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Five Photography Projects to Get You Motivated

Unlike most people my age summer is actually a busier time of year for me than the school year is. Often one of the first things to fall by the wayside when I get busy is my photography. Even though I love it it’s time consuming to get out and shoot photos and then do something more than just dump them in an unnamed folder on your hard drive. I don’t want to miss out on one of my favourite hobbies this summer so I’m planning to set myself a fun, non-work related, project to work on and hope it inspires me to keep snapping away through the warmer months. In an effort to get myself and anyone out there like me motivated this summer, here are a few photography project ideas:

1. 365 Days Project – we’ve all heard of this one. You take one photo each day and you have a pretty cool way to look back on a year of your life. You may also get some insight into the things that are important to you, and you’ll be photographing the ordinary, everyday aspects of your life not just the exceptional. I have wanted to try this project before but a whole year is just too daunting to me (I am not a forward planner, I barely know what I’m supposed to be doing next week, let alone next year) so if I pick this type of project I would probably scale it down to 30 days (a la Morgan Spurlock) and if I can manage that continue on from there.

2. Home Project – I move house usually once a year and have lived in some pretty cool buildings over the last 5 years but I have little photographic evidence of this fact. Before I move again (in exactly 30 days time!) I’d like to document the place that’s been my home for the last year. Not just the outside of the building but all it’s little nooks and crannies, the decor, the different angles and views. I think this would be a good project not just for someone who’s moving but for anyone with a home they love. Homes are important to us but for some reason we rarely photograph them.

3. People Project – Again this appeals to me partly because I will soon be moving but I like the idea of photographing all the people that are important to me in a place that is important to them. Then I’d make either a scrapbook or a collage of the finished photos. I think this one would be especially interesting because you would get to find out which places were most important to the people in your life.

4. 30 Viewpoints – One photo a day for 30 days of the same object/person/place but with a different viewpoint for each photo. I think this might reveal some interesting new angles to shoot from. Plus I think it would make a very cool collage once all 30 shots were finished.

5. Charity Project – I’ve actually done this one a few times before and always have great fun and get to meet lots of wonderful new people. Simply find a local charity and offer them your photography skills for free. Many charities, especially smaller local ones, need someone who can take some good quality shots of the  work they do which they can use to promote themselves. Pictures often speak louder than words and this can be especially true for charities trying to get support from a community. Make sure you are willing to let them use your work for free if you decide to do this and if you want to be able to use the photos in your own portfolio remember to get model releases for any people in your shots. Really though this is just a great way to give a little something back to your community and meet some new people.

Do you have some photography project ideas to get me motivated this summer? If so, please let me know in the comments. I am always looking for inspiration!

Ray Davis

  • An alternative for the 365 projects is the 52 weeks project. I’ve done this with the first year after my son was born. A weeklly photo, preferably on the same day.
    It does give a little less pressure than a photo every day while still covering a serious period of time..

  • Ray Davis

    Gerhard – great idea! That sounds waaay more manageable that a photo a day :-)

  • For those of you doing a charity project, we’d love to see your photos at Collective Lens – we aim to bring more attention to these important charities and photography is a great way to do this.

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  • Great project ideas!

    I’m starting a photography project this coming 2009 which involves the letters A to Z which allows participants to interpret freely. Project details at http://www.flickr.com/groups/taptaptap/

  • Mike Short

    Another project that I’m doing at the moment, is to take a photograph of a tree in a garden or park, once a month for the year. I picked this idea up from the internet and like it. I am photographing a Wisteria tree in our garden and so far have had snow and damp weather. I’m looking forward to the buds coming out and hopefully some blooms.

    • I’ve tried that one but I’ve never followed through for more than a couple of shots. :-)

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