The Clog’s guide to creating a DIY at-home photo shoot

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Maya Valluru/Staff

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I recently discovered the excitement and fun of creating my own at-home photo shoot. For my roommate’s shelter-in-place birthday, we decided to put together our creative energy and take some pictures. We discovered that by simply putting together items such as a bedsheet and our spare lamps, we could turn our living room into a studio. 

Whether you’re bonding with your friends or combating loneliness, photography is an exciting hobby you can start with your phone. Take portraits of you and your housemates, pets or anyone else with this guide to setting up a photo shoot at home. 

Tape up your backdrop

Get some painter’s tape and a bedsheet, a tablecloth or other fabric. I used a black sheet because it was all that I had, but try to coordinate or contrast the color with the colors you plan to include in your photos. Experiment with colors accessible to you, and don’t be afraid to try something new. After you pick a fabric, be sure to hang it up securely. 

Position your phone or camera

This is one of the most important steps and will be more difficult without a tripod or phone stand. You can balance your phone against books or other heavy items. Or, consider making a DIY phone holder with a paper cup or binder clips. Whichever you choose, test how each angle will look on your subject as you position your phone. 

Light your subject 

Good lighting can transform a picture, so it’s important to pay close attention to how you set it all up. We used three lamps, with two in front of the subject and one shining onto the backdrop for contrast. If you don’t have extra lamps lying around, use reflective surfaces to bounce light off your lamps and directly onto your subject. You can even make your own light reflector by attaching foil to a large flat item. 

Have fun with props and accessories

Add some excitement to your shoot by bringing in surprise elements such as hats or jewelry. While store-bought props can be cool, they can also be overdone, so consider making your own props by using things that connect to the subject. If you don’t have props lying around, try highlighting unique visuals such as a tattoo or a piercing. 

Taking pictures is a memory-making activity that can help you express any pent-up creative energy you’re carrying. It may also spark some new ideas and interests. Take advantage of extra time at home this school year to create your own DIY photo shoot.

Contact Sera Smith at [email protected].