for a small aperture. This can give a starburst effect. Alternatively use a shallow depth of field to make the lights fade into a nice Bokeh, punching your subjects out of the background.
5. Tabletop Macros
Many of us have beautifully designed gadgets, jewellery or watches. Look at them closely and you will see all sorts of photographic possibilities. From the exquisite design of a watch face to the ultra-modern detailing in a smartphone, the macro world is in abundance at home.
You do not even need an expensive macro lens to shoot macro. You can use cheap, close up filters or even a reversing ring to get in real close.
Household lamps can become lighting with white card as reflectors and the good old window light acting as a softbox. Make sure your lamps have very similar bulbs in terms of watts and colour and shoot in RAW so that you can set the white balance in post-production. Items around your house can make create surfaces from which to shoot. Mirrors, kitchen worktops even office tables can make interesting locations on which to place your subject.
You can shoot deep depth of field using a small aperture or using multiple images merged in post. Alternatively, isolate an interesting detail with shallow depth of field.
Our houses contain many interesting subjects for us to shoot when the weather is not ideal. Not only that, we can get to practice new techniques and genres in the warm and dry and without the pressure of time or location.
If you have any interesting indoor tips for winter indoors, let us know in the comments below.