It is 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 great ways to breathe new life into your photography.
Photographers spend so much time behind the camera they often forget to get images of their most reliable subject – themselves. Self-portraiture is a difficult branch of photography that comes with several challenges. 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.
Take a Step Back in Time
Although you may shoot like a pro with your new digital SLR, but have you thought about trying an old twin reflex or film camera? If you feel like you’ve hit a wall in your shooting, there’s nothing more fun than picking up some old gear at a tradeshow or photoshop and teaching yourself to use it. As an extra bonus, you will even learn new elements of photography that may be automatically done with your near gear. Get rid of your light meter and break out your notepad!
Try Superimposing Your Images
One of the most interesting things to do with photography is superimposition. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, superimposing is the act of taking two photographs on one piece of film. This can lead to spectacular and surreal images (Google “Scott Mutters” for examples) that defy logic. 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
If you’re not familiar with time-lapse photography it’s when you take lots of pictures of the same subject over a long period of time. This type of project requires a large commitment but can be very satisfying once completed. Good subjects include buildings, children, or outdoor settings that have noticeable weather changes. If you’ve ever seen one of those slideshows 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. Think of how they would spend their day and the activities they would engage in, then try and spend a day walking in their shoes (shooting photographs all the way). 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 a form of art and like any artwork requires regular inspiration. 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.