Photography Ideas & Challenges - Framed For Life

Photography Challenges & Ideas

There comes a time when you get bored of shooting similar pics over and over again and that’s when you need to think up some new photographic challenges for yourself.

It’s going to happen to you sooner or later…even if you have a dozen different cameras and 200 fast lenses right from 8mm to 800mm. I believe it’s easier to think up a photographic challenge if you’ve slotted yourself into a particular genre. So let’s say you are a macro shooter and are bored of shooting macros all you need to do is go and shoot some landscapes. Work towards making your landscapes as technically accurate as your macros or better!

Things however can get a bit more complicated if you shoot a little bit of everything like me and then you just get bored and so stop shooting. You also end up going for a photoshoot like I did last Sunday but come back with no pics.

I’m making a list of photography ideas that can be used to rejuvenate your interest or to give yourself a new challenge.

For each of these photography ideas the challenge is to turn out photos that can be displayed or shown to people and not photos which you delete because you don’t want anyone to see them. They may not be your best photos but they still need to meet a minimum level of acceptability. Unless they meet that standard they cant be counted in the list.

Obviously this list is a bit biased as it’s made by me for me so please feel free to use these or come up with your own list of photography challenges / photo series. I’m falling a bit short on creativity so if you do have some ideas do send them over to me too!!

The idea has to be a specific photography task or objective that’s different from what we’d normally do. Example – “shoot a sunset” isn't a photography challenge because that's what we normally do as landscape shooters. We’ve all shot sunsets so many times that its no longer a challenge!

Ideas / Challenges

1. Take just 1 lens with you for a photography trip and force yourself to get creative and shoot everything with just that one lens. I figured I’d try it with a 70-210 manual macro lens. And this was a trip that I did at a hill station called Panchgani. I then did a trip with just a Holga. Just one lens.

2. Shoot a series based on just windows. Try and collect windows which are unique. Look for colour combinations. Look for old windows which look great in b&w. Look in old houses, look for ones with texture and contrasting colour combinations. Try the same thing with doors or expand the idea to include doors and windows. The challenge here is photographing an everyday object as the main theme and yet making it look good as a photograph.

3. Shoot a photo series on 15 strangers. Just portraits or close-up of faces of 15 people who you don’t know personally. Number them and keep shooting till you reach 15. Process them in an identical manner so its just their features that make each photo look different. This initial idea was of 15 photos of babes I don’t know personally but I had to amend it slightly as I was sure the wifey wouldn’t agree with a series on just babes.

4. Shoot a photo series on shooting close-up’s of eyes of different shades. Give yourself a target number to achieve. Just the eyes and not the face. This is just a random thought based on some photos I’ve seen of people with coloured eyes. Most of the people I know have black or brown eyes. I’m going to try and make a collection of eyes of different shades. If I cant find humans to increase the collection I’ll shoot cats and dogs.

5. Shoot film – It's good for the soul. Maybe it's not but I'm always partial towards b&w and usually take a film camera along on every photo trip but it would be interesting to do something just on film.

6. Shoot a series on hands. Hands of babies, hands of old people, fair hands, dark hands, etc etc. All of them in b&w. The more variety the better

7. Shoot a series on places of worship – you can find a lot of interesting ones if you wander around. It’s got to be a proper collection like 3 mosques + 3 temples + 3 churches + fire temples. Find out some information about the place and add a small write to the series.

8. Shoot a series with just one colour as the main theme – like Red. Take 13 photos where Red is the dominant colour.

9. Take a trip and photograph it from end to end – the preparation, beginning, the travel, places you’ve stopped at etc etc. Do a write up like a blog with photos of the trip instead of just taking photos of the destination.

10. Project 365 – I’ve never done this…may just think about it sometime.

11. Old buildings – do a series on old architecture that you see in and around the place you live in. Shoot all of them as b&w maybe HDRs too or on b&w film where its processed with lots of dodging and burning. I did a series on old houses some years ago in Panchgani but shot them in colour so now need to do it in b&w

12. Slow shutters – do a series on long exposures / slow shutters. Shoot everything from a seascape to landscape, from a building to a street scene – all of it using a shutter speed that is more than 3 seconds. Don't shoot any photo with a shutter speed that’s faster than 3 seconds. Come up with 10 keepers.

13. Do a series of photos where you shoot only at an angle – so hold the camera at an angle and shoot everything with a tilt..somewhere in-between portrait and landscape mode..any side will do. Get 10 keepers.

14. Project 50 – shoot only with a 50mm lens every single day for 50 days. Maybe if this can be done successfully then a 365 project looks like a good possibility

15. Do a series on cars but just shoot close-ups of car parts instead of the entire car. Like wheel caps, old dashboard clocks, logos, chrome bumpers etc.

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