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16 Top Town & City Photography Ideas To Get The Mind Thinking

16 Top Town & City Photography Ideas To Get The Mind Thinking

Dubai

 

A city or town offers a photographer a plethora of potential photographic subjects, making them a great location for an afternoon, morning or even a whole weekend of photography.

To give you some inspiration next time you’re out in a city with your camera, we’ve put together a list of 16 top photographic subjects you can find in a city / town, plus links to top tutorials that’ll help you perfect your shots of them. But first, let’s take a look at some of the kit you may want to consider taking next time you’re off for a photography walk around a city’s streets. 

 

 

What Gear Will I Need?

Telephoto Zoom Lens

Of course, you’re going to need a camera and this can be anything from a DSLR to a smaller compact. If you’re planning on taking some shots after the sun has set you may want to consider carrying a support, particularly if you’re going to be capturing light streaks. Do remember that some locations, such as cathedrals and stations, won’t allow you to use a support so do take this into consideration when planning your day.

ND and polarising filters don’t take up too much room and could come in useful as too would a variety of lenses if you’re not planning on using a compact camera. Consider taking a wide, tele-zoom and macro lens along if you have room in your camera bag for them. When it comes to bag choices, everyone is different so the best advice we can give you is take a bag that’s comfortable, will hold all the kit you’ll need easily and that’s easy to access. Sling style bags are popular in city locations due to how easy it is to access kit without having to remove the bag but an everyday backpack will be just as fine. 

What Should I Photograph? 

Sheffield

 

1. You Can’t Ignore Architecture

Buildings, old and new, surround our streets so you can’t really visit a city and not shoot some building-themed images. Click the link above for more tips on photographing architecture or visit the technique section to see the full list of architecture photography techniques we have on site. 

 

2. Have A Go At Street Photography

A busy city can be the perfect location to experiment with street portraits, particularly as you can blend into the crowds and shoot from the hip to capture some interesting candids.

 

3. Photograph A Landmark 

Famous landmarks have just one problem – they’re famous which means finding a shot of them which isn’t already on a thousand other cameras can be difficult but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. 

 

4. Get Up High 

One of the simplest ways to change the way your city image looks is to get up high. So climb a mountain, stand on some steps or use a lift to get to the top of a tower to give your images a different perspective. 

 

Building

 

5. Capture Shots Of Traffic & Transport 

City streets are busy places with buses, cars, cyclists and more getting from A-to-B giving you ample opportunity to get creative with your transport shots. 

 

6. Get Creative And Add Some Light Trails To Your City Shots 

Did you wonder how people get car lights to streak through their images? Well click the above link to find the answers. 

 

7. Photograph A Church, Cathedral Or Other Place of Worship

These structures make great subjects for architectural shots but if the weather turns or you want a break from walking along the streets with your camera gear, the inside of these buildings is well worth capturing, too. 

 

8. Visit A Museum

Museums are not only educational and interesting, but they offer plenty of photographic opportunities. Plus, many are free to enter which is always a bonus! Have a look around the outside of the museums too for interesting architectural shots worth capturing. 

 

9. Search For Interesting Architectural Patterns

Stop looking at buildings as whole structures and focus on the small pockets of interesting patterns and shapes they’re made up of.

 

10. Capture Reflections In Buildings 

Thanks to modern architecture that favours glass and steel over bricks and mortar cities are full of reflections which give us an alternative way to photograph the places we live in.

 

11. Photograph A Station

There are few towns and cities that do not have a station and they are fantastic places to take pictures. Interesting architecture, people to capture candids of and close-ups of interesting detail are just some of the shots you can capture around these locations.

 

12. Look For Stairs And Steps 

Stairs may sound a little boring but if you start thinking about the materials they’re made from and the shapes and styles that exist, you’ll soon realise there’s plenty of steps to keep you and your camera occupied.

 

13. Photograph A Bridge

Bridges come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, plus you can capture them from all angles making them a subject you can spend quite a while on. 

 

Clock Tower

 

14. Spend Some Time By A Canal

Canals were once used to transport goods to towns and cities right across the UK and as a result, there are still plenty of waterways running through our city streets. The long canals, bridges and lock gates that once supplied goods now supply ample photography opportunities and as they all have public walkways, you’re not going to upset anyone if you spend an hour two with your camera at the side of one.

 

15. Go For A Walk In A Town / City Park 

The green spaces found in towns and cities are a haven for many and are a great place to take your camera when you want a break from the busy streets. 

