photo by ysbrandcosijn via iStock
Every once in a while, I get in the mood to do a photography project of some sort.
I like the change of pace from my normal photography routine, and a project gives me the chance to learn new skills (and brush up on old ones, too).
I think most photographers - whether they’re brand-new behind the lens or grizzled old veterans like me - have those moments of wanting to change things up a little bit. If you find yourself in that headspace at the moment, you might try one of these creative photography project ideas.
The One-Lens Challenge
photo by martin-dm via iStock
The one-lens challenge is simple - pick one of your lenses and use it exclusively for a period of time. The time period is up to you. It can be a few days, a week, or even a month if you’re really hardcore!
I love this project because it challenges you to think purposefully about things like shot framing and composition. So, rather than relying on a zoom lens to adjust the framing, you might have to zoom with your feet while using a prime lens.
I also like this project because it forces you to use lenses in situations that might not seem natural to you. Use a macro lens for street photography, try your 85mm prime for landscapes, or dust off your 14mm pancake lens for a few portraits. You never know when you’ll discover a lens’s hidden value!
photo by TERADAT SANTIVIVUT via iStock
Project 52 ideas have popped up all over the internet, but they all have one thing in common: you try a different photo challenge each week for an entire year.
I think what puts people off of projects like this is the fear that they won’t have enough ideas to fill a year. And while being creative and coming up with that many ideas can be a challenge on your own, there are ways to get inspired without having to come up with all those ideas yourself.
Inspiracles Photography Inspiration Cards are the ideal companion for a project like this. There are multiple decks of 56 cards, so you have more than enough ideas to last you a year. In fact, there are three decks available, so you can extend your Project 52 to a three-year project!
What’s so great about these cards is that they are an all-in-one option to get you out shooting. Each card has an inspirational prompt to get you in a creative space, professional photography tips to give you a little help in building your skills, and example images to guide you in a more creative direction.
These cards are about twice the size of normal playing cards, but they are still small enough that you can easily use them anywhere and at any time. Take one with you to work in the morning and tackle the card’s challenge on your lunch break. Grab one as you head out the door to take the dog for a walk. If you’re going on vacation, take a card for each day and challenge yourself to fulfill the tasks on each card.
As I mentioned earlier, Inspiracles comes in three different varieties: the People Edition for all you portrait fanatics, the Landscape Edition for those of you that enjoy nature, and the Classic Edition, which provides you with photography challenges from a wide range of photography pursuits.
These cards are perfect for beginners and enthusiasts that want to be more involved in photography and who want to learn more skills on the fly, as opposed to sitting in front of their computer watching YouTube tutorials. They’re ideal for experienced photographers that want to try something new and brush up on their skills, too.
Inspiracles recently launched a Kickstarter campaign, so if these cards intrigue you, you can learn more about them and back the Kickstarter right here. I’ve really enjoyed them - and I think you will too!
photo by filadendron via iStock
Self-portraits are a popular photography challenge because they require you to work on your skills both behind and in front of the lens.
For those of us that aren’t typically portrait photographers, it’s a chance to work on skills like posing and different types of portrait lighting setups.
And even for those of you that are accomplished portrait photographers, taking a self-portrait is a totally different animal, so you can still learn and grow in your craft by using yourself as a subject.
You don’t even need to take a ton of self-portraits to make this a worthwhile project. Challenge yourself to take one self-portrait a week and see how your skills and portraiture style change over time. If you do it long enough, you can see how you change over time too!
Try a Theme-Based Project
photo by PeopleImages via iStock
A fourth and final idea to get your creative juices flowing is to try a theme-based project.
What’s so nice about these projects is that the sky's the limit in terms of the theme you can do. Cars, portraits, animals, landscapes, things that are blue...the list goes on and on.
I like to select a theme that allows me to extend the project over various genres of photography. So, my theme might be sunlight, which enables me to take landscapes, portraits, street photos, images of wildlife, and so forth.
Of course, your theme could also be a specific skill that you want to improve upon, like long exposures.
Whatever you choose, the important thing is to stick with it. Photography projects can extend for weeks, months, or years at a time, so getting into a groove and consistently working on the project will be key to your success!