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10 Creative Photography Project Ideas
 Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut? Do your photographs tend to look the same? Looking for new inspiration? If you have answered 'yes' to any of these questions maybe getting your teeth into a photography project might be the answer? You may think projects are a bit 'back to school like,' however, unlike your old grumpy art teacher, (we all had one), in this article I intend to open your eyes to new creative possibilities and help you to breath life into your stagnant portfolio. "Ok, what is a photography project?" I hear you ask. Well, quite frankly, it can be anything. The purpose of carrying out a project is to help you hone your photography skills, develop 'a style' and maybe tell a story about something you're passionate about. When many of us go out to take photographs it tends to be on a whim. "I am going somewhere picturesque today, I'd better pack my camera gear." It all has an air of the 'just in case' about it, our cameras are on our hips ready for when we encounter the perfect subject. If we don't encounter the perfect subject, we come home dejected. What happens if we switch this around? What if we didn't go somewhere and snap a few pretty things along the way but, instead, used our cameras to guide us? Would our results be different? More intriguing? More creative? In my humble opinion, yes, they would. By having something in mind to photograph before you go out and going out purposefully to take photos can be great ways to diversify your image making process. Below, you will find 10, very unique project ideas that I think are well worth having a go at. 1. FINDING YOUR OWN STYLE Personally, I think, one of the best ways to learn about photography is to look at the work of others. When I started learning about photography, I was blown away by things people were doing, I wasn't even aware of. For this project, choose a photographer that inspires you and copy their work for a while, once you get used to the style and technique, alter your photographs by adding your own twist, making them unique to you. 2. LOOK CLOSER TO HOME How many of us can honestly say we have fully explored where we live with our camera? Most of the time we take our local area for granted, eating and sleeping in the comfort of our own home, traveling to and from work and when we need a break, we can't get away quick enough. For this project simply spend a few months taking photographs within a 1 mile radius of your house. I can guarantee you will be amazed at what you find. 3. ILLUSTRATE Sometimes its relaxing to settle down with a good book, escape for a while and marvel in the mental images we get in our minds as we adventure through the pages. For this project, pick a book you have read recently or, are in the process of reading. Go out with your camera and imagine you are the illustrator of the novel. 4. LOOK THROUGH SOMEONE ELSE'S EYES One of the great things about life is that we all see things differently, we are all inspired by different things. Even the people we share our lives with may look at something in a completely different light. For this project ask a loved one, family member or friend, what inspires them. Go out and take pictures of that. 5. THE GRID PROJECT I know this one all too well after just completing a Grid Project for the whole of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. You, however, don't necessarily need to be this adventurous. Find an area that inspires you and draw a grid over the map of that area. Take a photograph on each point where the lines intersect. It is a great way to find new things to photograph in an otherwise familiar location. 6. THE FIXED FOCAL LENGTH Personally, I think this is something all newcomers to photography should try at some point. It not only helps to discipline yourself, it also helps you to realise the versatility of your camera. For at least one week use a prime lens or limit yourself to a fixed focal length. Try to alter the things you photograph from portraits to landscapes and from close ups to architecture. Don't be tempted to zoom! 7. COLOUR SELECTION CHALLENGE These next two will push you in two very different directions and as a result you should get a huge variety of photographs. These challenges will also help you with self discipline and finding your own style. Choose a colour. It could be your favourite colour or one you think stands out at a particular location. Use that colour to form the theme of your subject matter each time you take your camera out. Make that colour dominate the frame. 8. THE BLACK & WHITE CHALLENGE This one is very similar to the last and to prevent myself from repeating what I have just said, I will keep it simple. Set your camera to record only in black and white. See what you come up with. 9. PHOTOGRAPH A STRANGER This is one of the tasks many people have to limber them selves up for more than any other, even though, practically, it is one of the easiest. However, when they do it, it helps to liberate them and think, actually photographing people isn't that difficult. Basically the project task is to do exactly what it says on the tin. Bite the bullet and photograph someone you don't know. You could approach it from a street photography perspective or go into a local cafe and ask if you can take someone’s portrait. 10. SEASONS CHANGE The final project is not the most instant but it certainly is one of the most rewarding when complete. To see somewhere in all four seasons at once is not only an interesting record it can also be quite revealing Find an interesting location, somewhere where there is a mixture of trees and landscape is usually good. Make a record of the place you take your first photograph and return to that spot at the same time of day on four separate occasions throughout the year. Well, I hope that has given you food for thought. It is certainly proof that there is much more to photography than simply going out snapping at random things. By taking on a project like those listed above can give you focus, (excuse the pun), and help you to develop (there I go again), your photography skills.
©YORKSHIRE PHOTO WALKS 2017 • TOM MARSH PHOTOGRAPHY
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