Some years ago when I got my first camera I was happy to shoot pretty much anything, perhaps that random experimentation helped me to find out exactly what I enjoyed shooting but after a while I found that I was still yet to develop a style or a clear vision of where my photography was going.
Finding a project can be a good way to focus and develop your photography in many ways. It can help to express your own thoughts and views and develop a deeper understanding of your chosen subject. Often by narrowing yourself down to defined subject it can help creativity as after a while if you keep shooting the same thing you’re going to look for new interesting ways to shoot it which makes you think outside the box.
There are no rules to shooting a personal project unless you want them, no deadlines no set amount of images. Remember it’s your project if you decide you want to quit halfway through that’s ok to.
First choose a concept it can be absolutely anything from, Trees, to tattoos, coffee grinders to camper vans. It could even be something more abstract like an emotion or feeling.
Whatever it is that you feel like exploring, then once you’ve got your concept just get out there and start shooting its as simple as that.
10 ideas for a photography project
1. 100 Strangers
This is a great one if you want to have a go at street portraits and for building confidence in going up to complete strangers on the street. It’s a great ice breaker when you tell the person that’s what your doing
2 . Shooting from the Hip
Shooting from the hip is usually pretty inaccurate, maybe that was also true for the cowboys in the movies who shot their guns that way. But actually that slight random factor is what makes it more interesting and can often create great shots by accident. Taking the viewfinder out of the equation means you just have to go by your instincts and it creates a fresh perspective on your composition.
Whist walking through Camden Market at our recent meet I came across a shop in the Market that sold pictures of different letters of the Alphabet. Most of the letters were abstract like an aerial view of beer glass to represent an O or a coat hook to represent a K . It’s a good project to develop an eye to see things in another way and it also helps develop the creative side of the brain.
Shoot the beautiful buildings around your city at all different times of the day. You’re sure to find some buildings you’ve never noticed before.
One of the benefits of doing a project on Architecture is that is can help observe and capture strong structured lines. Exploring how perspective and angle can change an architectural element can be interesting plus it will also come in handy when you have a person or object in the foreground and you want to get the best from architecture in the background.
5. Watching Windows
One that I’ve seen on Flickr and is almost a genre of street photography in its own right. Capturing behind glass, perhaps someone sitting in a Café eating lunch or somebody sitting on a bus, maybe even a person working in a store thats dressing the window. It takes a bit of courage to get in close but often that’s a way of getting the best reaction.
6. Song Lyrics
Take a song that you like and try and make a set of images to go with that song. Once you have shot all the images you can make a slide show to go with the music. You can also use the same idea to go with a poem.
8. Social Issues
Find a social issue that’s important to you and take photos to highlight that issue. Perhaps like my own current project of shooting and talking to homeless people around my city, or difficulties for elderly or handicapped people. You could try working with local charities and find a way to use your photography to help a cause or even an individual. I greatly admire the work of Jim Mortram http://smalltowninertia.co.uk
This could be pictures of roads or railways lines, footprints in the snow or sand, a pathway through the woods even people waiting in line. Lines are everywhere around us so the possibilities are endless.
10. Shoot in the style of…
Choose a specific photographer whose work really inspires you and try shooting in their style. Recently I was asked to do a shoot for someone who greatly admires the work of Dutch photographer Anton Cobijn and asked me if I could make an image in this kind of style. It was an education looking closer at his work .
These are just a few ideas possible photography project that I hope might inspire. If you have some other interesting ideas that you’d like to share with us please add them into the comments. Or if you’re working on a project you’d like to share post a link in the comments or you can submit it to us at the Leica Meet and perhaps we’ll run a feature on it .