Personal photography projects are what can keep the soul of a professional photographer alive. One of the issues of being a “professional” is that, in making of your passion your day to day job, you risk to deplete your creative vein. Having a list of photography projects to carry out for yourself, something that has nothing to do with “paying the bills” is something vital. Shooting personal photography projects for passion will help you keeping your morale high, helping you to be a better photographer.
Today we will tell you more about our photography projects, plus we will give you some ideas for some photography projects you can challenge your passion and keep your soul alive!
My personal photography projects for the next year
For the next 12 months, we have two different photography projects we want to carry out; the first is about photographing our family more, the second is about capturing the life of people as they happen.
To be completely honest, we take quite a lot of photos of our family, but too many times they are stuck in the camera, or just in Lightroom for what seems to be ages. All the other paying gigs seem to be more important, therefore they take away all the time for post processing.
A day in the life of
As for the second of our personal photography projects, there are a couple more words to say about it. In the past we have spoken about being photo makers or photo takers. We feel we are both, as we evenly like to capture the right moment and make that moment happen in a more organised way. We have therefore decided to embark in one of our personal photography projects called “A day in the life of“, where we will shadow our subjects for a couple of hours or more, and tell the story of her life. Being boudoir photographers, and knowing how to better photograph the female forms, we have decided to start exactly from there, capturing the morning routine of women in a personal, intimate way.
In the past we had already done a couple of these sessions, and in doing them we realised how much we enjoyed mixing our boudoir style, our knowledge of women’s body and how to photograph it in a simple, unobtrusive way. No photoshop, no retouching, just a very simple and honest memory of a morning!
Photography project you can join!
Let’s talk about a few photography projects you can embark in 2016. We tried to keep the list short and sweet, to give you just four that we believe can help you develop your skills as photographer. Please note that we won’t write about technical challenges. Pixel perfect ideas, or anything that is gear-oriented is not the way we believe a photographer can improve.
1. Project Keep it simple
Switch off all the RAW gizmos, put your camera in Manual mode, stick one lens (50mm or 35mm would be ideal on a full frame, or relative on a cropped sensor) on your camera, and shoot in black and white with your aperture always fully open. The “Keep it simple” is the first challenge, the first in our list of personal photography projects you can embark on. Take your camera with you as much as you can, but don’t change the settings. Always the same lens, always the same black and white JPG settings, always manual, whatever you photograph.
This project focuses on limiting your option, on making you focus on taking better photographs while setting some strong boundaries. The outcome, if you stand up to the challenge, is that you will become extremely proficient in recognising black and white pattern, you will start taking photos that will look amazing in monochrome and you will master one lens.
2. Project 365
This is certainly not for the fainted hearted. The 365 is as simple as it gets, take one photo a day for every day of 2016. While this may seem trivial, it is one of the hardest photography projects you can start. You will be deeply tested in your endurance skills, in finding new subjects every day, in making sure that you persevere, even when the odds are not in your favour. If you want to make it easier, instead of your camera, use your phone and cut the post production times entirely. A little trick, that will help you loads.
After this, you will realise that your perseverance skills as well as your ability to see new things in your daily life will be enhanced. Moreover, you will become a much better editor of your work and you will develop a style in putting together images one day after the other.
3. Once a week
If the 365 is a bit heavy (and trust me, it is going to be) you can dial it down and go for the simpler version: 52 photographs, one every week. Even if lighter than the previous one, even this is a challenge, and won’t come easy. The same advantages will apply, just toned down.
4. Street photography
If you, like us, like to photograph people, then amongst all the personal photography projects, starting to take street photos will give you huge advantages in your day to day job. In photographing people without them knowing, you will tackle two main points that makes of a good photographer a great one: fear of confrontation and capturing the right moment. Walking the streets for your photography projects will give you the possibility to get better in seeing patterns in human behaviour, teaching you how to anticipate the perfect moment. Moreover, you will learn to deal with your internal emotion while photographing people; gaining your subjects’ trust will become easier and facing them with an open heart will be the easiest thing you can do.
So, which one amongst these personal photography projects would you pick? Do you want to make it slightly more challenging? Stick two photography projects together (a 365 with the “Keep It Simple” rule).
The goal of each of these photography project is to challenge you and make you re-discover the love for photography even when you are business-focussed. It works and it is a great way of overcoming the plateaus!