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The home studio: Inspirational objects in your own home

Jan Stimel (photocyan)

Keywords: guides, tips_and_tricks, close_up, still_life, studio, inspiration

There are some things in our world, unseen, small, unnoticed and unique, all waiting to be explored, captured and shared. I would like to invite you to a journey to discover such things, surprisingly - in your own home.

If you think about it, most of your everyday household objects were bought because you or someone else liked them and found them appealing, you may have also received them on a festive occasion as a gift from friends or family. So in general there is a substantial possibility you will find plenty of common items in your kitchen or some personal objects in your living room that may be seen remarkable and therefore worthy of exploration with your camera. As an example, let us explore the hidden treasures of an ordinary looking one-room flat in the heart of Eastern Europe. Welcome to my home, you don't have to take your shoes off.  :)



A fresh starter

The breakfast makes the day and in this case also a good photograph. It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of a bowl of muesli, ham & eggs or fresh vegetables, everything is good for a shot, so don't give it back to the fridge. :)

For this picture there was a little bit of preparation necessary to capture a good diffused light, I had to use one bounce-box to reflect the light and a diffuser plate for the window light. The goal was to spread the light in a right way, because too much of the diffused light gives the image of an unreal and plastic toy look with only a minor feeling of room perspective. On the other hand the bigger and deeper shadows, the less fruity freshness, for which I strove. After some trial and error I placed a light diffuse plate on the left side to slightly soften the pleasant daylight coming from a window (the light had at that moment luckily a similar color as the flash) and pointed the flash to the ceiling by turning the flash head 180 degrees. The red tomato looks three-dimensional. Only a touch away, the lime reveals its rich yellowish texture, the smooth and thick avocado pulp contrasts with its inner wooden seed and the orange's flesh, in its full color texture with white veins, provides a solid background for this composition.

I used a Nikon D3200 with a Nikkor 50/1:1.8 lens, no macro lens, extension tube or close-up lens were necessary to accomplish this shot, but when you own some of these useful accessories, I highly encourage you to make use of it. It is always good to have a flexible and powerful flash and a suitable bounce-box with a diffuser plate, even some additional flash lights or a soft box are very useful supplements for better light management. In case you don't have at home this kind of equipment, an aluminum foil and a large piece of paper may be also easily used as a reflector.


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Jan Stimel (photocyan) on February 2, 2014

Hello Frederic, thank you very much for your commentary and for the tips! :)

Jan Stimel (photocyan) on February 2, 2014

Thank You, John. Yes, it's always astonishing to capture something usual in an unexpected way.

Frederic Hore (voyageurfred) on January 31, 2014

Nicely done Jan! I teach Still Photography as part of my photo workshops here in Montreal, and people love these kind of assignments! Maybe to keep your wife happy, you can photographer her jewelry and wedding ring. If she likes doing crafts, floral arrangements, has yarns of wool and knitting needles, etc, you can tackle these subjects too! Keep playing! Cheers, Frederic in Montreal

John Sands (JBS101) on January 30, 2014

Jan, Thanks for taking the time to prepare this. You are quite right that the mundane can be interesting when it is treated imaginatively.

Jan Stimel (photocyan) on January 29, 2014

Hi Doug, thank you, you are right, the world is full of fascinating things.

Jan Stimel (photocyan) on January 29, 2014

Zita, thank You very much :)

Doug Nickle (fivesense) on January 29, 2014

Thank you for the article- there is always something in our midst that can inspire our photographic growth and creativity.

Zita Kemeny (zkemeny) on January 29, 2014

Again a good article. Jan, I like the way you write the articles. It makes more easier to follow the technical details. Thanks.