Wednesday, 12 October 2016

4 Photo Project Ideas You Can Start Today

I’ll soon be sharing on my website the latest session in my series: “do what you love” which is an ongoing personal project of mine. Personal projects are a great way to get those creative juices flowing, to re-focus, or to experiment with new techniques. While you hope that others will enjoy and be inspired by it, it is something you do purely for you.  With this in mind, I wanted to challenge you to take on your own personal photo project in the context of family life. As we move into the cooler seasons, we are typically at home more which is a great opportunity to push yourself to explore your creativity, and at the same time, to document your home life. 

A good way to start is by making a list of those things you want to remember about your family as they are right now. You may be amazed at how the act of just taking the time to think about these and write them down will get you to notice these moments more when they do happen. Start using your camera to document those moments. This may mean scheduling a little window of time in the day to use your camera. Keep the camera close, with extra batteries and memory cards handy. Taking a few photos a day or each week doesn’t take that much time. Yes, there will be days when you may just go through the motions, feeling like there isn’t much to capture. If you keep with it, however, you will find those times when everything comes together and it will all be worth it. When you look back on all the photos you captured, you may be surprised to see how the photos as a collection speak to you about your life. 

Here are some project ideas you may want to try:

1)      Photograph the evidence that the kids were there: the aftermath, the forts they build, the trail of toys, the piles of laundry. These all tell a story of your life right now.  There is a wonderful website dedicated to documenting details of evidence that the kids were here. It is worth taking a look for some inspiration and how interesting these images can be - even a sink stacked with dishes is worth documenting.

2)      Document an activity:  get kids (young and older) involved, ask them what they love to do and want to remember. Let them pick the activity and work on telling the story of that activity. Use various perspectives. Don’t forget to include the context. For example, if the activity is apple picking, include wide shots of the orchard, the signs, close up shots of apples.

3)      52 week challenge: the idea behind this challenge is take a photo every week for a year. You could take a portrait of someone in your life or a self-portrait every week for a year  - explore different lighting, locations, moods….or if 52 weeks sounds too hard to manage, try it for a few months. You can pick different themes each week or just shoot whatever inspires you. Photograph parts of the same routine and challenge yourself to find a new way to photograph it, a new perspective, play with light and composition. Photographer Dale Foshe has put together a 52 week photography challenge with weekly themes. You can download his list and get started. You can share your work or see what others have done by following the various social media links provided.

4)      Details only: Focus only on capturing details - whether details of people, things or places. Think about photographing that messy bedhead, details of hands, textures, shadows. Once you start looking for details to shoot, you begin to see things around you in a new way.
These projects are meant to challenge yourself but it is important to have fun with it.  Don't be too hard on yourself. If you forget or truly don’t have the time for a few weeks, that’s ok. Just pick up where you left off. This is a project for you and you can make the rules. 

I would love to hear what ideas you come up with! You can visit my website to read more about my personal project focusing on local business owners pursuing their passion.