The New Year is upon us. As photographers, many of us will be embarking on 365 projects, a photography project where you take one photo each day or 52 projects where you take one photo a week. It’s easy to say I am just going to take a picture a day or a picture a weekend. However, some like to challenge themselves. This gives them structure and goals for their year of photography. If you are doing a 52 week challenge you can do multiple ones easily. These challenges can be done anywhere, there are no limits in that respect.
This is not a contest, just some ways for you to challenge yourself in the new year.
The Film ISO Challenge
For those of us shooting film, most do not really go past ISO 400. In this challenge, you would take your digital camera and only us one ISO setting a day or a week for your image. You cannot take the easy way out and wait for the ideal light either, because that would get boring. You have to keep things interesting by waiting for the night or early morning, working indoors and out. Every image would have to have the information in the metadata. This is about challenging yourself to work within limits, no matter the time of day. There is a lot to learn here.
The One Aperture Challenge
This can work with almost any focal length you have. The idea is to pick one aperture, say f8, and only shoot with it and keep your images interesting. Push yourself to do unique things with what you have. You can use any lens as long as it can shoot at the aperture you choose. If you lock yourself into a Nikon 50mm f1.2 aperture and you only have one lens that can work at that aperture, then you have to keep that lens with you at all times. Most lenses can do f8 so locking yourself to that aperture will give you a lot more flexibility.
The One Object Challenge
Find something to keep with you everyday, or weekly. Take an image of it wherever you are. If you go on vacation or to work or any place strange, get this object there. This requires a bit of discipline and planning. If you change bags constantly, you have to make sure your object is with you at all times. You have to choose something you want to use as a subject. Make it worthy of a photo you want to take. You can use a long lens or a short lens. This is about being as creative as possible with one subject.
The Coffee or Tea Challenge
Many of us drink coffee or tea every day. We wake up with it or relax with it. It’s something seemingly easy to work into a photography routine, but how to keep in interesting? That is the challenge. This forces your creative muscles to work that much harder to make an interesting image each time. This is a project that makes you want to travel a little, visit coffee houses or tea rooms, and explore. It’s no fun taking a photo at your desk every day or week.
The Portrait Challenge
You can use yourself and others in a portrait challenge. If you are developing your portrait photography skills, this is an easy way to gain experience and confidence. This can be the hardest challenge. You either have to come up with the people to shoot or put yourself in front of the lens. This challenge is a confidence builder. You can play with lights or different settings. The portrait challenge can be difficult but rewarding.
What Are These Challenges About?
Theses photography challenges are about improving your eye and pushing yourself a little bit farther than you went before. The idea is to go past your limits, then go further and do things you have not done before. Take your camera with you, always. Keep your challenges in mind. Do new things.
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