Stuck photographers can find inspiration nearly anywhere, but if it’s you, might feel like nothing can get you motivated. One of the most popular approaches is undertaking a creative 365-Day photo project. You can find several examples online, and you’ll see you don’t have to splurge on digital SLR lenses or low light cameras to capture a creative, beautiful image. Here are five of the most frequent subthemes from the more popular, heavily creative photo project:
1. Get surreal
This makes more sense after you think about #2, but it’s also useful by itself. Surrealism, magical realism, fantasy, whatever you call it, try getting wild and impossible with your subject matter. This typically means creating or modifying your subject. Examples online include people with wings, floating through a forest, books coming to life, smoke that takes on an impossibly specific shape, and other unbelievable things. The trick is to let your imagination run wild, come up with a theme, and then figure out how to make it happen in frame.
2. Try self portraiture
Shooting 365 self-portraits that you find interesting can either push you to creativity or drive you crazy. Many of the most popular 365 self-portrait projects quickly dip into the surreal to try and portray more of the photographer/subject’s frame of mind. Self-portraits also require you to learn more about your camera, composing a shot ahead of time, and using a tripod, which can provide another angle for inspiration.
3. Shoot for the kid you used to be
Children find visually stunning colors interesting and are excited by things that are new to them but which have become commonplace to everyone who has grown up. Try to recapture that innocent sense of wonder and shoot photos that would have appealed to you as a kid. You may find yourself building a bright red paper mache shark and shooting it “swimming” in the streets, or doing something else equally outlandish. That’s perfect if you are stumped for inspiration.
4. Use the same one object as the subject in a series of photos
Pick a toy or other object that is recognizable and which people typically use or play with in a few very specific ways or places. “Stormtroopers 365” and the series of photos of a garden gnome travelling the world in the film Amélie are two perfect examples of making awesome photos using just a natural background and a simple figure or two It’s a playful way to give life and personality to an inanimate object and make everyday backgrounds more exciting. On a deeper level, it can lead you and those who look at your photos to reexamine everything in the photo from a new perspective, and that’s what makes this kind of project so interesting despite its simplicity.
5. Shift perspective on a common subject.
Change the way you view something interesting. That could mean a macro digital SLR lens, climbing up in a tree, or putting yourself in someone else’s emotional state to see how they see. Shifting perspective exposes new details and can make something known appear new and interesting.
You may notice that most of these deal with creating interesting subject matter instead of investigating a camera technique or piece of equipment. Testing the range of digital SLR lenses, for example, certainly can be a great way to find new inspiration and learn, but you can also keep it simple and creative by inventing exciting subjects that will get your photographic juices flowing.