If you’ve suddenly found yourself at home for an extended period, your first reaction could be to feel restricted in terms of what you can achieve. Fear not, there are lots of photography projects you can work on from home. In this guide, I’ve detailed ten projects I plan on working on in the coming weeks.
1. Make a photography zine
With time on your hands, there’s no better time to start thinking about creating a photography zine. I’ve just made my first zine with images I took while on holiday on the Isle of Wight last year.
There was quite a steep learning curve for me in putting it all together. Some of the skills I learned include: how to select images for a book, page layout using Adobe InDesign, and the difference in how images look printed in the CMYK color space instead of how they’re viewed on the screen in the RGB color space. The next step is to market and sell my zine.
The whole process has been very rewarding. Look out for a future Digital Photography School article coming soon about this topic.
2. Organize your Lightroom catalogs
If your Lightroom is anything like my Lightroom, of all the photography projects you can work on from home, this one could take the most time. Over the next few weeks, I’ve decided to start organizing it once and for all.
With well over 200,000 photos, this is a daunting task. Like all big projects, I’ve decided to break it down into manageable chunks. Starting with my 2019 photos, I’m aiming to sort, keyword and organize two months of photos per day.
My process includes adding keywords, adding ratings to photos I like, creating collections for shoots or locations, and flagging photos for deletion. It also includes exporting photos for a variety of uses: family photos, photo projects, stock photography, and for my portfolio and website.
The most rewarding part for me is flagging photos for deletion – this is a fantastic way to free up much-needed space on my hard drive. It’s so easy to forget that you have taken multiple photos – in both JPG and RAW format – of the same subject. I take great delight in flagging the ones I don’t need and deleting them forever.
3. Catalog your equipment
If you’re anything like me, you probably have camera equipment in boxes, on shelves, everywhere! Getting it all down on the floor and sorting through it item by item can be a very useful activity. You may well find cameras, lenses, filters, or other items you forgot you had.
As I sort through my equipment, I like to catalog it all in a spreadsheet, making notes about each item. Noting if there’s an issue with its working or cosmetic condition, where I got the item from, and how much I paid for it. This is also a really good way to work out if there’s anything you don’t use anymore and could sell to fund other gear.
4. Research a photographer
When I was on holiday last year on the Isle of Wight in England, quite by accident, I discovered an amazing place called Dimbola. This was the home of the 19th-century photographic pioneer, Julia Margaret Cameron.
There’s a wonderful photography museum inside the house, along with descriptions of how she took the images and many prints of her work. Looking around the house, I wondered how many other amazing photographers I had never heard of?
For this project, research a photographer from the past. It could be from 20 years ago or 120 years ago. You could research a photographer from the genre that you like the most, or someone in a completely different genre. Who knows what inspiration might strike?
Take a look at our Lessons From the Masters Series.
5. Create a memories book
When I was growing up, we had a cupboard under the bookshelf that held all of our photo albums. At any time I could dig them out and have a look (and a laugh) at all the family memories they contained.
These days, most of our family photos are on hard drives and devices. One of my goals is to create a series of memories books for my family. When I show my children photos from a few years ago, they always get a kick out of it. Why not use your time at home to create a book for someone in your family as a gift?
One of the advantages of sorting through your Lightroom catalog is that you’ll already have a folder of images ready to go for your memories book.
6. Read a photography book
If photography is your passion, you’ll no doubt have a bookshelf full of photography-related titles. I have dozens of photography books, yet there’s only a few that I’ve actually read cover to cover. Others I’ve put on the shelf telling myself that one day I would get around to reading them. Guess what? That ‘one day’ is here!
I now have a list of books that I will work through in the next month. Some I’ve read before, most I’ve only flicked through. For books that teach a technique, I like to make notes as I find that helps me remember the information more effectively.
7. Work on your lighting techniques
Now is the perfect time to working on your lighting techniques. As far as photography projects you can work on from home, learning more about light could have the biggest impact on you as a photographer.
Even with a single flash, there are dozens of different ways to light an image.
Once you add a light stand, an umbrella or a softbox, your options grow. Find a book or search dPS for lighting techniques, or watch some YouTube tutorials. Play around with how light affects your images. Often it’s trial and error, seeing what works and what doesn’t.
The set up for the photo below was quite simple. I laid my camera on a black sheet. Then I attached my Godox flash to a stand, pointing away from the subject into a silver umbrella. I then took a series of photos with Fujifilm X-T3 – a remote on the hotshoe triggered the flash.
There wasn’t much to do in post-production. I darkened the blacks a little and removed a small scratch from the top of my camera. You could apply this or other lighting techniques to people, food, objects, anything.
8. Video chat with other photographers
In one of the many photography-themed Facebook Groups I’m in, someone organized a video conference a few days ago. About twenty of us dialled in from all over the world for a chat. Having the opportunity to talk to other people in different countries was amazing.
Lots of different topics were covered, including photography projects you can work on from home. Knowing that there are other people out there in the same boat can be quite comforting. Why not organize a video chat with a friend, or a group of people with the same interest? Many video conferencing tools are free, or have a free option.
9. Social media spring clean
It may not be spring everywhere in the world, but there’s no better time to spring clean your socials. Start by looking through your profile, is the description still accurate? Is your website listed? Is your profile photo up-to-date? Then take a look through your photos. Are there any that you’d like to hide or delete because they no longer fit with your profile or brand?
Next, look through the images you exported as part of your Lightroom Catalog clean-up. Think about the best order to post them in. Will you follow a theme based on location? Or simply post them in an order that looks good for the Instagram grid?
Finally, look at who you’re following on social media. Look for new accounts or hashtags to be inspired by, and also consider unfollowing accounts that you’re no longer interested in.
10. Research a photographic technique
Photography is incredibly broad and diverse. There are so many different techniques to learn and master. As photographers many of us will only scratch the surface of what’s possible.
On Digital Photography School, there are articles on almost every kind of photography technique you can think of. Some of my favourites include how to shoot traffic trails, tips for shooting pet portraits, and taking better sunset photos.
You can also check out some of my recent articles for dPS including 17 Tips for Shooting Better Urban Portraits and Top Tips for Photographing the Best a City has to Offer in 48-hours.
Not being able to go out for an extended period of time can be daunting, but there are so many photography projects you can work on from home. From making zines to promote your work, creating photo books as gifts for family members, and of course, cleaning up your Lightroom catalog.
There’s also lots of inspiration you can take, from the thousands of articles here on dPS, or by researching a photographer or photographic technique.
What projects are you working on at home? Tell us in the comments below.