I often wonder about the progress of my photography skills and how I can improve. Aside from just reading material and trying new things when I go out and about shooting, I have found that having a photography project can fast track my skill growth whilst being a rewarding experience. You might have already read my previous post about hobby projects and using them to stay motivated (if not, be sure to go read that too once you are done here!) but photography projects can be a little different. So, what are photography projects and how can they help you?
Photography projects are where you set the intention of creating a grouping of photographs based on one subject or type of subject, one skill or technique, or using certain equipment. It is also possible a project would include multiple of these things and a mix of them too. For example, a project of yours could be to take black & white photographs of pensioners with a single off-camera flash. The primary benefits of undertaking photography projects are an acceleration of the relevant skills and the creation of an unified body of work.
What Are Photography Projects?
Photography projects are bodies of work that you can create which are grouped because of either some kind of skill or technique, or based on a subject or subject group, or based on the equipment used to capture them.
An example of a photography project could be something relatively simple, such as street portraits. Or it could be a little bit more complicated, such as golden hour photos of art deco architecture using a film camera.
The joy of photography projects is that they can be anything that you want. As long as all of the photographs within the project have similar reasoning behind them, whatever that may be, you can create an utterly unique collection of images!
What Are the Benefits of Photography Projects?
Photography projects can be beneficial to you for several reasons. Not least of all is the development of your photographic skills. Often, photographers will pick a project which might push themselves or test themselves in some way. Perhaps it relies on a rarely used skill they want to improve. You can leverage photography projects to bolster your skill set. Just consider what you want to work on and make a project out of it!
The unified body of work you can get from a photography project can become a huge asset to you. Firstly, it is sure to bolster your portfolio with a series of exciting and linked pictures which shows off your skill in the area. Typically, people tend to find similar images appealing when viewed together. This leads us to the second reason having a unified body of work is good – the ability to make it into a product.
Whilst not necessarily a reason on its own to undertake a photography project, you can still reap the benefits of being able to put together the results into a photography book or find other commercial uses for the photographs. If you browse the photography books available from other authors, you will find many that are, at their heart, the culmination of years of work into a photography project. Even if you decide not to sell, putting your work from the project into a book for your enjoyment is always worthwhile.
Another great reason to undertake a photography project is to give yourself a goal to work on. That can be especially useful at times when there is not a whole lot else going on. Like, say, in the middle of a pandemic. Keeping your photographic trigger finger sharp with a photography project can be a great way to ensure you maintain a favourite skillset, whilst giving yourself something to do.
10 Beginner Photography Project Ideas
If you are a newer photographer or looking to try out a photography project for the first time, here are 10 ideas to get your going and spark the creative juices:
- City/Town/Village at night
- Street vendor portraits
- Closed or abandoned shops and buildings
- Blooming flowers
- The inside of electronic equipment (such as a PC tower)
- Rusted bikes
- Farmyard equipment shot from the side
- Flatlays of things you keep around the house
- Portraits which show just the eyes and above on the subject’s face
- Passer-by’s walking their dog(s)
Check out my Instagram profile for all my latest photography project progress!
Developing Your Photography Projects Further
If you have already given photography projects ago, you might be looking to develop them a bit further. A good way to do this is to pay attention to the style of the pictures you want to capture. This goes beyond mere technical knowledge and into the artistic realm. If you are taking a series of portraits as part of a photography project, but the subjects all have different facial expressions and demeanours, it might hold back the final body of work. Consider the style of the photographs you want to take and ensure the subjects all hold a similar expression to create unity within your project.
Also, consider the amount of time you want to spend on each photography project. You do not need to rush to finish the project, and it is perfectly reasonable to spend several months or even years to complete a project. It need not be something that you do all at once but can be something that you work on a little bit over time. Taking the picture when it is available but not going out of your way to getting it necessarily. When thinking about photography projects, try to think about how long you would like to take on the projects. It can be worth taking the time to enjoy the process.
Speaking of enjoying the process, you should do photography projects that can be considered passion projects for yourself. Perfecting a new technique can be good, but you should ensure you can enjoy the process. You can also try things that you might not normally get to do. If you are a portrait photographer, doing a project about landscape photography could be something you can try. Have a go at picking a photography project you can enjoy!
Photography projects can be a great way to develop your skills, create a body of work, and reclaim enjoyment from the act of photography. I would recommend making use of photography projects regularly. They can be incredible tools that enable you to stride forward in your photography journey. Being able to set yourself goals and stay consistent with photography projects and end up with a bespoke body of work you can be proud of, are excellent reasons to give photography projects ago today! And if you are already doing them, consider how to improve them by incorporating a particular artist style into your projects and taking the time to perfect your body of work.
If you have any tips for people wanting to start a photography project, please let us know them in the comments below. Let us also know about your recent photography project and how it went!