Practice Makes Perfect – Hone Your Photography Skills With Everyday Objects

Practice Makes Perfect

I regularly teach a workshop here in The Philippines and I always tell my students that I learned photography because I practice and shoot almost every day. I normally work in organized chaos, I have so many toys lying around my home studio, but there is a reason for each and every item. I regularly practice my photography by shooting everyday objects that I find in the house. I think this is the best way to practice your photography, by looking at your surroundings and making them your subjects, things, people, or even your environment.

I like to shoot products, just simple products that I use and see every day in my house but I try to light them to make them more presentable. This is how I practice my photography so when the real job comes I know what to do. It is also a nice way to add stuff to your portfolio. Here are a couple of simple products that I practice with and try to light.

The Book

One of the best books about photography is Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby. I regularly search websites and magazines and look for inpiring photos. When I see a shot that I like, I want I use as lighting inspiration for my photography. But I also want to add my own spunk to it. For this one, I wanted to challenge myself by trying to replicate the photograph in the cover of the book.

Practice Makes Perfect

For this shot I had two studio stobes with softboxes, one upper left of my subject and one right of my subjects. Then a speedlight with red gel for the background (I explain the red gel thing here).

Practice Makes Perfect

The Guitar

Before I became a photographer I was a lead guitarist in a band. I had a couple of guitars but my first electric guitar was a Wasburn strat.

I wanted to highlight the curves of the guitar so I used two softboxes left and right of the subject. My problem was that my mainlights were hitting my background – so I used some black cloth to flag off the light. Then I added a flash with CTB gel on the background.

The Boxes

You don’t need a studio to practice your photography! I shot this in our living room. For some reason I don’t like throwing boxes of the things I buy, so I have them piled up in my room (If you have a similar situation, make a small giggle now). I used an old 85mm 1.8Ai lens for this shot.

For my mainlight I used my diy beautydish camera left. For the kicker light I had a studio strobe with snoot and CTB gel back right of my subject. Lastly, for the background I used some plastic and a car reflector to get the bokeh (explained here) and flash with CTB gel again to get the blue color.

The Chocolate

I had this piece of local chocolate lying around and wanted to play with it. To make it look like it’s floating I used a steel wire and taped it at the back of the chocolate and edited it out in photoshop.

For the mainlight I used a shoot thru umbrella camera left. For the rimlighting I used two softboxes back left and right of the subject. I needed a little bit of fill so I placed a silver reflector below. And lastly, I placed a flash with CTO gel on the background.

The Flashlight

You don’t really speedlights or studiostrobes to practice your photography. I lit this only using a piece of flashlight. I used the flashlight to light the subject, and then using long exposure to create the lightstreaks.

The Drink

My girlfriend and I love coke. So normally I have coke in cans in the ref for my stock. I really liked this black can and wanted to create a black on black shot. I used my granite tile again for this shot. To make the can look more apealing, I sprayed water on it and gave it some moisture.

For rim lighting I used two softboxes facing each other back left and right of the subject. And had a sb-600 with DIY honeycomb to light the can itself.


  • sgs2


  • wahwahtremelo

    Good stuff…great ideas…my guitars will soon be getting some well crafted lens time. Muchas gracias!

    • LSG


  • CB2001

    I practice a bit, taking photos of objects I plan to put up on eBay, some craft stuff I’ve been working on and, one of my areas of interesting: my collection of action figures (some vintage and some new stuff I’ve got).

    • LSG

      practice makes perfect 😉

  • Ann Mehrman

    Great creative work with very professional results. You have a great ability to pre-visualize and get the results you want. Keep up the good work.

    • LSG

      Thank you so much for the comment :)

  • mskutispwet


    • LSG

      Salamat! Mabuhay din :)

  • Lucas

    Mediocre product shots……an this article is published here…..why?

    • LSG

      just because.. :)

  • Successor

    Most stuff were nice, but the guitar lightpainting weren’t appealing at all. The biggest reason was the shaky light trails

  • Muhammad Farooqi

    excellent gel light idea.. 😉