Like most things, the hardest part of photography is starting. However, you will never advance if you donâ€™t just get out there and do it! I have put together a list of projects you can set yourself to get motivated and creative. They will help to advance your technical skills, creativity and ideas that will breed more ideas.
These projects not only help you to get motivated, creative and active, but also force you to look at the world around you. It makes you appreciate your surroundings and see that life is pretty beautiful.
This project is to take a photo every day for a whole year. Like most New Years Resolutions, the 365 project could be hard to stick to, but if you get in a habit and remember about it, it will motivate you to get creative and spend time with your camera every single day. (Maybe youâ€™ll also lose some weight, quit smoking, get your assignments done in time and live life with no regrets.). I recommend you make them as interesting as possible, even just by trying new angles or lighting. Appreciate that things around you are wonderful and you should find a wonderful way to represent them.
What camera do you want to use? Do you want to stick to the same camera every day? Do you just want to take it with your iPhone? This is up to you. I say it doesnâ€™t matter, but maybe that can create another challenge for you.
Making it public, ie publishing it on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook could force you into remembering to do it daily.
The 52 Week Project is like 365â€™s little brother. Rather than taking a photo every day, strive to take one photo a week. As itâ€™s only oneâ€¦ make it awesome. 365 gives you room to take mundane photos sometimes, but one photo a week should force you to be a little more creative.
Maybe think of one concept a week? An amazing example of the 52 Week project can be seen in the work of Savvy Creative. Despite photography and design being her job, she ensures that once a week she has something a little extra special. Her concepts are beautiful, her images are beautiful. Sheâ€™s also lucky sheâ€™s a babe so can incorporate herself in these projects. Each image is carefully thought out and she has used multiple creative skills to make each image.
Below are some images from her project, but you should check out the rest in her flickr set here
Obviously you can take more photos than this, but just choose one stand out image to represent the week.
Other photography websites give you weekly assignments of topics for this project, if you find inspiration hard, google and “52 week project” is your friend.
â€œShoot a roll yourself and share the world around youâ€. The idea is that you have one disposable camera over a week to capture the world around you. The beauty is that you donâ€™t get to see what the photos look like until you have them developed at the end of the week.
The project forced me to have fun as I wanted to look like I have an interesting life. It makes you think about each photo as you only get one chance. Also, 24 photos over 7 days requires you to limit yourself to not getting too snap happy.
Check out the Indisposable Concept here.
Some images of my week in Sydney (part of my week doing the project)
Another fun idea for a project is colours. Pick a colour and photograph things you see that are predominately that colour. It doesnâ€™t have to be ALL that colour, but based around it. Like how you base a meal around vegetables but can add a bit of carb. Look at the world around you, itâ€™s so colourful!
For example, if you choose to photograph red, you can photograph ruby red lips, but include some pasty white skin. Take a photo of the lady in the red hat (yeah! â€“ old, lame Anchorman reference). As long as there is red, then you are fulfilling your project.
I found some amazing photos of this project here
Donâ€™t have a model? Yes you do; you. But instead of taking a photo of yourself when youâ€™re ready to go out in public with a slight duck face and the captions â€œso ugly today/no makeup/no filter/feeling sickâ€ â€“ get a bit more creative!
Set a time limit for when you do these. Perhaps the theme of your 52/wk could be you?
Here are some examples of some creative self portraits:
Tripod and self timers are your best friends in this project. There is so much room for fun. There is so much experimenting you can do. Try different lighting, try long exposures, try a different way of editing.
I am very self conscious so I wouldnâ€™t want to be taking mirror selfies. You wouldnâ€™t WANT to see my mirror selfies. So it would force you to love and appreciate your body in other ways.
Maybe paint your face and use heavy contrast?
Use sparklers and glow sticks as your light source?
Focus on one part of your body? Use silhouetting.
Heck, buy a remote, take your camera into the forest, set it n a tripod, run around and take a photo jumping out from a tree.
Pick a mood and explore it.
As the name suggests, this project challenges you to take portraits of 100 strangers. The hardest thing is the use of social skills to approach strangers and ask to take their photograph, though this could also be a way to improve your social skills!
Try not to take candids, thatâ€™s cheating. Although I love candids so maybe allow yourself a couple!
Set yourself a project to take photos with long exposure. Long exposure is a long shutter speed and captures movement rather than freezing it. Ideas for photos are light graffiti, traffic, running water (ie the ocean crashing over rocks early in the morning or late in the afternoon).
Pick a random work and photograph things that are associated with that.
Pick a number and either photograph things with that number in it or things associated with the number. For example if you pick 3; photograph houses that are number 3, road signs with 3, 3 apples, 3 friends, the third person you see in the day.
As with the number, pick a random letter. Photograph the letter or photograph things that start with that letter.
I have so many more ideas and could go on forever. Though hopefully I’ve started off some inspiration or sparked ideas for projects of your own. If one project isn’t working for you, start a different one. Their only purpose is to advance you as a photographer and the best thing about photography is that it is FUN! I hope you get out there and take some photos, I have inspired myself to!