 

16. Capture Shots Of Shop Windows & Signs

Spend some time in your town and capture some interesting images of displays and signs. They’ll be plenty of interesting signs, plus head back out at night and the shop fronts will have a completely different look to them. 
 

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dudler’s latest blog : a short blog but long on ideas

dudler's latest blog : art, snap or reportage

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A short blog but long on ideas

25 Apr 2021 7:36AM  
Views : 102
Unique : 89

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It’s short because I was busy yesterday, and so I’m writing this at 7-20 in the morning, and I have things to do this morning. That’s different from much of the last year, for me! And the model returned some kit I lent her around Christmas 2019…

Yesterday, for the first time since October, I went out with a model to take pictures. We drove in convoy to Cannock Chase, and spent an hour or two wandering around and occasionally stopping for pictures. It was relaxing and delightful on a cool and sunny day. And when I got home, there was a daughter wanting to come round and do her lesson preparation in the garden…

So there will be blogs about my Alpha 900 and how big and heavy it feels after a break. And possibly why it convinced me that there might be something to this digital stuff after all. A blog about walking and looking for pictures. Maybe one about light and ‘seeing’ it for its possibilities. But that’s all for now…

11864_1619332521.jpg

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Best Father’s Day Gift Ideas & Photographers Gift Guide

A man with blue sunglasses over his head taking a picture with a professional camera on his hands.

Finding the perfect gift for a photography-loving father doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience, because the best Father’s Day gift ideas are ones that come from the heart. Of course, it helps that we’ve narrowed down the options for you. The photography gifts for dad in this guide are great choices for both professional shutterbugs and those who just love capturing life’s everyday moments with their camera. 

For example, the best point-and-shoot camera, or perhaps an upgrade to the best mirrorless camera, can be an excellent gift for dads who are just getting started, while a customized camera strap or a portable light might be a better option if your dad has been shooting pictures for a long time and is more particular about his camera gear. Heading out on vacation to a national park? One of the best drones could be perfect. And if you’re not sure about a bigger investment, a classic photo book is a welcome gift for all varieties of photographers, especially if you’re unsure of your dad’s favorite camera equipment brands. These are 10 of the best Father’s Day gift ideas that we think your dad would love to unwrap.

Best mirrorless camera bundle: Canon Mirrorless EOS RP Camera with Accessories

A black Canon camera mirrorless with all package of his set in one photo.

Mirrorless Made Easy

This Canon mirrorless camera bundle has everything dad needs to upgrade. Adorama

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Gifting dad a camera for Father’s Day can be tricky, but if he already owns Canon DSLR gear you can make the switch to mirrorless easier. This best mirrorless camera bundle includes a full-frame EOS RP digital camera body, an ED-EOS R adapter (which means he can use his old lenses on a new lighter body), a 64GB memory card, a battery, and tons of other helpful accessories. The EOS RP has a 26.2MP CMOS sensor, fast autofocus, 4K video capture, and a DIGIC 8 processor that makes it excel even in low-light situations. It’s much lighter than a DSLR, meaning that dad will be able to capture all of life’s adventures.

Best camera for a dad who loves to vlog: Sony ZV-1 4K HD Camera

A black Sony camera with tripod for Father's Day gifts

Tiny And Powerful

This is the absolute best camera for vlogging. Adorama

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If dad loves going live or creating content for YouTube, the ZV-1 is the camera for him. It features a vari-angle LCD screen, a directional three-capsule mic with a windscreen, and a one-touch bokeh switch to make his videos look more interesting with minimal effort. It can shoot 4K video and Full HD up to 120 fps, plus support for HLG and S-Log2/3, which means that dad can color grade his footage in post-production. Although it’s designed with vloggers in mind, it’s plenty able as a stills camera, too. This kit comes with an all-in-one Bluetooth grip and a memory card.

Best lens for the creative dad: Lensbaby Creative Bokeh Optic

A black rounded Lens Bokeh Optic with different creative forms in front of it.

A Focus On Flair

Unleash dad’s creativity with this clever Lensbaby lens. Adorama

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Photographers love bokeh as much as they love chasing that good light, and this unique lens from Lensbaby will give your photography-loving father the unique opportunity to control those out-of-focus bright points into incredible shapes. The lens has s single uncoated 50mm glass element, an internal 12-bladed aperture, and 11 magnetic drop-in apertures features shapes such as hearts, stars, seagulls, and more. This optic is designed to work with Lensbaby’s Optic Swap lenses, which are compatible with a wide variety of digital camera systems.

