Kickstart a Personal Photography Project this Year!

Start the new year with a personal photography project! Beginners to professional photographers benefit from the focus, determination, and direction that a project provides.  Projects offer you a way to experiment, dive deep into a skill, and expand as an artist. Projects are not dependent on time, space, location, camera, or skill level. Let’s dive into the guidelines for projects, ideas to get you started,  and explore projects for inspiration. 

The excellent news -  projects are yours to create - they do not have rules! They can be time-bound or open-ended, they can be location-based or subject-based, they can require you to learn a new skill or refine one you already have. You get to set the intention, the goal, and the guidelines for the project. 

Before jumping in, ask yourself some key questions to help plan your project.  

What inspires you? 

What skill or aspect of photography do you want to explore? 

Is there a skill or genre of photography that you will want to master? 

Do you want to connect with other photographers? 

Would you like to master your camera and get better at basic skills? 

Is there a cause or community that you want to highlight or showcase?

During the Pandemic,  I began a personal project called Shelter.  I captured the homes in my area and then creatively edited them to showcase their beauty and add light during the dark time of shelter in place. I wanted to bring the light back into the places where we seek refuge. This was such a rewarding project for me during this time. I shot for six months and edited as I went. Part of the project was to give back, so I printed the images and shared them with neighbors to thank them and give them some joy during this time. 

The ideas for projects are endless. Here are a few to get your started. 

A 365 project challenges you to photograph and share every day of the year. This activity is great for learning a new camera; forcing you to shoot each day grows your skills. 

With a  52-week project, you will photograph and share based on a theme for each week of the year; weekly themes can be found on Flickr, IG, or other photo sites. 

Travel project - even if you can’t travel far away, take time for day trips, road trips, chronically your excursions.

Shoot for a cause - focus on an organization or social cause you are involved in or passionate about, document it, or showcase its story.

One Lens - shoot with only one lens for some time to master all that the lens can do.

One Location - shoot the same spot each month. Focus on the changing seasons, landscape, light. Shoot at various times of the day. Chronicle this project at the end of the year. 

5 Senses - shoot the five senses over a specified time frame.

Gain inspiration for a project from other artists. The photographer, Quintin Lake, just completed a project based on walking 11,000km around the coast of Britain in sections. The journey started on 17th April 2015 at St Paul’s Cathedral and finished on 15th September 2020. His website chronicles the project, his rules, project plan, and images. This project may seem unrealistic for many of us, but we can use the concepts and structure to create our project. Think about where you live, get out a map, and target areas that you want to capture during the year. Commit to shooting once a month or once a week along your map route. Determine your focus for this project. It could be on all things you see during your walks, or you could have a specific focus for your images like landscape, light, shadows, macro, or textures. 

The key to a  project is to start, make a commitment, and see where it takes you. If you are interested in learning more about starting a project, join my Kickstart, a Photography Project Live Zoom Course offered online through Capital Photography Center. 

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