15 Creative Photography Ideas You Should Try This Year
Creativity is the essence of photography. It’s the capacity to capture the world in a way that no one else has ever done before. Without it, your images would end up looking like millions of other pictures out there. Creativity is what makes your work memorable - the reason why people visit your photography website.
But as time goes by, staying on top of your creative game can prove to be quite challenging. You might find yourself going over concepts you already tried, or feeling as if you’re no longer evolving. Much like your muscles, your brain needs to be exercised often to stay in shape. These creative photography ideas will help you come up with new concepts and techniques, all while having fun and experimenting.
Give up color for a month
When you start working with black and white photos, the way you perceive your surroundings changes drastically. You start focusing on textures and shapes, and how light affects them. Without color, you’ll be forced to draw viewers’ attention purely through composition and contrast. This will have a major impact on your photography skills, and will significantly improve your work in the long run.
Make a one year commitment
One of the most popular creative photography ideas is the 365 challenge. The goal of this project is capturing one photo every day for a full year. This tests your motivation, both in terms of imagination and perseverance. Knowing how important these two characteristics are in a photographer, it’s easy to understand what makes this commitment so popular.
Those who cannot see themselves making such a strong commitment can stick to the light version of the project, known as 52 weeks. In this case photographers are expected to shoot one picture a week, which allows for more flexibility and ease.
Step out of your comfort zone
You’ve probably heard a few times that “progress takes place out of your comfort zone.” For photographers, their comfort zone is a specific genre or style they thrive in. By stepping away from the core elements of your work, you’ll find yourself exploring new subjects and approaches. This project can be anything from shooting only with natural light to mastering underwater photography.
Experiment with new techniques
One of the most fun things for any creator is trying out new techniques. Whether it’s in-camera or during post-processing, there are so many creative photography ideas waiting for you. Examples include, light painting, infrared photography, HDR, abstract compositions, pano stitching, reflections, bokeh, tilt shift, shoot throughs, motion blur, and optical illusions, among others.
You can try a new one every day for a certain period of time, or make a list of your favorites and give each one a go. In addition to having fun and learning a few new techniques, you’ll also improve your shooting and editing skills.
Create colorful monochromatic compositions
No, it’s not a typo. Monochromatic means “containing or using only one color.” While grayscale is the most common scheme, you can capture monochromatic photos of any color. This effect is primarily achieved by shooting during certain times of the day when the natural light temperature changes. If this photography project feels too constrictive, you can also create a photo series where all images have a predominant color.
Put together a visual family tree
Or maybe a friendship tree. The goal of this project is to take portraits of those closest to you, whether it is by blood or by choice. A huge part of portrait photography is being able to connect with your subject. Photographing people with whom you already have a deep connection with can only lead to outstanding results.
You can either approach this photography project as a visual series or focus on capturing each subject in situations that truly represent them. As a bonus, these portraits will make for perfect, unique gifts on birthdays and holidays.
Become your own muse
Anyone can take a good selfie, but only a few can capture a great self portrait. These type of pictures require you to be both the photographer and the subject at the same time. The challenges this provokes are only a fraction of what you can learn from them.
Starting a self portrait series will push you to constantly come up with new, creative photography ideas that you can use later in photoshoots. On top of that, everything you learn in front of the camera will help you improve the way you work with your future subjects.
If you are interested in the art of self portrait photography, read this interview with Juliette Jourdain and get inspired by her incredible creativity.
Work with complete strangers
Few things in life can be as nerve-racking as street portraiture. You have no control over the scene or the lighting, and you’ve only known your subject for at most a couple of minutes. This is what make this photography project such an interesting growth opportunity. You’ll find your technical skills improving dramatically as you adapt to each situation. Additionally, the people skills you’ll learn will be invaluable in future business opportunities. As DNCE said “open heart, open mind, never know who you'll find.”
Dedicate yourself to a subject
Pick a subject and capture them in different situations. The limitations of building a series around a single element will push your ability to come up with creative photography ideas. This, of course, will make it easier for you to stay on top of your creative game in the future.
One of the most common topics in these kind of projects is pet photography due to its accessibility and overall adorable results. However, your subject could be anything from kitchen cutlery to elderly people’s hands.
Build a conceptual abecedarium
Come up with a creative photography idea for each letter of the abecedarium. There are three main ways to approach this project. First, you can write down a theme for each letter and capture an image that represents it. Second, you can randomly land your finger on words in the dictionary and shoot the corresponding pictures. Third and lastly, you can look for elements that symbolize letters or strategically place your subjects to create the shapes.
Master the art of juxtaposition
The literal meaning of juxtaposition is simply a side-by-side position. When applied to photography, however, there are two main approaches to this concept. Some understand that juxtaposition requires contrasting elements. In this case, the resulting photograph captures two principal subjects that are opposite in nature. In other cases, some believe that juxtaposition is the act of placing two elements in such a way that results in a comical visual effect.
Translate music into photographs
What do you see when you listen to your favorite song? Whether it’s a real memory or a fictional story, music tends to fill our mind with images. Bringing this imagery into existence can be a really interesting and creative photography project. You can start by capturing a photograph that perfectly represents the essence of your favorite song. Afterwards, if you’re feeling brave, expand your creativity to the entirety of your favorite music album.
Take your sweet, sweet time
In a world where everyone seems to be constantly in a rush, stopping and admiring a moment in time can be an incredible privilege. This applies to photography, where most images are meant to capture a fraction of a second in time. As interesting and shocking as this practice may be, all photographers should at least experiment with long exposures. Whether you focus on naturally slow genres, such as astrophotography, or capture smooth movement in urban landscapes, the results will offer a whole new perspective of your surroundings.
Limit your technical options
Cutting down on the lenses and camera accessories you take on your bag is an excellent challenge both from a technical and a creative point of view. For example, if you were to shoot only with a prime lens you’d need to adapt your compositions and the way you approach every scene. Not being able to rely on other equipment such as a tripod or a flash, will push you to rethink each shot and find a creative way to overcome the challenge.
Search for the decisive moment
“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” If you want to experience this beautiful feeling described by Henri Cartier-Bresson, you’ll need a lot of patience and a well-trained eye.
More than simply freezing a split second in time, the decisive moment is about capturing a unique composition that might never happen again.
Ready to start a new adventure? Create a photography website with Wix and share the results with the world!
By Judit Ruiz Ricart
Photography Expert for the Wix Blog & Social Media Team