Best instant camera for Father’s Day: Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Hybrid Instant Camera

A black Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Hybrid Instant Camera with two boxes in green Fujifilm Instax Instant Film, a grey Photo lens cleaner piece, a red and gold memory card and also a black compact camera case.

Let’s Hear It For Film

This unique instant camera lets you record a sound to play with your picture. Fujifilm

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They say a picture is worth 1,000 words and this unique camera from Fujifilm will actually let dad record a few of those precious words as he gets a mini Instax print. The Instax Mini LiPlay is the best point-and-shoot camera because it also functions as a printer and allows users to record a snippet of audio that can be played by scanning a QR code printed on the piece of film. It’s a great way to hold onto the sounds that might have accompanied the moment that a picture was snapped. This bundle comes with two packs of film, a 32GB microSD card, and a compact carrying case.

Best portable LED light for dad: Lume Cube Broadcast Lighting Kit

A broadcast lighting kit with a long holder stick with three legs as a support to ground.

A Bright Idea Indeed

Lighting is a breeze with the Lume Cube Broadcast Lighting Kit. Lumecube

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Photographers love good light and the Lume Cube Broadcast Kit makes it easy for dad to look his best when he hops in front of the camera. This bi-color LED light panel comes with a monitor mount and a desktop tripod with a 360-degree rotating ball head for easy adjusting. It’s a great tool for video chatting, presenting at digital conferences, or throwing a bit of extra light on a subject while shooting. Lume Cube products are known for being extremely portable, easy-to-use, and durable, and this lighting kit checks all of those boxes.

Best drones for Father’s Day: DJI Mavic Mini Combo

DJI Mavic mini drone with accessories for Father's Day

Small But Mighty

The Mavic Mini is DJI’s smallest drone, making it one of the best drones for curious dads. DJI

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The rules around flying drones can be complicated and depending on where you live, everchanging. The DJI Mavic Mini is one of the best drones because it’s compact enough that it can be flown without registering it—a great choice if your dad is curious about drone photography and videography. The Mavic Mini can stay in the air for up to 30 minutes at a time, and this bundle comes with a camera that shoots 12MP aerial photos and 2.7K video, and works with the DJI Fly app, which takes the headache out of flying it. This kit comes with the drone, mini remote controller, three flight batteries, three pairs of spare propellers, two micro-USB cables, an RC cable, spare control sticks, a two-way charging hub, and a carrying bag—everything dad needs to launch his drone photography passion.

Best action camera for dad: GoPro HERO8 Waterproof Action Camera

GoPro Hero8 action camera for Father's Day

A Compact Accessory For Big Action

If dad loves adventure, this is the camera for him. GoPro

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The GoPro HERO8 is a versatile, easy-to-use action camera that will allow dad to capture all of his adventures with ease. The GoPro HERO8 features HyperSmooth 2.0 stabilization system for smooth footage regardless of the activity being captured. If your dad loves to enjoy the outdoors, this is the camera for him. It shoots 12MP photos, 4K 60fps video,  8x slow-motion video, and the ability to livestream. It’s been redesigned so it’s easier to swap out mounts and a lens that is more resistant to impact when dad is capturing all of his adventures.

Best photobook for a Father’s Day gift: “The Americans” by Robert Frank

The black and white first page of the photobook called

An American Classic

Robert Frank’s book “The Americans” changed 20th-century photography. Robert Frank, Jack Kerouac

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No photo book collection is complete without Robert Frank’s “The Americans,” a photo project that changed the way the world thought about photography. Originally published in 1958, the book was initially panned by critics in the United States, but over time his asymmetrical black-and-white images have gone on to inspire countless photographers. The book contains 83 photographs captured during Frank’s road trip across America that revealed a less-than-rosy view of the so-called “American dream.” Frank is a photographer’s photographer, and looking at the photos feels a bit like reading a poem. As photography gifts go, it’s as relevant today as when it was first released and deserves a place on every photography lover’s coffee table or bookshelf.

