Getting Creative at Home with Your Family, by Gilmar Smith

Words and Photos by Gilmar Smith

"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home" -Twyla Tharp

We are going through difficult times globally. While we do our best to stay home and keep the Coronavirus from spreading, I know there are plenty of people that are starting to feel “cabin fever” and are getting bored and overwhelmed at home. 

"But out of limitations comes creativity" - Debbie Allen

Doing photography projects with your family is a great way to collaborate creatively, hone your photography and photoshop skills, distract you from the current events, have fun, and introduce your kids to art!

We have been doing projects like these for years, and the images we create will be treasured for years to come. 

One of the comments I regularly get from other photographers is, "My kids don't want me to take their picture." Well, you have to know how to approach them. Storytelling is my favorite technique when working with kids. Don't focus on taking the picture, focus on the story you will be telling with the image, and most importantly, let it be their story. Sit with them, write or sketch a story, brainstorm ideas, and just let them be creative. Then introduce the idea of turning the story into a picture: ask them, what would you be doing? What should I be doing? This exercise will give them a sense of ownership, and believe me, then they will love to be in front of the camera and will give you their best poses right away!

Since we started quarantining about a week ago, we have been doing a few photography projects to get distracted. We thought it would be fun to shrink ourselves and play board games.

My son's favorite board game has always been Mouse Trap. He and my daughter play it every day. My daughter always gets upset when she gets trapped in the Mouse Trap, so, of course, he wanted that to be part of the picture! 

Here’s the behind-the-scenes setup of our photoshoot.


I used my Platypod Ultra and a Platyball prototype to shoot the board game on a table in my garage. 


Then I shot my kids against a gray seamless paper in my garage. 


Nikon Z7 with a 24-70mm f4 lens and Elinchrom Elc lights and modifiers. 

And after some photoshop magic, here's the final image! 


My kids were so excited to see how it came out! Go ahead and take this downtime you have with your family as an opportunity to do creative things together!