In stressful times I have a few default coping mechanisms: shopping, creativity and community. Given the first one is not especially available in the current climate, I wanted to offer us all a small way to create and connect in the coming weeks of social isolation, and document our days from a shared perspective.

This photo challenge is one of the tasks we do in my 15 Minute Magic program, and the results have always blown me away. It’s amazing how we can all take the same brief and come out with so many unique interpretations – each one full of the character and personality of the creator behind the lens.

So, for the next month or so I’m going to be setting a photo challenge along these lines. They’ll all be set within the confines of your home and call on you to get creative with whatever you have, and none should take you more than 15 minutes to set up and create.

If you’d like to join in, you’ll find the first prompt below. I’d love to see your creations – you can tag me at @me_and_orla on Instagram and use the hashtag #15MinuteMagic to help others in the community find you.

And finally, if you like the sound of making amazing stuff happen in just 15 minutes a day, be sure to check out my 15 Minute Magic program which is currently enrolling. Daily Whatsapp messages, monthly postcards through your letter box and tons of support and coaching from me and the group. Full details here.

The Challenge

Use a window in your home to experiment with reflections, and showing some contrast between the inside and out. Style your windowsill to reflect your personality or how you’re spending time at home right now. Use my photo, at the top of this post, as a template to recreate in your own style.

Find a window. You don’t need a wooden windowsill like I have, or the same scene outside. Work with what you have.

Gather your accessories. I chose the yellow cover of the book to co-ordinate with the yellow leaves outside and the warm tones of the wood. You could use a book, a notebook, or even an iPad – pick something that works for you and your message. Find a cup or mug and a couple of other accessories that won’t compete for attention, but support your story and style.

Arrange your scene. I love things to feel like real-life moments, like somebody just stepped out of the frame. Create this effect with things like the skewed angle of the book, elements disappearing off the edge of the shot and the hand with the cup. Notice too how the cup and book are central to the shot, with the less important elements off to the side.

Take your shot. I took this by holding the top of my phone against the glass, to get the 50/50 indoor/outdoor split. Can you capture the same angle? What kind of reflection does your light create?

Choose your favourite shot and give it a quick edit if you have time. Share it anywhere you like, or just keep it to yourself! If you put it on Instagram tag me @me_and_orla and #15MinuteMagic so I can share it to my Stories and add it to the collection here!

You’re all done! Be sure to dive into the hashtag feed to see others’ work too – this kind of magic is so much better when it’s shared 💫. I’ll keep adding user submissions below, too!

Community Creations

If you’d like to receive the prompts each week you can sign up here

Hashtags for Instagram

Every month, I gather up a selection of winning hashtags and send them straight to your inbox, for free.

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