I’ve loved taking photos ever since I was a child and I got my first basic point and shoot film camera.
But there are still those times when my creativity dries up and I feel completely uninspired, with no motivation to even pick up my camera.
When this happens and I want to get my love for photography back I find starting a project or a challenge is quite a good way to get the creativity flowing again. It gives me a focus and a reason to pick up the camera again, and then once I get going I remember why I love it all so much.
If you ever find yourself in a creative dry-spell, or maybe you’re new to photography and want something to challenge you, then finding a fun photography challenge could work for you too.
Whether you want a quick challenge to get the creativity flowing or something bigger to get your teeth into, here are some ideas to get your creativity going and hopefully help you fall in love with photography.
Quick photography projects for a burst of creativity
1. One subject, ten ways
This is a really simple project to get started with – all you need to do is pick a subject and then take 10 different photos of it.
You can up the stakes by trying to take all 10 photos in a limited amount of time, like 10 minutes. Or you can really take your time with it and think about all your options.
To get real variety in your 10 photos you can:
- photograph from up high above your subject, and then low down below it
- photograph it from all sides and all angles
- get in close and take macro, detail photos
- move back a bit and show the subject in the scene
- mix up your settings – shoot wide open and then change to a smaller aperture
- move your subject to take advantage of different light sources
2. Toy story
If you’re stuck at home in lockdown then you might need to get creative with the things around you, and for us parents that’s most likely to be toys.
Grab your child’s favourite teddy or some little playmobil figures, then set them up in different scenes around the house and photograph them.
You could create photos of teddy enjoying a tea party with your child, or sitting up in their bed ‘reading’ a book.
Or you can do what we did a while ago and take the toys out with you on your family walk and photograph them in big, outdoor scenes.
3. Day in the life
Life might feel repetitive and not particularly photo-worthy at the moment, but these are days that are absolutely worth recording.
Pick a day that you think will be pretty representative of life right now and then take photos throughout the day to capture everything.
If you’re not sure what to actually photograph through the day here are some ideas to get you started:
- your morning – a hot cup of coffee on the table, early morning cbeebies with little ones, small hands holding bottles of milk, and brightly coloured bowls of cereal
- your daily activities – children engaged in online lessons, little hands holding toys and books, your makeshift desk at the kitchen table, and muddy shoes on a family walk
- mealtimes – favourite foods and snacks, messy highchairs, lunches on laps, and the details of preparing meals
- your evening – the bath and bed routine with young children, blankets and books on the sofa, the toys left scattered all over the floor, and a glass of whatever it is you drink in the evenings to relax!
Bigger photography projects to keep you inspired all year long
1. Project 365
If you’re up for really getting stuck into a project then this one is a great option. It’s a really simple concept – just take one photo every day – but can be surprisingly tricky to follow through with.
Here are some tips to help:
- don’t box yourself in – give yourself the freedom to photograph anything at all each day, go with the flow and just see what catches your eye
- pick a theme – on the other hand, you might find it easier to choose a theme or subject to photograph each day
- don’t stress about a missed day – if you go a day or two without taking a photo don’t give in, just pick the project up again when you’re ready
- create a list of photo ideas – any time you come up with extra ideas for photos to take, note them down to use on days you’re not so inspired
2. 10 on 10
If taking a photo every single day for a year sounds like too much of a commitment, then a 10 on 10 project is a great alternative.
I’ve been doing this project for a few years now and still absolutely love it.
All it involves is taking 10 photos on the 10th of each month. So you’re basically taking the day in the life idea and repeating it once a month, to capture your family life throughout the year.
3. Try a new skill each month
Pick something out of your comfort zone to learn about, explore and have fun with.
If you’re relatively new to photography this might be:
- exploring aperture, practising shooting wide open, learning about depth of field
- playing with shutter speeds, freezing and blurring movement
- getting creative with following and then breaking the rules of composition
If you’ve been taking photos for a while and are comfortable with the basics then you could push yourself by:
- only taking black and white photos, playing with high key and low key images
- trying a completely new genre for you, like food photography, or play around with a new piece of equipment like a lens ball
- limit yourself to just using one focal length for all your photos, see what you can create with just your 35mm lens on your camera
A bonus project your whole family will love – Show you were there
The last idea to push your creativity this year is to get yourself in photos.
You can keep it simple and just spend ten minutes setting up your camera and taking a self portrait. Or you can go all in with this idea and join me in taking a photo with you in it every day for a month.
I’ve been doing this every March for a few years now and absolutely love it. It’s a real challenge at times, and some days I don’t manage it, but it’s a fantastic way to stretch yourself, get more creative and practice different photography skills.
The real bonus of this project is that your children get the benefit of you existing in more and more photos, something you’ll all be so grateful for as they get older.
If you’re not sure where to start with this then have a read of my ultimate list of photo ideas to get yourself in more pictures. And before you start with all the excuses about why you don’t want to get in front of the camera, pop over and read this.
Hopefully at least one of these photography project ideas has got you excited to pick up your camera and get your creativity flowing again.
Have you done any of these before?
Which one are you most excited about trying?