I like to have a focus in my photography. Without some purpose or reason to shoot I find I can lose my creative interest and produce lack luster images. When I start getting into a creative lapse I often find that a self imposed photography project can get me inspired and focused.
When I think about photography projects I think about a couple of different things. For me photography projects can be about focusing on a specific subject, focusing on a specific technique, or creating a excuse to pick up the camera and shoot. The good projects are those that you can close, but somehow always stay in the back of your mind and inspire additioanl work. Let me explain what I mean.
A few years ago I started a project to photograph architectural details. Specifically I was focusing on windows for a personal book I wanted to produce. This little project lead me to another which was to capture doors. Doors have turned out to be an absolutely fantastic travel photography subject. Why are doors so great, because believe it or not the styles, colors, and general architecture vary greatly from one region to the next. I never throught there would be such great variety in such a basic subject. The doors have lead to intresting themed posts on instragram, and forced me to work on my design skills for poster layouts and also pushed my technical edit skills forward. All because I just decided to shoot a couple of pictures of doors.
Having picked a specific project subject, when I am in a new town and lost on ideas I can always come back to my doors. The doors may not be necessarily beautiful, and I can gaurantee you I’ve thrown away more pictures then I have kept, but having a specific subject, and releasing the shutter gets me looking through the lens. It is something I can fall back on that gets me moving when at times I feel my creativity is stalled and that is worth it to me.
If you want to start your own projects it is easy. Here are some things to consider about selecting your next project.
- Is the proejct subject something that can be done over a period of time or is it a ‘one shot’ topic?
- Does it have a specific meaning or importance to you?
- Do you have a plan or a vision for a final display of the body of work produced by the project?
- Have other people completed a similar project that can inspire you?
- Does it help you develop a specific skill or technique that you are missing today?
Also remember projects can be things that are done over the weekend, or last years. It is up to you what you want to do. For me, some of the most rewarding are those that come together after months or years.
If you are lacking some creative juice lately take some time and define your own personal photography project, you might be surprised in the final results.