Lockdown Photography Challenge: Can you shoot professional photos using everyday items?

Our Creativity Works: Content Production trainee Lara Sokunbi shares experimental tips on how to recreate professional-looking photographs using household items. Can you also rise to the occasion?

1 December 2020

I am currently a part of the Creativity Works: Content Production course, and one of the perks of doing the course during lockdown is that we're given a small budget to order some filming equipment.

I spent a chunky £11.94 of my budget on a small LED light, and what better way to test it out than by doing an impromptu photoshoot with my flatmate!

Now a little disclaimer: when it comes to photography, I own a DSLR camera, a ring light and...that’s about it! It’s so easy to feel limited by a lack of equipment or experience, but with the right mindset and by thinking outside of the box, could that be enough to create great photos? I was ready to find out!

My flatmate, Tito, and I set ourselves the task of recreating professional-looking pictures using only our limited resources and everyday items.

Is this possible?

Here’s how it went:

Picture 1: ‘Neon’ by Lamer Gugla

© Pinterest

Equipment: Canon EOS 700D, Pink water bottle

Edited with: Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop

Now the original picture has a rosy tint on it, so I used my pink-tinged water bottle (£3 from ALDI) and held it over the flash, which created a light tint.

We then took it into Adobe Lightroom to mess around with the colour grading to bring out the pink, and this is what we got!

We also rediscovered that childhood glow of vaseline on black skin to get the highlight (if you know, you know).

A downside with this is that trying to hold the water bottle and the camera at the same time proved to be quite difficult.

Before edit:

After edit:

Picture 2: Fairy Lights by Taya Ivanova

© Expert Photography

Equipment: Canon EOS 700D, Battery-powered fairy lights, laptop screen, phone torch

Edited with: Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop

Initially, I thought this would be as simple as holding the lights up in front of her face. Of course, that was not the case! We needed another light source to illuminate the face and though the LED panel worked really well to do this, we wanted to be more DIY than that if possible!

We experimented using a laptop screen on the highest brightness level as this might create a nice diffused light, but with it balancing on Tito’s lap, it wasn’t bright enough.

We then added a simple phone torch and that worked well. The LED panel produced a brighter initial image, however once taken into Lightroom, the pictures taken with the flash and laptop light still worked out well.

Before edit:

After edit:

Behind the scenes:

Picture 3: ‘Starboy’ by Nabil Elderkin

Original picture ©

album cover ©

Equipment: Canon EOS 700D, blue red and white bike lights (make unknown), blue tissue paper, Andoer 49 LED camera light.

Edited with: Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop

Now, creating this photo was the most difficult out of all three, but it was definitely the most fun to do.

We used different coloured bicycle lights to create a blue and red contrast and added some depth to the shot by shining the white bike light against the wall (balanced on a suitcase!).

The LED panel was covered in some scrap blue tissue paper (which I originally bought from Poundland) and was shone from a high angle on Tito’s face to emphasise her facial features and create deep shadows.

A benefit of using bike lights is that they’ll generally be rechargeable or battery-powered, allowing for flexibility when shooting in different locations. They are also pretty strong lights as they’re created to make sure that cyclists are visible in the dark.

It took quite a lot of editing in Lightroom and Photoshop to match more closely, but this is the end result!

Before edit:

After edit:

Behind the scenes:

All in all, I would say this challenge was somewhat successful and very fun to do!

Although the process probably looked a lot messier than what it would have with professional equipment, the results were definitely worth it!

Our creativity doesn’t need to be limited by a lack of funds or by our four walls, so this lockdown, I encourage you to push yourself creatively and see what you can achieve! Why don't you try this challenge?

If you do, or you try any new ideas, feel free to tag Create Jobs (@create_jobs) and I (@lara_creates).

Happy Creating!

By Lara Sokunbi