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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.