In this episode of the Sleeklens Photography Podcast, we will talk about 8 different and uniques photography projects you can start that will help jumpstart the creative process. This projects will help if you are stuck in a creative rut or if you just want to start something new in the photography field!
This might sound to be basically obvious but if you’re a portrait photographer, for example, you might want to pick just any other style of photography that’s accessible to you and start shooting that way. Even if you find that you hate it, at least you know that you don’t like that style of photography. So, let’s say you’re a portrait photographer and you want to try your hands on food photography, that’s pretty easy to get into because you can grab some food or make it yourself and kind of stage plating and getting the lighting and everything right and everything like that. This is a very easy one to get into. Another one would be if you’re a food photographer and you want to go out and try your hands on really intense landscapes, that’s pretty accessible since you only need to go outside and find some really cool spots in your area to take photos of. While on this, don’t just go out and start taking photos of your backyard but try and research areas in your location and try to make the most of that particular project. That’s pretty easy to do but trying to shoot something new will definitely help awaken your photography skills.
The reason I came up with this is because there’s a lot of different ways of doing photography but a lot of people think that they can only go to a certain extent. For example, those who take landscape photographs think that they can only go out and take a couple of landscape photos and that’s really the extent they can go. However, there are those photographers out there who inspire you to really think outside the box. One of them who I’ll in particular link to this post is Hernandez Dreamphography in YouTube whose channel basically takes staging and product side of photography to a whole new level. Basically as a real quick example of it is a photo that he created called “Love Beatles”. What he did is to create a space out of pretty much nothing and you really have to see the video in order to understand the whole theory. He would take a paint brush and cut the bristles out of the paint brush to make what would look like grass or dead grass in a field and he would create a structure to put a sign on. He basically created a world to put his photos together and he then put a Volkswagen Beatle, a model that he put together and he put the car in the photo and then did some photoshop work but basically, that is thinking outside the box, making your own world in your photo. Doing something like this is extremely time-consuming and requires much attentiveness than you can imagine but you can watch the video to see how long it took him to build the set, take all the photos, do some photoshop and put the work together. But this is one of those projects that you do not want to complete in a day because it might end up looking bad, if you even end up completing it.
It is one of those projects that you have to go through over and over for days, weeks or months to try and get the perfect photo. It is not one of those projects you fill up over time and you’re done in a month. It’s a really cool video and I would encourage you to check out for Love Beatles to see exactly what I’m talking about as far as thinking outside the box is concerned in regards to your style of photography.
This is the next kind of project you can pick a theme. For a lot of people, picking a theme means picking maybe cars to shoot or something like that but you could actually it in a totally different way and this is probably the more attractive way to look at it. It means picking a theme but what you pick be based on a technique. For example, you can talk about lighting. All the photos in a particular project that you are putting together were taken with an off-camera lighting and so you can put together off camera lighting in your photos. You can do compositing, macro shots, slow shutter speed kind of photos and stuff like that. There is a lot you can do and if you put them together like in a photo album you’ll probably not get the same kind of reaction as you would if you picked a certain subject but you’re going to see that you actually put a technique on the photos and you can see all the variety of things you can do with certain techniques. That’s picking a technical theme and it’s actually a fun thing to go.
This is kind of a fun and popular one when you go to like a novelty shop. What I mean by that is going out to the world and taking your camera with you and what you do is maybe look at a street sign or sort of custom-made sign and you see the letters in the sign. They could look like cool signs but you take pictures of each individual letter on that sign. Over time, you find that these different types of signs, posters and wordarts and you put all of them together to make your own photography alphabet. You’ll put these together and see an “A”, a “B” and all other letters from the sign and it kind of creates a cool collage of photos. You might have seen that in novelty shops where a lot of people have their names spelt in different letters that are photographed and that’s a cool way to do it. But there is also another way of finding your ABC project and that’s basically finding stuff in the world that will resemble some letters. What I mean by that is maybe you take a pair of sunglasses and turn them upside down and that represents the letter ‘B” or you’ll see an inflatable doughnut and or something like that and it creates an ‘O’ and you just take pictures of all these objects that actually look like letters.
It might sound stupid but it’s actually a really tough project especially when you get to more difficult letters such as Z, Q, Y and the likes. You can see there’s a lot of different things you can do with that and its kind of a little cool project. Again, this is not something you can put on your website to promote your photography but it’s a small personal project you can have going on outside your main style.
This is kind of a fun one and might require you to carry your camera all day with you. Basically, what you do is to try and pick a nice day when you’re going out on a trip or something like that and then take your camera with you and do a photo documentary of your day. So, you can one of your waking up, take a picture of your alarm clock, a picture of yourself getting dressed, the clothes you are wearing. It’s going to be an event, all day long and basically documenting your life for that day. This is a quick one that you can do in one day but it can make you think about the things you see around you on your normal day to day life. That’s a really pretty one but can create a lot of fun to do.
What this means is that every Sunday of the week for a month you will be taking a self-portrait of yourself. You have a whole week to figure out what kind of portrait you will take of yourself and you can be as creative with it as you can and this is going to be one of those projects where you have to time to get prepared, see whether you can have props or something like that and take that portrait on that Sunday, edit it and share with people maybe on your social media or something like that.
It’s just a self-portrait Sunday and is a way of thinking about a process of creating a photo but also getting yourself in front of a camera because a lot of photographers don’t like getting in front of a camera but like hiding behind it a lot. This is another great way of getting out in front of a camera and developing a scene in a photo from start to finish.
This one goes along the same line as number 3 but this one is on a subject. Picking a subject is also a great way of doing this and it maybe you’re going on a vacation and it could be a place that’s not super photogenic but you pick a subject in that scene and just kind of like concentrate looking for specific things. A really good example of this is me and my family went to visit a place last year and it was a blurry sunny day outside and there were a lot of people and it was just not a photogenic place. But I saw all these really cool doors that are on this old building and I thought of going ahead and creating a small project of 5 to 7 photos and photograph these specific types of doors. They are not the normal doors you’d see anywhere else but are these old-styled wooden doors with different handles and hinges and I did that and I also did the windows as well and it was a really great way to not only concentrate on things that you don’t normally look at but also create a little cool project out of that as well. Again, it was a small project involving a few photos and it was a really cool thing to put together and really spend time looking at the doors and getting them angled just right and really looking at the composition as well. You can go with all kinds of things including doors, colors, lines etc. Picking one subject is a cool way to do a really simple photography project.
These are three projects looped into one. These are 365-project, project 52 and 30 for 30-project. Almost everybody has heard about the 365-project and this basically means taking a photo everyday throughout the year and putting them together as a way of documenting the year in a way but a lot of people kind of get lazy and only take a picture of a window or something like that. There are other lazy photos that you can take but it’s a great way of making you take photos. Project 52 is kind of the same thing but instead of taking a photo daily you will be taking one per week. This gives you a little more time to think since you have a whole week to consider the kind of photo you would want to shoot, the places you want to travel to once you are off work and you have a weekend available and that’s basically the same way of doing this. 30 for 30 is basically taking one photo per day throughout the month.
Just as tip number 5 was to kind of document the day in your life, this allows you to document the month but taking things that happen each day even when things seem boring. However, it is your work to make things a little more interesting. You can run to the local park during your lunch break and photograph anything including birds but this is something you can do and get off your normal routine and do some creative thinking and put your mind on a different spot.
These are 8 photo projects that can really further your photography and get you thinking on different ways of thinking outside the box.