10 ideas for your own photography project

 

The Photography project

That is the milky way. Photographed on a beach. While hanging out with a fun group of photographers. The only thing missing was a bottle of wine (but I was driving, so that was a no go. Next time, maybe we will camp out for the whole night!) Photographing the night sky was one of my photography bucket list items, and I cross that one off last summer (not forever though…we are going back in July 2016 because it was so much fun).

Every year, I make it a priority to do at least a photography project or two, or personal assignments that serve no other purpose than to be fun, creative and maybe try out a new skill (such as photographing the milky way!). I think making time for this type of exercise is VERY valuable. But it is hard to find the time to do it.

My photography bucket list includes a bunch of interesting (to me at least) projects, but the big ones keep getting put off. Maybe next year, I say.

And we all know what happens when we keep putting things off that matter to us. Sometimes, we never get them done. Sometimes, we learn they didn’t matter to us as much as we thought. Or maybe they do matter, but we haven’t found a way to make them a priority.

Whatever YOUR reasons are, I decided that 2014 would be the year I start making time for something completely for me…something that is not about shooting for a client, or for my family or whatever else is beckoning my attention.

That was the reason I started The Photography Project. It is a chance to do a monthly project, with a bunch of friends and colleagues. It gets me out of my comfort zone.

And for my personal photography bucket list? I have lots of things on there. In 2015, my photography bucket list includes entering at least one photography competition (not to win, but to challenge myself…although, let’s be clear, winning is also a TON of fun!), and I will create a composite or two (if it turns out, I will enter them in that competition…win/win!).

I also will be choosing a LARGE photography project, one that might take me years to complete. I am not sure what the subject will be, but I am narrowing it down.

In the meantime, here is a list of potential photography projects that you might consider (they are still on my short list as well). These can be adapted to ANY level of skill. Most can be done with any type of camera (maybe not the technical projects).

Some of these are big projects. Some small. All will get you thinking differently.

1. 365 days – I am trying this actually on my instagram feed. It is TOUGH to do. For 2015, I am giving myself permission to post ANYTHING, including #latergram and #throwbackthursday photos for this purpose. The habit of posting everyday is my goal. Next year, I will try to be living a more interesting daily life and have something current to post for this project (well, one can hope anyway!) But you might adapt this to your own lifestyle or photography goals. Whatever works and gets you looking around your daily life, is a great starting point.

2. Drive and photograph what you find – I actually do try to do this at least once per year, but it would be nice to do it more often. Basically, I get in my car, pick a direction, and just drive. I stop whenever I want, when I see something interesting (this is the most important part…whenever my family is in the car, they are very unhappy with me when I keep stopping to photograph something. whiners!) Sometimes I pick a VERY boring road. But more often, I happen upon something very interesting and get some great images. This project is for you if you like the treasure hunting approach to photography.

3. Self Portraits – for portrait photographers especially, this can be a very enlightening process. There are some majorly creative self portrait ideas out there. Here is a link to get you inspired. Click HERE or HERE.

4. Themes – these can be anything really. Food. Flowers. Animals. Colours. Shapes. Seasons. Occasions. Doors. Hands. Letters. Choose one and do it for a full year. See if you can come up with something different each month for your chosen theme.

5. Techniques – similarly, these can be anything. Film. One lens. Alternative camera. Depth of field. Motion. Low light. Long exposure. Off camera flash. Double exposure.  HDR. Panoramic. Again, pick one and see how many ways you can use it creatively over a year.

6. Tell a story – this is the one I am trying to come up with a project idea for myself. I have seen some wonderful story telling series about veterans, cancer patients, volunteers, the elderly, birth, community or social justice. Last year I attended a workshop and the presenter spoke about his project to visit vintage gas stations in the US and photograph them. This is very appealing to me – a project that has historical meaning, looks cool, AND give you a perfectly good reason to take lots of interesting trips.

I am not sure yet, but this one will be a longer term commitment, so I want to chose something that is meaningful. I will keep you posted once I decide, and I would love to hear from you if you are doing a project like this (not just because I want to steal you ideas…)

7. Travel – If you are lucky enough to have a chance to travel, then definitely don’t leave your camera at home. Challenge yourself to photograph the place you visit in a way that is different than the expected. If you go to Paris, what can you photograph that isn’t the Eiffel Tower (by all means see it. But then see it differently). Capture the feeling, the essence, the character of a place to show what it is REALLY like, as opposed to what we all might expect from the photographs we have already seen of famous places.

8. People – Tattoos and piercings. Emotions. Relationships. Cultures. Sport. Movement. Age. Health. Illness. Pain. Happiness. Work. Hobbies. SO many possibilities, as humans are infinitely fascinating.

9. Monochrome. This can be actual black and white photographs. Or simply naturally monochromatic images (think snowy field with a white poodle, photographed in colour.)

10. Arts and crafts – Get a bit crafty and print your images in different ways. Onto wood. Onto fabric. Or alternative paper. Try using something like Inkaid to make any surface printable (this is on my “to try” list for sure). Get old school and make a pinhole camera.  Publish your own art photography book. Try some creative new ways to display photos in your home. If you are lucky enough to have access to a darkroom, get in there and play. Really the possibilities are endless.

 

I hope that list gives you some ideas to consider and try for yourself. Photography can be such a fun art to pursue, and stepping outside of the box is a wonderful way to stretch your creative mind. You never know what you will discover.

 

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Julie Tauro is a Kitchener Waterloo photographer and the owner  at Tauro Photography. Tauro Photography has been providing photography services for families in the Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge since 2002. She considers herself to be a beauty seer, button pusher, paper lover, and is always looking for some fun amidst the chaos