How to Come Up With Ideas for Your Own Photography Projects

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Avatar of Tiffany Mueller
Tiffany Mueller is a professional music and fine art photographer. She has been published in multiple publications including magazines, art journals, and various photography books. She blogs at Life Is Unabridged.

In this modern world, where nearly everyone has a camera of some sort, it can be difficult for a photographer to stand out in the crowd. Coming up with photography project ideas that are both creative and unique can be a daunting enterprise. If coming up with a project of your own is becoming a struggle, here are few tips to help get started.

  1. Shoot what you love. This one may seem obvious, but it’s not always followed and that usually shows in peoples’ work. If you are out there photographing things that you enjoy doing, your resulting work will be that much more personal and meaningful. Whether you love sporting events or watching birds, try to incorporate it into your project. It will naturally hold your interest and you’ll have the opportunity to show the world what you love through your own eyes. Take the Kansas City Urban Cyclist Project, for example. Photographer, Chris Thomas, has been rounding up local cyclists since 2007 to photograph as way to incorporate his love for cycling into his passion for photography.
  2. A successful photography projects inspires others.  Were you inspired by another project? What about it specifically made you think, “That’s a great idea, I should do something like this.” Photography projects are often intended to evoke those sorts of emotions in people – it’s a sign of a good project. Find out what it is about a project that motivated you and work on developing your own concept of it. What can your project entail that would motivate others to do a similar project?
  3. Collaborate. Collaborations can be great resources for photography projects. Attend local artist meet-ups and get involved in your community’s art scene. Or, if you already have a group of fellow photographers, start a think tank of your own.  Bouncing ideas off of like minded photographers can spawn new ideas and really get the creative juices flowing. As an added bonus, working with another photographer is a great way to learn new techniques. For a real challenge, choose someone with a different skill set than your own. Chances are your styles will compliment each other and you will both learn from one another.
  4. Utilize side projects! Perhaps you’ve worked on a photography project in the past and took some shots that you liked, but didn’t really fit in with the theme of your then current project. You may have even decided to make a side project out of it, but never really got around to it. Now is the time to dig those old ideas up and put them use. You may have to think back pretty far to come up with sound project ideas, but at some point in your career, you’ve probably had some great ideas that you haven’t had the time to complete. Looking through your old portfolios can open up a floodgate of project ideas.
  5. Of course, if you’re still struggling with finding an idea, there is always the random method. Just choose a subject, almost any will do. Perhaps you have a penchant for tree tops or have always been fascinated by shoes hanging from electrical wires. Select a subject and create a series of photographs based around it. If it’s a subject that is commonly seen in photography projects, use your own personal style to make it unique.

    Tiffany Mueller is a professional music and fine art photographer. Published in various publications including magazines, art journals, as well as books, Tiffany has been fortunate enough to have been in a perpetual state of travel since her youth and is currently working on a 50-states project. You can also keep up with Tiffany via Twitter or on her personal blog.

5 thoughts on “How to Come Up With Ideas for Your Own Photography Projects

  1. Chad Goldman

    I started a blog 1000dirtyfaces.blogspot.com before I ever started my website as a way for me to document my three boys messy eating habits. A trait they didn’t
    get from their mother. Since most of these shots are spontaneous, set up is always minimal and fun, the kids love making messy faces. I didn’t do this for anyone but me, just a reason to keep shooting. The site evolved into more, but I do love returning to my original premise, in fact…I have another up upload.

  2. Sam Docker

    A great article. Its very hard to be completely original these days, and finding inspiration from others is great, but try to develop your own style and put your own take on a concept, you can’t go wrong.

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