Five Photo Ideas for Shooting Close to Home

Five Photo Ideas for Shooting Close to Home


A Guest Post by Wayne Turner from

It’s Saturday morning, a beautiful day and your photography juices are flowing. Your trigger finger is itchy and you just want to get out and shoot photos. You pick up your gear bag, take a step towards the door and then stop. What are you going to shoot? The inspiration bank is suddenly empty.

I have been in this position often and my solution has always been to go to the ideas book I keep. Like a photo journal of thoughts and ideas. Always keep one with you and as soon as you get an idea, write it down. Out of this ideas book comes five photo ideas close to home. Why close to home? The more difficult it is to get to a location the less likely you are to go there so you need to make it easy.

1. In the Kitchen

Image by limonada

Don’t laugh or discard this idea before trying it. I was standing in front of the sink the other day and realised a great photo opportunity was staring me in the face. There in two large jars was a variety of kitchen utensils just waiting to have their photo taken. Full of holes, texture, pattern and all shiny and bright with great reflective surfaces. The draws are full knives, forks and spoons. How much more could you ask for. If you have a macro lens, macro feature on your lens or compact camera then this is for you. Try it and see just how rewarding it can be. The kitchen is a great place to learn digital photography and the weather will never affect it. Just watch out for the water sprayer. But don’t just limit yourself to the kitchen, try the bathroom (not toilet) and other parts of the house.

2. The Garden

Image by Ashley Rose

One step away from the front door is the garden. And, I’m not just talking flowers and insects here. Look around and see what there is. Get down low and explore the ground and you’ll be surprised what you see. The cracked pathway, a coiled hosepipe or a rusty hand trowel standing in a flower bed. Metal buckets, watering cans or wheelbarrows all have photo potential. Just be prepared to look and start seeing with a photographer’s eye. You will surprise yourself. Again, a macro lens will be great but you won’t necessarily need a macro feature.

3. The Driveway or Garage

Yes, still close to home and many opportunities. The family car if you have one, or, perhaps the neighbour’s motorcycle if you don’t, makes a great subject. Getting in close on the most boring car can give you images that you never thought were possible. Key here is to experiment with angles and get in as close as your lens will allow. Focus on colour, reflection and lines. Lie down on your back and shoot up. If the car is old then focus on damaged parts like rust. There are just so many little things you can shoot and when viewed up really close can give an amazingly abstract image.

4. The Park or Public Gardens

Image by Chaval Brasil

Around the corner for many of us is a park, public garden or kids play park just waiting to be photographed. Here you’ll find all sorts of objects from sculptures to water fountains, play equipment to stone walls.

When you get there just sit and observe and try to see the potential photo opportunities. Allow yourself to start seeing rather than just looking around.

5. The Local flea or Street Market

Image by funadium

Street photography is a real hot photo topic at the moment. Going into a flea market and shooting just anything, from people to colour to antiques and art are just some of the ideas. Be sensitive to people and when shooting close up ask their permission. You’ll find so much atmosphere and activity that will stimulate you to shoot many interesting subjects. This is a great place to learn digital photography because the opportunities and ideas are so diverse.

These five photo ideas close to home will hopefully inspire you as you learn digital photography and add skills to your photography journey. Shoot regularly and don’t allow a few obstacles to stop you taking great images.

Share Your Ideas and Shots

Over the next few days – try some of the above photographic subjects and come back to share your best shots in comments below.

What other ‘close to home’ photo subjects have you enjoyed photographing?

Read more from our category

Guest Contributor This post was written by a guest contributor to dPS.
Please see their details in the post above.

Become a Contributor: Check out Write for DPS page for details about how YOU can share your photography tips with the DPS community.

Some Older Comments

  • SandallPhotography January 26, 2013 06:14 am

    Try fruit from different angles, always a good one if you haven't done it, check my website out as well If you can

  • karatekid January 24, 2011 08:50 am

    I have to agree with summerbl4ck that you have to remember to be sensitve when taking photos at flea markets. A very few vendors may not care, but there are more vendors that do care...a lot of them don't mind if you do, but they would appreciate it more if you just simply ask. a lot of them don't want their products or themselves being photographed at all even if you politely asked. if the flea/farmer's markets are on private properties (i.e. school parking lots on the weekends), you really do have to ask the vendors and customers (even if they're actually walking up and down an aisle and not at a vendor's booth).

  • Stuart Sipahigil January 18, 2011 10:45 am

    Um, hmmm. How about a few more ideas for photographing "Close to Home"?

  • GaryKPDX January 16, 2011 09:48 pm

    For those who are shy about asking for permission, here is what works for me. I just introduce myself with my name and tell them I am learning photography and wonder if I could take a picture of "x". I have never gotten a refusal or even a frown. Don't be bashful!