Best customizable camera accessory: Personalized Custom Camera Strap

Colorful personalized camera straps as Father's Day gifts

Customizable Quality

A customized leather camera strap to secure dad’s favorite gear. Tags & Straps

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A quality leather camera strap is one of the best Father’s Day gift ideas if you want to put a smile on dad’s face. These straps are adjustable between 22 inches and 50 inches, work with any style of camera, come in a variety of colors, and can be personalized in one to three locations with words or symbols that will remind him of family. A beautiful strap like this is sure to last a lifetime.

photo-themed cuff links as Father's Day gift ideas

Dial In Some Style

These cufflinks are shaped like a camera dial for a pop of style. Cuff-Daddy

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Photographers can be tricky to shop for, and if dad is picky about his camera gear it might make more sense to get him a photography-themed gift instead. Cufflinks are an old-school gift that can transition from the office to nights out. These clever cufflinks are shaped like a camera dial found on most modern digital cameras and will make for a fun accent piece for your photography-loving father.

The final word on the best Father’s Day gift ideas for photographers

If your dad loves photography, chances are he has an eye for detail. We know these photography gifts will show dad that you appreciate nuances as well. The best Father’s Day gift ideas show that you did the research about what your dad loves when selecting the perfect gift to show him that you care. The best point-and-shoot camera or the best mirrorless camera can be an amazing upgrade if he tends to do most of his shooting on his phone, while a dad who has been shooting pictures for longer might appreciate fun camera accessories or a classic photo book. Whether selecting the best drones and action cameras or something more stationary, these camera gear gifts show you’re, well, focused on supporting what makes him happy.


Here’s another gift guide, in case you also need help finding the the best Father’s Day gifts under $100. Popular Photography wants to help you find the most useful and expert shopping recommendations for the best gift ideas. Searching for more unique gifts? Check out more gift guides here: books for photographers, practical gifts, the best photography gifts for Mother’s Day.

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4 Very Quick Waterfall Photography Ideas

4 Very Quick Waterfall Photography Ideas

Here are a few quick but still interesting ideas on how you can photograph waterfalls when you’re next out on a walk in the countryside with your camera.

| 
Landscape and Travel

Skogafoss Waterfall

 

Waterfalls, no matter their size, are a pretty awe-inspiring naturally occurring element that stand tall in the landscape and are well worth a photo or two. With this in mind, here are some quick-fire ideas you can think about next time you’re lucky enough to be photographing one. 

 

Do It Differently 

Skogafoss Waterfall

 

Instead of starting with slow shutter speeds and blurry water (we’ll get to this in a bit) why not take the time to think how you can shoot the waterfall you’ve found on your travels differently?

1. Try standing on the curve of a riverbank so you can use the s-curves created by the flowing water to lead the eye to the waterfall. Look at the scenery to the sides of the waterfall. Do the wet rocks have particularly interesting patterns? Is the foliage particularly vibrant and as a result will make a colourful frame?

2. Closer to the waterfall take your wellies, waders and macro lens with you and photograph the bubbles that are formed.

3. When winter comes around again a few days of really cold weather can turn waterfalls into interesting ice structures and icicles on the edge of banks can turn an ordinary-looking shot into something more spectacular.

4. Enhance the power of the waterfall with fast shutter speeds then finally turn your attention to everyone’s favourite technique – blurring water with slow shutter speeds. You need your tripod and your camera set to shutter priority. Then, pick a slow-ish shutter speed of around one to two seconds, check your composition and take your shot. If you find your shot’s overexposed use a polarising filter or switch to aperture priority mode but then it can take you a while to find the right shutter speed. You can also go back to your chosen location at sunrise or sunset when the light’s not as bright.

 

Skogafoss Waterfall

For more tips on photographing waterfalls, have a look at these tutorials:

 

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Macro Photography Ideas to Try at Home

Most of us have gotten rather used to our homes over the past year. And most photographers, including me, have had a harder time finding interesting subjects and inspiration as a result. But one of the best things about macro photography is that you can do it anywhere, including indoors, with a bit of creativity. This article compiles some of my favorite DIY-type ideas for macro photography at home – try them out yourself!

I’ll mention before we start that I’m not the first photographer to think of most of these ideas, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve seen some of them before. But that doesn’t make it any less fun to put your own spin on this type of photography.

Homemade Backdrop

Step one is to figure out a good backdrop so you can shoot these photos more easily.

If you’re a portrait photographer, maybe you already have some nice backdrops of different colors that you can co-opt for these macro photos. If not, don’t worry. You can make a backdrop suited for macro photography simply by draping a shirt, tablecloth, or sheet over a cardboard box. 

I did that here with a black t-shirt. It’s not a fancy backdrop, but for macro photos, it’ll be so far out of focus – if it’s visible at all – that you don’t need anything more than this:

Custom backdrop for macro photography using a t-shirt

Macro Ideas

1. CD and Water Droplets

One of the classic subjects for this type of “homemade” macro photography is a CD. You might need to search through some cabinets, but I think most photographers have some old CDs lying around somewhere. If possible, try to use one that doesn’t have too many scratches.

