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10 of the Best Photography Project Ideas| Cool Ways To Re-ignite Your Creativity!

photography project ideas

Here are 10 photography project ideas to help re-ignite your visual creativity! I think it’s a fantastic idea to take on a specific photography project once in a while. Why? Well partly, of course, because you should end up with some cool photos! But, more importantly, because it will lead to new creative ideas...

Spending some time focusing on a really specific project, or two, will leave you brimming with awesome new plans for other projects. So, get cracking with these projects, and your photographic enthusiasm will soon be back to boiling point!

1. 30 Days of Dawn and/or Sunset

photography project ideasphotography project ideas

Pick a location that looks great at sunrise or sunset and shoot it at that time every day for a month. Alternatively choose 2 locations - 1 for sunrise and 1 for sunset - and capture them at both times of day.

Find ways to keep each shot original. Make the most of differing skies and weather conditions - no chickening out on miserable mornings! The more contrasting your photos are the better the finished results.

This is one of the best photography project ideas for keen landscape photographers. It's a great way to get thinking about photography composition: find different foregrounds, arrange a balanced composition, use lead-in lines. Here are some top landscape photography tips.

photography project ideas

 

2. Reflections...Of Me!

Capture yourself in as many different reflective surfaces as possible. This is a fun project that will get you thinking about how effective reflections are in photographs.

When Henri Cartier Bresson first got his Leica camera, one of his favourite things to do was to capture himself in reflective surfaces around Paris.

Start with your bathroom mirror and go from there. Explore the way reflections distort - flatteringly or unflatteringly; think about the potential for surrealism - spoonface!? Blend reflections with the environment - ripples on a river, alongside manikins in shop windows etc.

It doesn't have to be your whole face in the reflection - maybe just an eye, or even a silhouette. This is one of my favourite photography project ideas because the potential for creativity is huge!

 

3. Imitation - Learning From the Best

It's standard practice for art students to copy the works of past masters. Doing the same in photography is often tricky, because photos rely on a moment that comes and goes in a fraction of a second.

But you can engineer things to a certain extent, or simply imitate a famous posed portrait or fashion shot. Equally, if you're lucky enough to live in California you could take a trip to Ansel Adams' old stomping ground, and try to find the places he stood for some of those amazing landscape shots. Of course, taking photos in the style of a great photographer is just as good.

This will really test your photography composition skills and ability to capture a desired mood through lighting etc. It's a fun one!

 

4. Random Passers By (Bravery test!)

photography project ideas

Stand in the street and photograph 50 random passers by. Again, this is all about contrast, diversity and difference.

I have to admit I find this kind of thing painful! I'm not enormously confident and doing this doesn't come naturally - but nothing is as satisfying as getting home and looking at the shots of all the interesting people you've captured that day!

This project forces you to look at faces with your photographer's hat on. The first 5 or 10 you'll probably just want to click and get the awkward moment out the way! But as you plough on, you'll start to form quicker first impressions of people and become better at pressing the shutter release at pertinent moments.

Bite the bullet - everyone has to try this once!

 

5. A Personal Item

Take an item that means something to you and photograph it in different locations over the course of 50 days. This allows you to explore texture, composition, still life and lighting.

The pictures will be a representation of your life over that little period. Where did you go, what did you do, who did you meet...? This photography project idea gives you the potential to produce very boring or very interesting shots!

You could end up with a collection of pictures that don’t mean much at all. But try to use this format as a way of expressing your mood on a given day. Whatever object you choose - it could be a ring, a pen, a phone... - try placing somewhere that takes on meaning and expresses how you are feeling. Use it to explore symbolism in photography.

 

6. The 4 Seasons

photography project ideas

Shoot the same place each day/week for a year. Explore seasonal themes of change, decay, re-birth, colour, life/death, renewal etc. It could be a rural or urban scene of any scope, so long as it reveals in some way the effects of the seasons.

Each picture needs to be broadly recognisable as the same location. But you don’t have to stick to the same photography composition, angle of view, depth of field etc. The idea is to show something that is the same but different throughout the year.

It could be a view from your bedroom window, a spot in your garden, a public or private location, a city street, a stretch of coast etc. Again, this is one of those photography project ideas that will get you thinking about some great photographic themes.

 

7. Patterns/Numbers/Shapes/Colours

Pick a colour, number, shape or pattern and find it in as many contrasting places as you can. I like this one because it emphasises how photographers have to try and see things in a way that others don't. Photography is the art of seeing and this will encourage you to look harder and see things in your own way.

Say you choose a colour - try to capture it on as many contrasting items as possible. That way the photos will be more interesting when viewed as a whole. Look for natural/man made things, soft/hard, moving/stationary, beautiful/'ugly'. The best photos in this project are the ones where you see something that you wouldn’t expect, or that most people would overlook.

 

8. Painting With Light

photography project ideas
Image copyright: Steven C Luck

Draw shapes, patterns and words with as many different light sources as possible! This is one of the most popular photography project ideas!  It's great fun to use something like a torch, in dark conditions, to write messages in the air that are picked up as solid lines by the camera's sensor.

You need to make sure it's dark - so night time is best. But you don't have to be in control of both elements (the camera - on a timer - and the light source). Capture the patterns made by cars' headlights weaving through city roads at night. Shoot fireworks on a long exposure.

You can also, of course, grab a torch and write words or draw pictures and see how they come out!

 

9. Water...In All Its Forms

photography project ideas

Capture 20 different examples of water. Water is such a brilliant thing for photographers: It's reflective, it forms patterns on its surface, it's present in rural and urban environments and it can be captured to good effect on either a fast or slow shutter speed.

I love those long exposure seascapes that make the water seem misty, peaceful and evocative. But the idea of this project is to look at water in as many different ways as possible. You could photograph water in: rivers, seas, puddles, taps, icicles, bottles, baths, etc.

Explore the way it moves when running, pouring and trickling. Look at how it forms into tiny droplets and jewel-like beads. Capture it in landscapes, cityscapes, documentary shots, portraits, sports photos and more!

 

10. The 365 days/52 weeks project (The Visual Diary)

Take a self-portrait every day or week of the year. "That old chestnut" you're probably thinking! Well, yes, it is a well known favourite. In fact, it's really popular to do a time-lapse filmed version now, and you'll find some very cool examples on Youtube.

Ultimately, this is as original and fun as you make it. Don't just turn it into a dull scientific study into the subtle ways that your face has changed over the course of a year. That's only one small part of it. Make the pictures express more than just your physical self.

Treat it as an exploration of self-portraits. I suggest getting a tripod and using the self timer on your camera. Try out different angles, locations, lighting and compositions. Include references to things going on in your life at the time: plane tickets, books, letters, clothes, other photos...anything.

This project is a visual diary. That's why it's one of the most popular photography project ideas: it's cathartic! So if having a record of how much you've aged over 12 months just seems depressing - remember, this project should be much more interesting than that!

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