photo by wundervisuals via iStock
If you’re feeling cooped up in your house, your creativity has probably gone out the window. It’s not your fault and we are all feeling it a little bit right now. It’s just really hard to learn how to see creatively in photography if your brain is more focused on surviving.
But, the more fun, new things you can introduce to your life right now, the better. This is because new experiences are proven to release a ton of great hormones into your brain that make you smarter and make you happier.
So, we decided to pull a list of creative photography ideas from around the office for people to try out during this weird time in our world.
There were a few requirements when we were brainstorming these creative exercises for photographers. The first is that they all had to be something you can do from anywhere in the world, whether that’s your studio apartment in Manhattan or the Canadian wilderness. The second is that they all had to be something you could do for really cheap.
With that in mind, here are the best, most versatile photography exercises we could come up with.
Do the One Lens Challenge
photo by AleksandarNakic via iStock
If you haven’t heard of the one lens challenge, then you likely haven’t heard of any other photography exercises because this one is a classic.
The one lens challenge is also one of my favorite photography exercises because you can really change it to fit your needs.
All you need to do is pick up one of your camera lenses and put it on your camera. Then you need to decide a reasonable amount of time for you to not take it off. This could be a day, a week, or if you’re feeling really crazy, a whole month.
The goal of this exercise is to really learn everything you can about that lens, and if you haven’t had your camera for very long, then your camera too.
It also makes you a better photographer because you are inherently limited by your equipment. It will help you to see things you otherwise wouldn’t in the world around you while also forcing you to work with the limitations of the lens’s focal length. It’s a great way to learn!
Shoot Outside of Your Niche
photo by fizkes via iStock
Depending upon how you got your start as a photographer, you likely haven’t done any photography exercises that focus on helping you to find your niche in a long time.
For example, I took some photography classes in college and we did all sorts of photography exercises there, from street photography to wildlife photography and everything in between.
Now, the goal of those photography exercises was to help me, and all of the other students in my class, figure out which parts of photography we liked and which ones we could do without so that hopefully we would end up specializing in something.
Since this time, I have specialized. And, I think that I’ve gotten a little too comfortable in my specialization. Of course, this is helpful for me and my career because it’s easier to make money in a photography niche that you’re excellent at. But, it hasn’t been so good for my creativity outside of work.
photo by DamianKuzdak via iStock
After all, I still love photography as a hobby.
So, you should try shooting outside of your photography niche. You can pick a specific niche that you’ve either never tried or have never been good at, or you can try a little bit of everything.
You may need to look up some beginner photography tips for the new niche you’re trying out, which will feel odd if you’ve been photographing for as long as I have, but it will force you out of your comfort zone.
photo by miodrag ignjatovic via iStock
Most photography exercises focus on still photography. This is obviously fine, but the further you can get yourself outside of your comfort zone with our photography exercises, the better.
So, for this reason, I think that you should try videography. Unlike the one lens challenge, when you try videography, you aren’t being limited but rather all of the limits are being taken off.
It can feel a little overwhelming at first. Sort of like when a teacher would give you an assignment with almost too much freedom so you couldn’t figure out where to start.
photo by skynesher via iStock
But, videography will teach you priceless lessons about movement, which you can then translate to still photography. It will also teach you why so many photographers specialize in both photography and videography. Videos are simply able to hold someone’s attention way better.
While all of these photography exercises are focused on helping you learn how to be more creative, this one may end up bringing in money later on in your career.
Print Your Photos
You can try nearly all of the photography exercises on this list for free. We did this on purpose so that you will have some money left over to print the photos you’ve created.
I don’t know what it is about holding a printed photo in your hands, but it instantly makes me feel nostalgic. It makes me more critical of my work. It also makes me more willing to show my photos off to my friends and family.
This is especially true of photos that I have printed onto canvases so that I can give them away as gifts (which never fails to delight), or hang them up in my house so that I can show them off.
Printed photos also make great family heirlooms so that your children, and then their children after that, will always know what you spent so much time doing and why you chose to do so.
I have been working with CanvasHQ for a few years to print my canvases. I won’t lie. I originally tried them because their prices were relatively cheap for a professional printing studio and printing studios can get wildly expensive.
But, I kept going back because each canvas I had printed by them only seems to get better with age. I’ve purchased canvas prints before that cracked only a few months after I bought them, or worse that came to me with weird ink stains or warping.
CanvasHQ is a small, family-run operation, so they care about the quality of their products almost as much as I do.
CanvasHQ also provides free shipping on all of their orders, which is something I’ve grown accustomed to with Amazon but have realized when trying to buy products from other printing companies that is definitely not an industry standard.
Finally, CanvasHQ has a countdown on their website that tells you exactly how long it would take for your canvas to get created if you sent your print in right now. So, give CanvasHQ a try...it could be just what you need to get your creativity back!