If you tilt the CD relative to your light source, you’ll end up with interesting patterns of color like this:

CD colors up close
NIKON Z 7 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, ISO 64, 2 seconds, f/4.8

To add even more interest, you can spray the CD with water droplets and play around with depth of field. Try propping up the CD and shooting from a tripod so you can use longer exposures and capture higher quality images.

The results are fun, abstract, and easy to capture:

Close-up photo of a CD with water droplets macro photography idea
NIKON Z 7 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, ISO 64, 10 seconds, f/4.8
Abstract macro photo of water droplets on a CD
NIKON Z 7 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, flash, ISO 64, 1/200, f/4.8
Water droplets on a CD macro photo
NIKON Z 7 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, ISO 64, 3 seconds, f/4.8

2. Splashes of Water

Another idea is to photograph drops of water directly (no CD needed). Most likely, you’ve already seen some photos of water splashes and how interesting they can be up close. Some photographers go so far as to build custom droplet setups that can produce fascinating patterns of water splashes interacting.

The method I’m covering here isn’t so advanced, but you’ll still end up getting some great shots. Something like this is fairly easy to achieve:

Splash of water macro photography idea
NIKON Z 7 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, flash, ISO 400, 1/200, f/8.0

My process was simply to hold a bottle of food coloring about arm’s length above a (very full) bowl of water. As I dripped in the food coloring with my right hand, I’d try to take a photo at the perfect moment with my left.

It takes a bit of practice, of course – both to time the photo correctly and to aim the droplet within your depth of field. You’ll also want to cover a wide area around your bowl of water with newspapers or paper towels, unless you want to risk food dye getting everywhere.

For camera settings, it’s essential that you use a flash, or it will be almost impossible to get the droplet to freeze in midair. I also recommend an aperture of f/8 or narrower to give yourself more depth of field – and thus more room for error. You’ll get the best light by bouncing the flash off a large surface, such as an umbrella, wall, or ceiling.

Experiment with different backgrounds, food coloring, and compositions in order to get some interesting results. For example, I took the following photo by placing an orange slice behind my subject, as you can see reflected in the water:

Water droplets with orange background
NIKON D7000 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, flash, ISO 800, 1/250, f/22.0

3. Oil and Water

Here’s another one that involves water. (What can I say? It’s a good subject.)

This may actually be my favorite idea on the list, because the results you can get are beautiful and varied. All you need to do is drip some oil on a dish of water, then photograph the setup from above.

Here are the steps:

  1. Get a baking dish or some other wide container with a clear bottom
  2. Place the baking dish on some tall objects so there’s empty space below. (I used two paint cans, one under either side of the baking dish)
  3. Fill it most of the way with water
  4. Pour in about a tablespoon of oil
  5. Stir the oil gently so it disperses around the surface of the water
  6. Set up your camera directly above the baking dish and compose straight down
  7. Experiment with the color and direction of light, as well as sliding colorful objects under your baking dish

You can see a photo of my setup here:

Oil and Water Macro Photography Setup

I found that I got the best light by shining my flash onto the tablecloth so it bounced from under the baking dish. (You can see how I’m aiming my flash in the photo above.) I also liked to slide magazines and bright plastic lids under the setup to give me some interesting color patterns.

Here are some of the photos I’ve taken with this technique:

Red and blue drops of oil on top of water macro photography idea
NIKON Z 7 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, flash, ISO 64, 1/200, f/3.5
Orange photo of oil floating on top of water
NIKON Z 7 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, flash, ISO 400, 1/100, f/4.0
Oil on water macro photo with bubbles
NIKON Z 7 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, flash, ISO 64, 1/200, f/3.3
Oil and Water Macro Photo Example
NIKON Z 7 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, flash, ISO 64, 1/200, f/3.5

4. Clear Ice

Most likely, the ice cubes in your freezer aren’t very interesting for photography. (Unless you have one of those dinosaur-shaped ice trays 🙂

The biggest problem with ordinary ice cubes is that they usually have too many air bubbles in them, without any interesting crystal patterns or cool textures. However, you can fix this problem by making clear ice from scratch. Here’s the process:

  1. Fill a baking dish halfway with extremely salty water, and put it in the freezer for an hour
  2. Separately, boil some water and let it sit until it cools. It’s best to used distilled water (can be found at most grocery stores), but filtered or even tap water still work well. What you’re doing here is removing any air bubbles in the water
  3. Pour the boiled water into some freeze-proof containers, such as freezer bags or silicon molds
  4. Put the containers of boiled water into the saltwater baking dish from earlier
  5. Wait a couple hours, and the ice in your containers will be almost completely clear, with some interesting crystalline patterns that work great for macro photography

Voila! Clear ice.

