The changing of seasons is also a great way to inspire creativity. As the surrounding cities, landscapes and skies change with the weather, photographers can take the opportunity to try their hand at something new.
Photography projects also enable photographers to tackle something challenging, think of solutions and work their way through to the end. This leads to constant improvement and prevents your style from reaching a plateau. Depending on your level of commitment and enthusiasm, here are a few photography project ideas to inspire you.
52-week photography project
To remain enthusiastic about your photography, you should try to take photos at least once a week. For more committed photographers, there are 365-day photo challenges that require you to take a photo every day for a whole year. Although, these types of challenges tend to become tiresome and more of a burden than an inspiring task.
52-week projects are more spaced out and require less effort; perfect for a busy photographer. Pick a topic and challenge yourself to create at least one image every week. At the end of the project, you’ll have a decent gallery of images that will tell an in-depth story or show a visible progression of improvement.
A once-a-week photography project allows you more time to plan detailed aspects of the challenge. They are also more forgiving when unexpected life events happen, such as falling ill or having to work late at the office. Feel free to change the theme of the project every month, or stick to one topic for the whole year.
Take inspiration from a song or an album
Music is a creative tool that can inspire photographers. Use the titles of your favourite songs to define a series of photographs. Be inspired by song lyrics or the theme of an album. Using music as the basis of a photography project is an easy way to inspire creative images.
Try to capture the mood of the song in the photograph; if viewers were looking at your image while the song played in the background, the two ought to work in complete harmony. Turn song titles and lyrics into photograph captions. These types of images work really well on social media, such as Instagram, as the captions can be poetic and meaningful.
Use one lens only
Photographers all have a favourite lens. Put it away and use your least-used lens from your gear. Portrait photographers tend to prefer fixed focal lenses, landscape photographers opt for wide-angle lenses and wildlife photographers always reach for a telephoto lens. Switch up your style by using a lens that you wouldn’t usually choose.
Try create portraits with a macro lens by focusing on minute details of the eye. Capture the beauty of a landscape and change its proportions with a zoom lens. Show wildlife in its greater context by using a wide angle lens. Using just one lens for a photography project will push outside of your comfort zone and force you to get creative with your subject matter.
Find a story and tell it
Photo stories are the essence of photojournalism and the success of publications like National Geographic. Rarely can one photograph tell a complete story. Keep your eyes open for the everyday stories that take place around you. People, animals, places and businesses can offer a variety of fascinating tales.
Speak to people and find out what makes them tick; you may be surprised at some of the incredible untold stories from people you see in your community. Stories of success, hardship, endurance and goodwill can often lead to a captivating series of images that have gallery potential.
If no subject is immediately clear, think about telling your own story through your photographs. There have been a number of renowned photographers that have made their lives the subject of their images. From documenting personal loss, struggles with diseases, childbirth and journeys of discovery, famous photographers have used their lives to inspire creative projects that tell a story.
Choose a different time of day
Most photographers prefer to photograph scenes during the day or at dusk. Whatever your preferred time of day, try step outside your comfort zone and create images at a different time. The time of day or night can have a drastic influence on the aesthetic of an image.
Night is actually an amazing time for photographers. Lights, stars and the darkness can all be used with creative effect. Use a slow shutter speed to play with streaks of light from traffic. Try to capture the beauty of the stars outside of city centres. Use a flash with a long shutter speed to capture movement and stillness at the same time.
Dawn is another beautiful time of day. The light is soft and slightly yellow – like the magical golden hour before sunset. Wake up early and head out to photograph subjects in the waking hours of the morning. During winter, morning mist and breath trails can add a beautiful dynamic to landscapes and living subjects.
Another project that involves different times of day is to focus on one stationary subject. Photograph a statue, interesting tree, cityscape or landmark at various hours throughout the day. Show the series of images side-by-side to get a feeling of how light and the world around influences the aesthetic of the photograph. The emptiness of night can be a stark contrast to the bustle of day.
Shadows, silhouettes and reflections
This project really makes you think about a subject in different ways; it forces you to try new compositions and angles. Instead of simply photographing a subject, try to capture its shadow, silhouette or reflection. Shadows can be used to reveal the nature of an obscure subject. A top-down photo of a line of cows may not be immediately clear to a viewer unless there are shadows on the ground that show their shape.
Silhouettes work in a similar way. Instead of making the details of the subject the focus of a photograph, use its silhouette against a dusk sky to make its shape the focus. A rhino on a flat plain can be a stunning subject for a silhouette photo. These images tend to be more artistic that technical.
Lastly, use water and glass to your benefit when creating reflection images. A calm lake or small puddle is perfect for adding a new dynamic to a cityscape. Likewise, bodies of water have been used by many wildlife photographers to add reflections of their subjects. Shop windows and mirrors are also valuable tools when it comes to reflections. Get creative and try your hand at using shadows, silhouettes and reflections to inspire your work.
These tools will help you find your creative feet once again. They can be used to revitalise your photographs or to force you to think about your style in a different way. Use these ideas to grow and improve. You may take to one particular project and develop a new obsession.