There are only 2 ways to start the New Year. The first one is to keep doing everything just like you did previous 365 days … or try something new and grow.
Projects aren’t meant to be shot in a day. These are designed to be fun and train your eye to see the world the way the lens sees it so you can express more of yourself in your art.
If you’re thinking you can take one of these projects and cram it into a Saturday afternoon, think again.
Think of this as storytelling over time.
Those photographs from famous photographers that you admire so much? Those were likely part of a project. Instagram is just a collection of projects arranged for visual storytelling. Projects are where the real magic happens.
But where to get started? We have put together this list of photo projects to try out this new year.
1. 365 Project
Out and out the most popular project to take on … and one of the hardest to pull off successfully.
The 365 Project (or Photo a Day) means that you need to take at least a photo per day during the year. You can’t miss a day. Trust us; this challenge will help you to develop your creative vision.
Their website has a dedicated following of photographers of all talent levels and the community there is very encouraging.
It takes an incredible amount of discipline to stick to this, but the rewards are worth it. Your photography will improve, and you will learn to capture memories and tell stories better. The real reward is that (if you conquer this monster) you’ll have earned your incredible sense of accomplishment.
You did something every day … for a year! That value translates to much more than photography.
365 Projects have changed the lives of many photographers around the globe.
Who knows, maybe you’re next!
2. 52 Photowalks
If a photo per day seems like too much work for you (and we wouldn’t blame you because it’s difficult to come up with a photo idea every day), there is another photo project called 52 Photowalks or 52 Weeks.
You take a series of photos once per week during the year. You can go out to the city, shoot in the local park, or make a road trip out of it. You’ll add variety to your collection … and that is hugely important!
You only learn to be a better photographer by being out of your comfort zone.
Think of this as storytelling over time.
You can also check out techradar.com’s ideas on how to do this on the cheapy cheap. Almost all of their projects use things you have laying around the house, and the results are stunning.
There are even quick tutorials on how to pull off all 52 projects so you can execute and create quickly without getting bogged down with the technical setup.
3. Go Mobile
This might be a little nerve racking, but put down that expensive DSLR and go mobile for 6 months straight. Download crazy photo editing apps, practice using flash, grab some inexpensive gear that fits in your pocket … there are no rules for this one other than only using your camera on your phone.
Take some suggestions and ideas from other great mobile photographers. This is an extraordinary way to spark creativity and move you to work with a new medium.
So get a little funky … and while you’re at it, set up a private Instagram page so you can feel free to go crazy and take bad pictures. Go to your Instagram profile, click the settings icon, and turn on the Private Account setting.
You’ll find out that there will be some worthy ones in there too and you’ll be able to share them with everybody.
This project does not deal with simply slapping on a black and white preset and calling it good.
The premise is to think and visualize in black and white. The beauty of monochrome photography is that it focuses on tones, shapes, and textures instead of colors. It will help you to recognize different aspects of photography you might not have thought about before.
Old filmmakers did this beautifully (because black and white was the only film available back then). So why not rip a page straight out of their book?
Watch a couple of old movies from some of the great directors of photography and see how they do it. Our picks? Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane or Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.
We’ve also got this article that will get you going faster if you want to take on this project.
A-Z is another popular photo project. You need to shoot objects starting with all letters of the alphabet. For example, D would be a picture of a duck, lake for L, and so on.
You can do the same with numbers instead of letters. Shoot 3 trees, 2 dogs and so on. Once you start this project, you’ll start seeing ordinary things quite differently.
We’ve also seen a variation on this one that yields some awesome results. Take a trip into the city and photograph every letter in a different frame. A G from a street sign or an I in the form of a building or lamp post.
Don’t think by capturing a stop sign that you knocked out letters S,T,O, and P.
One letter per photograph, ya cheater!
Go ahead and stack this project on top of other projects, too. Maybe an A-Z project once a week for 52 weeks?
The Next Step
For any of these projects, it’s going to be much more interesting, insightful, and gratifying if you print your work.
Having it laying on the table/floor in front of you makes these projects come to life in a way that your bazillion megapixel screen just can’t do. You can get a sense of how all these images show you the unique worldview you already possess (a.k.a. – style).
So print your work … like this.