Clear Ice Technique for Macro Photos

My recommendation is to try lighting the ice from below (for example, by placing it on a clear dish and shining your light from underneath) to show maximum texture in the ice. But the light you use is something you should experiment with for yourself.

For what it’s worth, this is the closest to a “unique” idea on this list, and I’ve only taken a handful of photos like this myself. In other words, there’s a lot of untapped potential here. This is how these photos can look:

Ice crystals macro photography idea
NIKON Z 7 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, ISO 400, 1/500, f/16.0
Ice crystals at home macro photography idea
NIKON Z 7 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, ISO 400, 1/1250, f/16.0

5. Other Ideas

There really are countless subjects that you can capture for this type of close-up photography, so I’ll just go through a few of my other favorites quickly.

Folded Paper

Depending on your lighting setup, you can get some great close-up shots of ordinary printer paper. Set your camera on a timer, use the rear LCD for composition, and fold/curl it into some different shapes.

Close-up abstract photo of paper folded into interesting shape
NIKON Z 7 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, ISO 64, 1/200, f/3.5

Dropping Objects into Water

Another water one! This time, if you have a large vase or empty aquarium tank – something with a large side made of glass – you can try capturing objects underwater directly after dropping them. It’s the inverse of water droplet photography.

Orange slice falling into water with bubbles
NIKON D7000 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, flash, ISO 100, 1/250, f/11.0

Otherworldly Sponge

It sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel, but you can also photograph a sponge to look like it’s the surface of another planet. Experiment with sidelighting, backlighting, and long exposures (to light paint the sponge in different ways), and you’ll be surprised what interesting results you can get. This just goes to show that any subject can work for photography with a bit of thinking outside the box.

Macro photo of a sponge
NIKON Z 7 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, ISO 64, 5 seconds, f/8.0

Fabric, Shells, and More

My last recommendation is to look around your home and try to see things with a “macro eye.” You can take good photos of all sorts of odd subjects, and the ideas in this article only scratch the surface.

Close-up photo of colorful markers
NIKON Z 7 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, ISO 125, 1/13, f/3.5
Fabric macro photo with gentle lighting
NIKON Z 7 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, flash, ISO 64, 1/200, f/4.5
Backlit shell macro photo example
NIKON D7000 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, ISO 100, 30 seconds, f/13.0

Conclusion

Hopefully this article gave you some ideas and inspiration for your own photography! It’s always good to exercise our photography muscles even when we’re staying indoors, and the subjects here are a great place to start.

I also want to emphasize that you don’t actually need a macro lens or any special equipment to photograph any of these subjects (other than perhaps the water droplet photography, which is much easier with a flash). All you need is some creative thinking and flexibility. I’ve seen outstanding photos of everything from rocks to silverware, all done in the comfort of the photographer’s home. So, set up your camera, look for some interesting subjects, and have fun.

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Easy Eye-Catching Macro Photo Ideas You Can Make At Home

Easy Eye-Catching Macro Photo Ideas You Can Make At Home

Photographers might be struggling with coming up with interesting photography ideas when cooped up at home to stay safe from COVID-19 or because the weather is bad. In this 7.5-minute video, Photographer Spencer Cox shows that great photos can still be made despite these challenges.

Cox came up with five macro ideas that you can try at home that do not require any special equipment and use common household items. He says that in order to try any of these shots, all you’ll need is a tripod, an off-camera flash, and a backdrop – a shirt can work for the latter if you don’t have a dedicated backdrop.

“One of the biggest strengths of macro and close-up photography is that you can do it anywhere, including in your home, and get amazing results,” Spencer says. “Even kit lenses tend to have pretty decent maximum magnifications around 1:4 or so, which is enough to take great pictures of most of these subjects.”

The first idea that Cox demonstrates involves using a CD and a spray bottle. By playing with the angle light hits the CD and the water droplets, you can get some really interesting results.