  • Linda Dale August 17, 2010 03:24 am

    Your advice for photos around the house and in real life places reminds me of Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass.' These photos are real. They're things that are a part of people's actual lives. These make the truest photos.

  • Andre Trindade August 13, 2010 11:36 am

    Great idea!

    [eimg link='' title='' url='']

  • Sue90 August 9, 2010 09:59 pm

    Hi rachelle,
    To get your background with plenty of bokeh turn the camera to AV mode, then put to the lowest number and this will give you this type of background. The bigger the # in AV the more the background is in focus the lower the # the more of the background is blurred.
    Here is another taken in my backyard


  • Arnel Nabor August 6, 2010 07:16 pm

    The article is trully true. For the a busy person who seldom finds time to walk around for a shot, a lot a things from home for a subject-in the kitchen, just outside the window, garden, etc. One time I took a shot of this beautiful bird just right outside my window. I took it freely as the glass is one-way glass. I frequent the kitchen by the way. vegetables, fruits

  • Rachelle August 6, 2010 01:03 pm

    I would like to know how you get the background of the picture of the spider web to have those circles or spots so you don’t see the background. I have seen this type of photography lately and I would love to start doing it. Please help.

  • Joe Strouth August 6, 2010 06:32 am

    I love this. Came exactly when I needed it, I was excited when I saw the title in the newsletter. This and the comments have definitely helped me get out of a rut.

  • Chaval August 6, 2010 04:06 am

    Thanks for using my image with proper credits on #4!!!

  • Zerolight August 6, 2010 03:01 am

    Great idea!love it

  • Karen August 6, 2010 02:47 am

    Up close and personal with a car emblem.
    [eimg link='' title='Studebaker Emblem' url='']

  • nina001ca August 4, 2010 11:53 am

    I was out enjoying the good weather, and couldn't resist this colourful whirligig.

    [eimg link='' title='DPS_close to home_weekly challenge' url='']

  • BC August 3, 2010 01:54 pm

    [eimg link='' title='Frosty glass' url='']

    Another one from home!

  • Paul Vinciguerra August 3, 2010 12:24 pm

    A wonderful night at Grimaldi's Pizzeria and a walk down to the Brooklyn Bridge.
    [eimg link='' title='20100703_brooklyn_bridge_0011_hdr' url='']

  • Shuki August 2, 2010 11:09 am

    There are so many great things inside the house that we tend to ignore ......
    Here is an attempt:

  • Karen Stuebing August 1, 2010 08:52 pm

    Because I take part in the Daily Shoot and a lot of days I don't have time to look for a photo, I shoot around my yard a lot. I have a wild flower garden which I'm sure my neighbors call weeds. :)

    Cone Flower

    And don't forget pets. I have two chihauhaus and a white cat. I find if you just sit and shoot pets in action eventually you get a photo where they look completely stupid. :)


    Another Stupid Petie Face

  • Lovelyn August 1, 2010 07:31 am

    Great post! I've fallen into the bad habit of only getting my camera out when I think I'm going somewhere "interesting" recently. I used to take pictures around my house all the time. I need to start doing that again. There's a carnival a few blocks from my house this weekend. I'm going to wander down there tomorrow night and see if I can get any good pictures.

  • Scott August 1, 2010 06:05 am

    It's often just a matter of a few steps. This was off of a sidewalk, and next to a road, but close up with a bit of bokeh and it takes on a new look entirely.

  • Dianne August 1, 2010 01:04 am

    Great article! I am popping on my macro lens now to head outside and see what interesting things I can find to shoot.

  • Riady Santoso August 1, 2010 12:02 am

    Here we go - just aroud the corner

  • Hans July 31, 2010 08:36 pm

    Around home, it usually my pets. I'm new to this photography thing so always open to pointers. I was playing around with my plastic fantastic (50mm 1.8) and captured this shot of my dog, Sadie, when she put her head on the arm of the chair I was sitting in. I thought it was too close, but love this picture after I saw it.[eimg link='' title='Sadie Closeup' url='']

  • Scott July 31, 2010 03:48 pm

    Great subject! Every time I take a short walk around the small town I live in, even just a few hundred yards away,I find something new to photograph.

  • Katja Nina July 31, 2010 12:25 pm

    Great article and it is true there is so much to photograph in your house and close t home. No need to go to African safari to get great photos, althought that would be great too..
    I would also recommend playing with food and get creative with it.

  • MiL July 31, 2010 08:38 am

    I take this photo by the kitchen window...I like so much the colour of the sky. Here is:

    @caroline You also should give the camera some stability, try upon a table or a ladder. If your exposure is too long, you can also try using the automatic shot. In this way you prevent natural movements on the picture. Good luck with this! ;)

  • Stuart Nafey July 31, 2010 06:01 am

    How about this apple pie my wife made?

