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Fun photography activities

Looking for something different to do with the kids this half term? Surrey-based photographer Siân Tyrell has come up with these photography project ideas.

You can do all of these with your phone camera or a regular camera, and where light is needed you can use daylight outdoors or by being close to a window, or get an angle poise lamp or torch and try that. These are fun to do with kids or young teenagers who might be feeling at a loose end too!

Garden safari

Since the weather here in Cranleigh has been really nice, it’s been great to spend time just sitting in the garden and watching the huge diversity of wildlife there.  I’m working on photographing as many different species of bees and ladybirds as I can during lockdown, but you could try with birds, butterflies, pond animals who whoever visits your garden.  If you don’t have your own garden you could do a wild version if you’re out for your exercise.

Table top still life

You can use whatever objects you like to create mini scenes like this one to photograph and these look great on Instagram or Facebook.  Why not create something that’s meaningful to you, using items that matter and tell a a story about you, your family or your time in lockdown.  

Look for items with textures and colours that work together and try and place your light source at an angle to your items that creates interesting shadows – so for example if you’re using window light, set up your scene so that the light comes in from the side and your items cast shadows.

Experiment with backgrounds – this one is some art paper but you can use fabric, wood, plastic or anything really – you’ll see that different surfaces produce different effects as they reflect the light differently. 

For a real challenge try using reflective surfaces such as mirrors and windows – you can create some really interesting effects!

Flower portraits

I grew this tulip from a bulb but decided to bring it indoors for this shot – but you can equally photograph portraits of flowers outdoors – providing it’s not too windy!

Look for simple, uncluttered backgrounds and observe how the light hits the subject and how it looks best.  If you’re working outside, have a look at the flowers in the morning, at noon and the evening and compare how the photos differ depending on where the sun is in the sky – you might also be able to see how the colours of the light shift from yellow to bluish as the day progresses towards the evening.

Leaves can also be an interesting subject, see how you can best capture the details of the colours and veins. 

Quirky observations

Look out for things that don’t seem to go together and photograph them.  Choose an unusual angle, maybe try some funky processing apps such as Snapseed or even try it with short videos or boomerangs. 

You want to spot things that look incongruous, that you wouldn’t normally see – so use your own home, which I’m sure is different in many ways right now – more people at home, working or learning at home in new ways, exercising at home etc.  Look for objects being used in unusual ways, upcycling or recycling, situations that reflect the fact we aren’t in a ‘normal’ time

After lockdown ends you can put all your shots in an album that sums up how different life was during this time and you’ll be able to look back and remember!

Siân Tyrrell is a professional photographer based in Cranleigh, Surrey offering creative family, portrait, business and personal branding photography.

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