Easy Eye-Catching Macro Photo Ideas You Can Make At Home 1

The next photo involves creating clear ice – conventional ice from your freezer might not be particularly photogenic – which Cox shows how to make in the video above. Once you have done so, Cox suggests shooting the ice by lighting it from below. You can get different results depending on the shards of ice you use, but this is what he was able to create by focusing on the ice crystals:

Easy Eye-Catching Macro Photo Ideas You Can Make At Home 4

Cox’s next idea involves capturing a water dropplet falling into a pool the moment before they disappear. While there are tools that exist specifically to do this perfectly every time, you can still get great shots if you time them properly. For his example, Cox shows what he was able to capture using food coloring droplets.

Easy Eye-Catching Macro Photo Ideas You Can Make At Home 7

The fourth idea Cox suggests is photographing oil on the surface of water. Cox says that the results can look like you’re shooting something on another planet, and while the setup is a bit more complicated than what he has shown thus far, it still doesn’t’ require any special equipment other than what you can likely find in your home:

Easy Eye-Catching Macro Photo Ideas You Can Make At Home 10

Cox’s last idea goes back to something more straightforward and involves dropping fruit into water. It’s a classic advertising shot that you will still see employed today to advertise fruit-flavored liquids. It involves the same general process as the water droplets example, but this time you have to try and time the fruit as it falls.

Easy Eye-Catching Macro Photo Ideas You Can Make At Home 13

“I also recommend searching around and coming up with your own ideas for this type of photography,” Cox says. “With some creativity, there’s really no limit to what you can photograph.”

What do you think of Cox’s ideas? Have you tried anything like them? Let us know in the comments. For more from Cox, you can subscribe to his YouTube Channel or follow him on Instagram.

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How Do You Actually Think of Good Ideas?

How Do You Actually Think of Good Ideas?

It is all well and good to put all the time and effort you can into making yourself an apt photographer, but when it comes time to be creative, how do you actually come up with good ideas? This fantastic video tackles a rather nebulous subject to help you become a better photographer. 

Coming to you from Jamie Windsor, this informative video discusses how to train yourself to come up with good creative ideas. This is always a tricky subject, as it is not something that can be objectively codified like learning to make a proper exposure. I have always used artificial limitations when I have found myself in some sort of creative rut. By placing restrictions on your process, you are forced to come up with ways to work around them, and this can often give your creativity the jumpstart it needs. And these limitations do not need to be overwrought or too over the top; simply choosing to do something like only shoot at narrow apertures or slow shutter speeds for the day can help you break through that creative block and get back on track. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Windsor.

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Top Creative Photography Ideas You Can Try At Home

Top Creative Photography Ideas You Can Try At Home

The COOPH photographers are back with more top tips on using everyday items you can find in your home in clever and original ways.

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Creative

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Gift Ideas for Film Photographers at Every Price Point

Gift Ideas for Film Photographers at Every Price Point

It’s about the time of year where many people are looking for gift ideas. This list outlines multiple options for a film photographer at multiple price points.   

To start, I’m going to break down my suggestions by price point. There will be broken down by items less than $25, $50, $100, and $250. There are, of course, other more expensive options but I wouldn’t suggest spending more than $250 without knowing very specifically what the person wants. I don’t plan to suggest, explicitly, any cameras throughout on the assumption that the photographer already has a camera. With that said, should you be set on gifting a camera, I will cover at the end of the article a bit on why it’s difficult to make a specific suggestion for someone I’ve never met. Further, I am not breaking anything down by camera type so the suggestions are a bit more broadly applicable. Lastly, I will reference some items that can be (and in some cases, need to be) picked up used at which point I suggest you reference my article on picking up film gear on the used market. 

Gift Ideas for Film Photographers at Every Price Point 16

Under $25

This is both the easiest and the most difficult category because it’s the category film falls into. Unless the person you’re reading this for insists on shooting black and white, I would highly recommend single rolls of Kodak Portra 400 or 800 (see a review here). Any suggestion for other color negative films will open up a can of worms that we’ve already dived into previously. As such, I’ll leave the film stock suggestions here for now. One suggestion that I highly recommend to go along with film would be archival sheets. I recommend these for 35mm and these for 120. 

There are two additional things that I suggest to every film photographer. The first, a shutter cable release, has several options which range from being from cheap to about as much as you’re willing to spend. For the cheap options, there’s really only one but if you’re willing to spend a little more, I would recommend the Nikon or Gepe cloth-covered shutter release cables. The more expensive options will do the same job as the cheapest option but will hold up better over time and are definitely more of a pleasure to use. The second suggestion I have would be The Negative by Ansel Adams. For anyone that considers themselves a film photographer, there is a great deal to learn from Mr. Adams and I don’t think I’ve ever met a single film photographer who didn’t have something to learn in this book. 

