If you’ve been looking for inspiration or ideas to kickstart your photography this summer, there are plenty of online projects you can participate in. Photography exercises can be a great way to improve your skills, and this list of nine project ideas is no exception.
1. Frequent Photo Walks
Going out for a walk with the express purpose of taking photos on a regular basis is a great way to stay passionate about photography. Going to different locations to take photos can be a great way to explore your own city. Go a little farther afield and you can discover a neighboring town or city.
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NEW YORK CITY, WHAT IS GOOD!? on july 9th, we're coming back for our second #WWLxNYC walk and this time we're hanging with our buds over at @honeygrow. needless to say, we're really super duper excited to see you all again and meet some new faces/make new friends. at 9:30am on july 9th meet us at Cobble Hill Park (just look for all the people standing around with cameras) to join us. we'll make our way around the neighborhood before ending at @honeygrow for lunch (enjoy 20% off your meal) as a group. any questions? don't hesitate to let us know! this even is open to anyone but there's an RSVP link in the bio to help give us an idea. we cant wait to see you, NYC! #WWLxHG #hglocal #honeygrow share your world: #walkwithlocals oh.. hi, you made it this far? AWESOME! tag a friend who is A. someone who should know about our walk with @honeygrow or B. a person you'd want to share a meal with. you and your friend could both win giftcards to #honeygrow. (dont have to be in NYC) good luck fam!
Taking photos alone in a city setting can be intimidating, so if you’re feeling a little nervous about the prospect, look into whether there are photo walk groups in your area. Search for your city name along with “photo walk” to see what comes up. You can also use online resources like Worldwide Photo Walk and 52Frames, or check out hashtags like #photowalk on Instagram.
2. 100 Strangers
100 Strangers is a Flickr group where you can share your progress on a very specific project: taking 100 pictures of 100 strangers. They have some guidelines to bear in mind:
“Take at least 100 photographs of 100 people you don’t know. Approach anyone or a group of people, ask for permission to both take a photo of them and to post it to this group. Get to know your stranger/s. Who are they? What is their life like?”
They add that it’s not a race to get 100 photos, but rather a learning experience.
The idea of walking up to a complete stranger and asking to take their photo is intimidating, but the final results can be extremely rewarding. The project is reminiscent of the popular Humans of New York project started by photographer Brandon Stanton, whose work has become incredibly popular.
3. Pick a Lens
If you’re using an SLR camera, pick just one lens to use for a specific period of time. A popular choice for this project is the the Nifty Fifty.
There are 50mm f1.8 lenses available for both Nikon and Canon for less than $200, and these lenses can produce great results. The fixed lens will also make you work to get the perfect shot.
Another project you can focus on within this category is Project 50: take photos with your 50mm lens for 50 days and see what you can come up with.
You can see some examples of other photographers’ projects of this kind here:
4. From Where I Stand
This project is not a new idea, but with a little bit of creativity and dedication, you can create a fascinating record of where you’ve been every day for as long as you choose. You can do it for anywhere from a month to a year. From Where I Stand is exactly what it sounds like: taking a daily photo of your feet where you stand — or as it’s called on Instagram, a “selfeet.”
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I keep trying to count how many different tiles are here, but I keep losing count… as of right now, I have 11. Is that right?? Found in Brooklyn, in my Brooklyn sneakers @greatsbrand! #greatsbrand #nyc #newyorkcity #brooklyn #newyorker #newyorknewyork #ilovenewyork #thebigapple #ihavethisthingwithfloors #ihavethisthingwithtiles #teampixel
Afraid you aren’t going anywhere interesting enough for a selfeet? Check out Katie McEnaney’s post about her series. When she home sick, she took a photo of cold medicine and tissues, a perfect representation of her day.
5. Pick a Time Limit
Committing to taking a photo a day can be a great source of motivation. You’ll often find yourself looking for and seeing photos where you might not otherwise. When taking one photo a day, it’s a good idea to give yourself a particular time frame. For example, you can do a 365-day project, taking one photo a day for a year.
If you feel like a year is too long, you could try a 30-day challenge. For a little less pressure and a few more photos, you can opt for a 52-week project, taking one photo a week.
If you find yourself stumped for ideas, you can find plenty of prompts online. There’s a current ongoing challenge over at Everyday Eyecandy with 52 prompts and a Facebook group where you can share your weekly shots.
If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out these prompts:
Another approach is to simply capture one day in your life through photography. If you want to get really extreme with the time limit, go with 30 photos in 30 minutes. When you don’t have time to stop and think, you’ll probably get some great shots you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
If you want a place where you can look for inspiration or solidarity, there are several sites geared specifically to sharing photos that are part of a 365 project.
6. Pick a Recurring Object
Whether you’re going to be traveling to new places or tend to have a pretty routine schedule, you can take a small object along with you to include in all your photos. This will help add your own personal flair to your photos.
What you choose as your object is totally up to you. It could be a small toy creature or critter — a rubber duckie is a popular option — or it could be a prop like a photo frame or a paper cut out that uses your background as an element in the photo.
7. Online Prompts and Scavenger Hunts
If you’re really stumped for ideas, you could always put your photography fate entirely into someone else’s hands. A popular option for finding ideas is to go on a scavenger hunt. There are plenty of online photography scavenger hunts you can participate in. Using someone else’s list to find opportunities to take photos based on a set of prompts takes the pressure off of you to come up with great ideas.
If you happen to catch a scavenger hunt as it’s just getting started, you can share your photos with the group, otherwise you can just use the prompts to create a personal set of photos.
If you want to participate in an ongoing scavenger hunt, check out this Summer Scavenger Hunt.
In addition to scavenger hunts, you can find other kinds of online prompts for your photography. One of those is Currently. The project consists of seven prompts of what you are currently:
You don’t have to shoot them all at the same time or even the same day — just use the prompts as a point of inspiration whenever the mood strikes. You can set a timeframe or snap photos when you’re feeling inspired. Just make your way through the lists at your leisure.
8. Pick a Theme
If you don’t like the idea of specific prompts, you could pick a theme that gives you a little bit more freedom. Some possible themes include:
- A dominant color
- A photography style (macro, black and white)
If you want even more ideas, check out this list of over 300 themes.
9. A to Z
The A to Z project will have you keeping your eyes peeled throughout your surroundings, looking for those letters in the architecture, nature, and more.
Once you have all 26 images, it all comes together when you make a collage. What’s particularly fun about this project is that there’s no order or time limit for how you proceed with this project. It all depends on what you can find around you.
What are your favorite photo projects? Is there any one project you feel really improved your photography skills? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credit: Laborant via Shutterstock.com
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