Updated: Nov 12, 2020
A lot of us are in lockdown, or have limited movement in this uncertain time. So I have come up with a list of some ideas for you to get some awesome photos in lockdown, and make the most of it. It would be useful if you have a garden, if not you can always find some open space nearby to try some of these ideas out. Even inside your house you can get some amazing photos, so sit back, relax and let's run through some of these suggestions.
If you haven't ever used or heard of one of these then you are in for a treat, they're so cool, and the creative options are endless. A glass prism can help you to create a rainbow (small one) anywhere you want, on demand. Personally, I think they look great in portraits, I am sure you can come up with some other ideas too!
Get your glass prism here! They're not expensive!
This can be a slightly more dangerous option, so try at your own risk. You can get a really cool effect using steel wool, so it is totally worth it (for me anyway!). You will need an open space (definitely don't do this indoors!), and darkness ideally (blue hour works too). To create this awesome effect, the best way I have found is to stuff the steel wool into a whisk. Then cover it in lighter fuel, petrol or something flammable. Light the wool and spin the whisk around, the wool will spark up and spray everywhere. You would be wise to wear safety googles or some kind of eye protection while doing this. You can get an even more crazy spray by tying a string to the end of the whisk and wizzing it round, however this is even more risky!
While the whisk is spinning round you will need to have a long shutter speed on, at least 5 seconds. So adjust your camera accordingly, if you can't shoot in manual yet then click here. You could also google how to put your camera in shutter priority mode, then set it to 5 seconds plus depending on how long you want the effect to go on for. The more you experiment the better you will get the hang of this.
Its better to try this with someone (one on the camera one on the wool), you could do it alone using a timer delay though. Like I say, try at your own risk but the results are great as you can see below! Get your steel wool here, whisk (make sure its metal) here, and lighter fluid here!
When I say details I am referring to macro photography. If you don't have a macro lens, don't worry you can still shoot details. It is better with a tube extender- get one for Canon, Nikon or Sony. You can still try without either of these, but trust me, they help! There are interesting details everywhere, in your house, out in nature, and the more creative you can get with it, the better! This is a chance to change things up in your portfolio, and try something new!
If you haven't tried doing portraits before, now is a good time. While you may have limited contact with people, you still have some during lockdown. You can even do socially distanced photoshoots if you wanted to push the boat out a bit (obviously depending on the laws where you are). You don't need to go to some incredible locations to get great portraits. Heck, even an old looking door is a nice backdrop for portraits. Take a look at some top portrait photographers work for inspiration, then have a go yourself. The prism would be an awesome addition for a project like this. So get your gran, sister, partner, whoever out and get some really nice shots for them. Everyone likes a good profile picture right?
Last but not least (similar effect to steel wool, in-fact using steel wool is a form of light painting), we have light painting.The same sort of settings to steel wool will be needed ie 5 sec shutter speed +, I talk about light painting in more detail at the end of this video. There are so many different techniques and ways you can have a go at this. Literally any torch will do the job. You can try lights with different colours, LED's, pixel sticks (if you have the budget for that), anything that emits light. Once your camera is set doing its long exposure, anywhere you move the light source will be painted into the image (again the more you practice the more you will get the hang of it).
Light painting is one of the first techniques I learnt when I was starting out, and it honestly helped me learn how to shoot manual a lot quicker. Take the opportunity while we are locked down to master a new skill, and let your creative juices flow.
Thank you for reading, let me know how it goes, and if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask here!