Gift Ideas for Film Photographers at Every Price Point 17

Under $50

Briefly getting back to film, getting a pro pack of a favorite film is always a good move. Personally, I asked for a pro pack of Kodak Ektar and one of Fujifilm Provia 100F. If the photographer in your life shoots 4×5, I would recommend getting them some color film. Another suggestion would be a good camera strap. I like the Peak Design straps so I can have one strap for multiple cameras. They hold up really well and feel good to wear. They have multiple sizes to choose from. My fiancé really likes the smaller, trimmer camera strap and prefer the one that is what I would consider a more normal width. 

Under $100

If the film photographer in your life is not yet developing their own black and white, now is the time! I wrote an article previously which outlined what it takes to get into processing your own black and white film. The actual process itself is really not difficult but can be intimidating to those that haven’t tried it. After processing one roll, they’ll be glad they got started. 

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Under $250

Coming in at just over $100 is a wonderful light table from Kaiser. If the photographer in your life doesn’t already have one, they can be great to have. More over, if they ever shoot slide film, they’ll be addicted in a quick hurry. 

Every photographer needs a tripod – particularly if they are a landscape photographer. Personally, I prefer Manfrotto and 3 Legged Thing. Both companies make splendid tripods and the with a budget of $250, you should be able to get a carbon fiber tripod. My suggestion for the Manfrotto would be the Element and for 3 Legged Thing it would be the Billy. If they already have a tripod, I would go for a nice photography-specific backpack. The Peak Design everyday backpack is weatherproof and can hold up to quite a beating. A lesser expensive but still good quality option would be the Pelican MPB20

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Cameras  

I would first like to note that for film photographers, cameras are a very personal thing. It’s not quite as simple as the choices in the digital world where you have DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras. With that said, should you be adamant about picking up a camera for someone, I would direct you to two previous articles; the first article briefly covers a list of over- and under-rated film cameras in 2020 and the second article outlines the different types and formats of cameras that are available. I would highly recommend that if you’re the person requesting a camera, you think through what you’re looking for in terms of format (35mm, 645, 6×6, etc…) and style (TLR, rangefinder, SLR, etc…) so that you can make a more informed request. If you’re buying a camera for another person, I would highly suggest that you attempt to understand which camera type would suit the gift recipient best. If you buy someone a 35mm rangefinder but what they really wanted is a 6×6 TLR, you’re out of luck.

Gift Cards

While gift cards are not always an ideal idea for a gift, they can really be quite useful. A gift card to B&H would be helpful for buying film or any of the other new items on the list. In addition, B&H sells used gear which includes film cameras and lenses. Other retailers, such a local camera shop and KEH would also be helpful for buying gear. Aside from buying gear, a place where a gift card could be most helpful would be with the company where the photographer gets their film developed. Indeed, film developing costs a significant amount of money, and relieving some of that burden would be greatly appreciated by every film photographer. 

Did I miss something? What would you suggest to someone looking for ideas? 
 

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Even More Home Photography Ideas You Can Try Today

Even More Home Photography Ideas You Can Try Today

Already bored at home? Well, don’t you worry because the COOPH photographers are doing their best even during these extraordinary times to provide you with fresh ideas and inspiration.

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Creative

 

If you’re looking for ways you can get creative at home with your photography then the amazing COOPH team has another great video tutorial that will fill you with new ideas. 

This list of fun things you can photograph at home only uses things you should already have at home which means you can watch the tutorial and then get busy with your project straight away. 

 

Fun with cutlery

 

Themes include food and drink (avocadoes and coffee specifically), macro photography in your freezer or sink, having fun with pots/dishes, shooting portraits, taking on a one-colour challenge and using a lens ball. There’s also a funny theme right at the end which shows you how you can capture vacation photos right in front of your computer screen. 

 

Lensball

 

If you’ve never used a lens ball before, they’re a fun accessory that you can use to capture some really creative photos but do be careful if you’re using them in sunlight as they can get very hot! You can pick them up on Amazon for not much money if you did want to experiment with one. 

‘Thank you’ team COOPH for the inspiration! 

 

Macro shot of ice

 

What Have You Photographed At Home?

Do you have a favourite theme from the above? Or, have you captured your own creative photos from home? Share your results with us in the comments below or in the Gallery

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