    [eimg url='' title='771100479_ZUdyt-M.jpg']

  • Stuart Nafey July 31, 2010 05:54 am

    @Caroline - Long exposure photography is always an option that can make your pictures look as bright as daylight. Also try different temperature and higher wattage light bulbs in your existing lamps. Reflectors, such as any white piece of paper or aluminum foil can help illuminate both sides of an object using one light. Don't forget candles. And try a friend's home too. Hope that helps.

  • Caroline July 31, 2010 04:54 am

    I find photography inside my home to be frustrating because the lighting is so awful. With very little natural light and no studio lighting, what can you do about this?

  • Jason Collin Photography July 31, 2010 04:34 am

    This morning I was going to meet a local camera club and shoot in downtown St. Petersburg, where I have lived and shot a lot in the past 1.5 years, so I thought it would just be more about hanging out and seeing friends I hadn't in awhile.

    However, the difference this time was one guy lived in a skyscraper condo and we could shoot from it's roof on the 28th floor, thus a spot I have been shooting in many dozens of times suddenly offered something different.

    HDR skyscraper from eye level:

  • Bob July 31, 2010 03:21 am

    I like to Photograph the kids toys. Set them up in and around different items you would find in your home and shoot away. It adds a nice cheekyness to the photos.

  • Stuart Nafey July 31, 2010 02:57 am

    While flea markets host limitless potential, photography is seriously frowned upon. It is a shame, but I leave my camera at home.

  • Sue90 July 31, 2010 02:20 am

    [eimg link='' title='Web Hunting' url='']

    Sorry if this is a double post? But I seem to have lost the first one?

    I essentially said that I take 100-200 shots daily around the house...mostly in my backyard. The photo I posted was taken this morning while out for my trip around the house. There was many more to follow since the weather is really nice today

  • Sue90 July 31, 2010 02:17 am

    well, I'm quite known for my backyard walks. They usually are first thing in the morning, after lunch and before retiring. I can do this since I'm on holidays. 95% of my photos are right where I live. I usually take 100-200 shots everyday.
    Took this one on my morning walk today
    [eimg link='' title='Web Hunting' url='']

  • Wayne Turner July 31, 2010 02:05 am

    Give me my macro lens and my kitchen and I am in my element. I always use the 100 shots challenge and attempt to shoot the subject or object in 100 different ways i.e. so that each image is different. I am sure that my wife would prefer it if I stood in front of the kitchen sink without my camera and did some washing up:-)

    Living in a part of the world that has a lot of inclement weather forces you to come up with indoor places to shoot, hence this article.

  • summerbl4ck July 31, 2010 01:50 am

    Great ideas! About markets tho, remember to be sensitive when taking photos, the vendors aren't there to be your props; they're trying to make a living selling their goods. I've actually seen explicit requests for "no photography" at farmers' markets.

  • Jen at Cabin Fever July 31, 2010 12:59 am

    Sometimes changing your point of view and narrowing your scope will produce new inspiration with your photography!

    When I feel uninspired I often just take my camera and go outside and walk around the house or where I work. Even though its literally the same place I have been over and over again I always seem to find something great to photograph.

    Cabin Fever in Vermont

    NEK Photography Blog

  • Sasi S July 31, 2010 12:53 am

    Over 90% of my shoot is "local". I like doing macro shoots, so there is always something to capture in the backyard or indoors (crafts and such).

    My work can be found in my photo blog

  • Chris July 31, 2010 12:39 am

    My website is pretty much all photos from home hence it's name "Images from my Backyard". I very rarely expand my backyard past the boundaries of our fence. I thought that I might get bored doing this but I am over a year into the project and am still finding new images to post.

    I wanted to do this so that I had no excuse not to get the camera out and "practice". I don't need to go to far off lands and find special photo locations to enjoy taking time to use my camera.

  • Ed O'Keeffe July 31, 2010 12:37 am

    I agree that it is a great idea to try and capture things in and around the home. One of my most successful / favourite photo was taken in the home just as a little experiment....

    I've now started a little scrap book of ideas that I might try of pictures to take on a rainy day. Creative experiments in the home are great to advance your photography and learn new things!

  • MeiTeng July 31, 2010 12:31 am

    Sometimes shooting close to home is what I need. A break from the usual outdoor shooting. The local food market is another great place to shoot.

  • Sean Kelly July 31, 2010 12:13 am

    Another idea that takes place in the kitchen is to cook food to photograph! It might sound weird, but it's a real joy to cook a nice dinner and make it look all fancy before setting it up to photograph it. The rewards? A fantastic photo and a delicious meal. Just don't worry about the crazy looks you'll get from your family :P