All photographers need a little inspiration now and again. Many photographers stick to the same subject and approach it in the same way, and this can lead to disappointing results. A great way to improve your photography and find fresh approaches is to challenge yourself to a photography project.
The following five projects will inspire you to see the world in new and exciting ways.
1) Freeze movement.
Think of a way to freeze movement in a picture. Shutter priority mode will be necessary for this project. Don’t just think about sports and typical action shots, movement can be introduced to any style or subject. For example, a portrait of a child could be a picture of them jumping in the air. A landscape photograph could involve a waterfall or crashing waves which could be frozen. This project will test your sense of timing, as well as forcing you to approach subjects in new ways.
2) Embrace rainy days.
Most photographers will choose to stay indoors on a rainy day, but they are great for seeing the world in a new way. You need to be careful with your camera, but it’s still possible to work in heavy rain and keep your camera dry. Hold an umbrella in one hand and switch your camera to automatic mode, or cover the camera with a waterproof housing. Towns and cities are great for taking shots when it rains. There are great opportunities for capturing street scenes as people rush about their business and try to avoid a downpour. Reflections in puddles and distorted street lights give everyday scenes a unique look.
3) Shoot a surreal portrait.
Rather than a standard head and shoulders portrait with the subject facing the camera, look for unique and unusual ways to photograph someone. Shoot from different angles, frame the picture in different ways, and look for a completely different approach. Break the rules of composition and lighting, and look for an abstract way to photograph your subject. This one project alone can completely change the way you approach photography in the future.
4) Capture a season in one shot.
All photographers have their favorite time of year, and each season brings new creative challenges. A season can be captured in abstract ways, such as the colors of summer and fall. A more obvious approach might be to photograph the same tree throughout the changing seasons. If you are a portrait photographer, photograph the same person during each season and reflect the time of year in their clothes and location.
This image was captured, in the Los Angeles area, by my friend, photographer Rick Smith. It is proof that we need to look up and down, and not see only what is at eye level.
5) See the world in black and white.
This is another inspirational project which may completely change your style of photography. The world is rich in color, and many photographers rely on this to communicate how they see the world. Experimenting with black and white photography forces you to look and things in new ways. Photographs become more about shape, form and texture. A subject which would normally make a great picture, such as a child holding a red balloon, needs a different approach when you are photographing in black and white. Landscapes, portraits, wildlife shots and all other styles of photography look completely different when you take the color away.
Experiment with these projects, and your photography will benefit for years to come.