Photography is a creative release for me. I love being out in nature, taking landscape and wildlife photos.
But I can’t always get out of the daily grind and take time for photography. And when I do, I don’t always know what I should be taking pictures of.
If you are feeling like you are on photography burn out or lack creative drive, this post is for you.
As we start a new year, we want to elevate our photography to the next level. Photography projects are a great way to do that.
As the title suggest, photography projects can increase your creativity and get you out of your rut. They might even help you find a new genre of photography that you didn’t know you would love!
Here are a few photography projects that might spur your creativity to take on something new in the New Year!
6 Photography Projects to Increase Your Creativity & Get You Out Of A Rut
1. Project 365
Project 365 is just like it sounds: you take one picture a day for a year.
It sounds simple and it is. I have done this project several times and I am always pleased with the results.
What do you take pictures of? That’s up to you. There are several bloggers that have come up with lists of ideas for you take pictures of, if that helps you not get stuck.
Here is a great list by The Purple Pumpkin Blog —> 365 Ideas and Tips for Project 365.
Taking photos of holidays and vacations is a breeze, but what about the days in between?
My favorite photos in my 365 collections are photos around the house and of the kids in their own environment. Those are the things we will look back on and remember fondly: a certain toy or favorite cup that we normally wouldn’t have taken a picture of if we weren’t doing this project.
2. Project 52
Project 52 is similar to Project 365, just fewer pictures. So you take one photo a week that captures something in your life you want to remember.
You can do your own thing or follow weekly themes, like this one from Everyday Eyecandy —> The Eyecandy Project 52.
3. Themed projects
Personal photography projects can be on any theme and should stretch your creativity.
If you are doing a themed project, there are no rules on how many photos to take or time constraints. Just enjoy the world around you and shoot according to the theme you choose. You will know when you are done with the project and ready to display your work.
Here are some ideas for themes projects, some of which I have done myself in the past:
- faceless photos of your family
- black and white photography
- shooting with film
- National parks, ballparks, or historical landmarks
- macro photography
- a day in the life
- use only one lens
- leading lines
- one color
- one location at different times of year
- family history
- your garden from seed to table
I hope these ideas give you a jumping off for your project. There are so many other things you can choose, but these are a start.
4. Become a “tourist” in your town
Do you live near monuments or locations that other people travel thousands of miles to see on vacation? Most likely you do.
The best way to experience these things is to be a tourist in your own town.
Since you live close by, you can see these things (and take pictures) during different seasons and weather situations.
I live about 10 miles away from Mesa Verde National Park in the Four Corners area of SW Colorado. Every time we go up there for a school field trip or when family come to visit, I hear different languages being spoken.
That tells me that people are coming from all around the world to visit something that is practically in my own backyard. And I take it for granted.
So get out there and take pictures of where you live. Google your town online and see what a tourist would see if they were researching your town or area.
Have you been to all of those places close by? If not, you need to get out there and see what they are seeing.
This is a great personal project because it not only allows you to appreciate where you live and what is unique about it, but you can also take pictures you might be able to sell in the future.
You might think they are boring or you’ve been there too many times as a kid. But someone else might think they are really interesting because it is different from the way they live.
5. Capture the beauty of your state
Take #4 and broaden it to your state or country. Broaden your travels to your entire state or country (if it’s small). In this case, the United States is probably too large for one project.
I live in the Four Corners Area of the United States. That means that I have 4 states that are fairly close (Phoenix is closer than Denver, which is crazy!).
In those 4 states (Colorado, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico), there are at least 12 National Parks. As a landscape photographer, I should have many pictures of each of those parks, especially the ones within a days drive.
Like I said above, people come from all over the world to see these places and they are just a few hours away. That includes Moab (Arches NP, Canyonlands NP), Grand Canyon NP, Zion and Bryce Canyon NP, Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP and so many more.
My personal project for 2020 is to get to as many of these places as possible (I’ve been to most of them already in years past) and get pictures in different seasons.
Wherever you live, there are things to take pictures of. So pick a place and get snapping for your personal photography project.
6. 25 Days of Christmas Photo Challenge
This is a great project for the Christmas holidays. Basically you just take photos of all the activities you are doing for Christmas and compile them into a photo book or scrapbook.
Sometimes we get so busy during the holidays, we don’t slow down to catch the details of some of our favorite holiday traditions. This project allows you to record things like: your favorite ornaments on the tree, favorite holiday treats, school plays and parties, etc.
Here are some ideas for your photo challenge —> 25 Days of Christmas Photo Challenge to Preserve Your Holiday Memories This Year.
How long should the project last?
That’s up to you. Project 365 or 52 seem to have end dates, but I have known people that do them several years in a row.
Maybe your project only lasts for a month or the duration of a family vacation. The length doesn’t really matter.
It doesn’t have to be year long to be worthwhile. It just needs to take you out of your comfort zone and help you see your world with new eyes.
What do I do when I’m done?
When you’re done, compile the photos into a collection so you can refer to them again and also show them to your friends and family. Here are some ideas for displaying your project:
- Print and hang them on the wall in a collection.
- Make a scrapbook or photo book.
- Get a digital frame and have it scroll thru the photos.
- Share them online on a special Instagram or 500 px profile.
I am a scrapbooker at heart, so that is usually the medium I choose to share. I recently have started loving Chatbooks to make quick books of pictures that are much simpler than digital scrapbooking.
I hope whichever project you choose to do, that it elevates your photography and makes you see the world around you differently. After all, that is what being a photographer is all about!
What photography project have you done in the past that you loved? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!
Mastering Manual Mode Cheatsheet PDF
Sign up for this cheatsheet and keep it in your camera bag as a reference as you learn how to shoot with your camera on Manual. This cheatsheet can get you out of a sticky situation when you don't know what settings to use.
By signing up for this PDF download, you will also join our email list for weekly photography tips straight to your inbox. You can unsubscribe at any time!