It's not uncommon to find ourselves occasionally stuck in a rut. These ruts aren't limited to our day-to-day lives and can often crop up in our hobbies. Even the best photographers will find themselves stuck in their comfort zones, so it's important to force yourself to take on new and interesting projects. Here are five ways you can challenge yourself and test your photographic skills.
Taking Pictures of Yourself
Photographers spend so much time behind the camera they often forget to get images of their most reliable subject - themselves. Taking your own self portrait is a challenging area of photography. Focus up a remote focus, making yourself look good (in your own eyes), framing, and many of the other things we take for granted as photographers become infinitely more complicated when we lose the ability to look through the lens. If you want to liven up your pictures try adding a few props to your self portrait and see how it turns out.
Sure, you may be a pro with that fancy all-digital SLR in your hands, but what about with and old-school twin reflex? If you've run out of fresh ideas, there is nothing better than getting some old equipment and figuring out how to use it. As an added bonus, you will learn to understand many elements of photography that may have been automatically taken care of with your newer gear, and your photos will only improve as your knowledge of the medium increases. Toss out that light meter and bring in the notepad!
One of the most interesting things to do with photography is superimposition. If you're not familiar with superimposing, it's the art of taking two pictures and superimposing them over each other. This can create interesting and impressive images that challenge your imagination. Of course, digital photo editing suites have made this process far easier than it used to be, and far less dangerous - you can take two perfectly good shots and work them together later instead of counting on your wind abilities to get it right the first time.
Play Around with Time Lapse Photography
Time-lapse photography refers to taking hundreds of pictures of the same subject over long periods of time. Although this type of project does require a big commitment it can be very satisfying when it's all completed. Interesting subjects for this include children, buildings, outdoor environments that experience weather changes, or even you. If you've ever seen one of those slide shows of a person who took a photo of themselves every day for several years, that is a prime example of time-lapse at work.
Make a Story
If you love writing and taking pictures then this will definitely be a fun photo project for you. The goal here is to create a narrative, either on paper or in your mind, about a character that lives in your area. You should think of how they spend their day and then take a lot of pictures of how you think they would spend their day. When you're all done, you can put all of your pictures in order and write descriptions for each one explaining your story.
Photography is an art, and like any other are it requires inspiration if you want to keep it fresh. Finding new and exciting ways in which to shoot will not only keep your hobby entertaining, but will help you to develop a wider set of skills. The next time you find yourself stuck in a rut, try doing one of these projects and watch yourself suddenly coming up with all new kinds of photo ideas.
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