Facebook Pixel Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Ever want to create interesting photographs without having to spend so much on equipment? Chances are that you already own ordinary household items that can give your photos that creative lighting twist to make them pop! Read and try these creative light tips using things that are already in your home.

In almost all of the tips, I use my smartphone to light my subject, which is also another item you can use that is already in your home!

1 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

1. Shadows and patterns

To create shadows and patterns in your photos, try some of the following items that you have in your home already. Create a dot pattern with a colander. Hold it under the light – it can be a flashlight or natural light over your subject and you’ll see how the shadows form.

Experiment with different items with similar holes like a spatula, cheese grater, or laundry basket. Hold the items close and far away from your subject until you get the look that you want! Another easy way to create shadows is with the blinds on your windows. You can place your subject next to the blinds and angle them so that you get the desired pattern on your subject.

2 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Using one small light like the flash on my phone and a colander works for making patterns.

You can also cut out patterns on paper, cardboard, or other similar materials to get the patterns you want. Hold them over your subject, and under your light source, and you’ll have shadows and patterns for your photos.

2. Color filters

Using translucent paper like cellophane or even document protectors that are translucent can help you add color casts to your photos. Cut them into squares or circles the diameter of your lens and hold each one up as you take a photo. You can also use tape to keep them on the lens while you’re photographing your subject.

3 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

I used cut up CD color cases. Document protectors would also work. Anything translucent.

Layer the colors or place them at the edges of the lens to create different color casts in the same photo. Another way is to put the colored paper in front of your light source, like a flashlight or sunlight, in order to achieve the color cast. This way you don’t have to have the paper over your lens and you can mix in different colors in the scene.

4 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

You can also use a tablet, laptop, or phone to create color casts as well. Try and aim to photograph your subject in a bit of a darker place so that the color cast shows up a little more. Place your device close to the subject and see how the colors show up onto your subject. Make sure your camera is steady as less light will cause more camera shake if you’re using slow shutter speed. Use a fast lens so that you don’t have blurry photos.

5 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Use the color filter to the side of the lens.

3. Making rainbows

Using an old CD can create a rainbow light when it’s being reflected. Use this to create interesting rainbows on your subject or background. You can tilt it to get different effects.

6 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Another way you can use a CD to create interesting light is to cut it up and glue it to poster board or cardboard and hold it up to the light that way. See what kind of creative light you can get onto your subject!

Try moving it around so that you can angle the rainbow just how you want it in your photo. Get creative with placing the rainbow to highlight different parts of your scene.

4. Fairy or string lights

String lights can give your photos a creative twist all while lighting your subject as well. Place the lights close to the lens to get the blurry orbs of light or place them on your actual subject to get that warm and inviting color on your subject.

7 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Tape the lights to the wall so you can have free hands to photograph your subject.

String lights work best in a darker scene but you can experiment with different lighting situations to see what works best. Christmas lights also work for this but they are bulkier.

8 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Use the fairy light close up to your lens to get the orb effect.

5. Spray bottle

Water refracts light, this means that when the light hits the water, it bends and can give you a unique way of lighting a photograph! Grab a spray bottle and give the lens a little spray. You might have to point your camera toward the light source, like a backlight or the sun in order to get the light refracting.

9 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Using distilled water in a spray bottle gives some really interesting effects too. You could even go another step and use a colored filter over the light or lens to get a mixture of the effects.

In conclusion

10 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Create interesting images by combining all of the tips together. This image has the rainbow from the CD, twinkle lights, water droplets all lit by my smartphone flash.

All of these cool lighting effects will give you more creative lighting to your images all using household items that you already have or can create under a budget. Which one will you try?

Share some of the images you take using these techniques with us in the comments below.


Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

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Jackie Lamas
Jackie Lamas

is a destination wedding and portrait photographer based on the beautiful beaches of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She earned her degree in photography from California State University, Fullerton. Jackie has over 10 years of experience as a professional photographer and teacher. When she’s not on the beach, you can find her writing on her blog and spending time with her baby and husband. See more of her work on Instagram.

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