Anyone who has read enough of my articles here on Light Stalking will be accustomed to me mentioning the importance of having fun with photography.
Now, I’m not suggesting that photography will be fun for everyone 100% of the time. For example, there are individuals who cover pretty serious subject matter — war, addiction, poverty. They don’t describe what they do as “fun.”
My point is for photographers, in general, is to keep in mind what originally made you fall in love with photography: you had fun doing it.
You may be shooting now for artistic expression or to raise awareness of a given issue — all noble and serious pursuits, but it started because you loved pressing that shutter button.
No matter how earnest of a photographer you have evolved into, you should still find ways to have a little fun.
Here are 9 games you can play to add some fun to your photography.
1. Restricted Access
Strangely enough, limitations can provide a fantastic boost to your creativity because you’re forced to think — and act — differently than you’re used to.
Limit yourself to one of the following for a predetermined period of time:
- Manual mode only
- A prime lens only
- No people in the shot
- Shoot in one location
- A single subject in the frame
Add any other limitations you can come up with.
2. Baker’s Dozen
Stand in one location and, without taking a step in any direction, make 13 distinct photos.
3. Ten Strangers
Walk around an area you know well and ask strangers to allow you to photograph them. Mission accomplished once you gather ten portraits.
4. 10 x 1
Shoot 10 unique photos of one subject. Exactly how you go about this will depend on whether your subject is capable of moving on its own, but regardless you’ll need to do some creative composing and framing.
5. Imitation Is Flattery
Think of one of your favorite photos taken by another photographer, or browse a photo sharing site for a photo you really like. Once you find a suitable shot, do your best to recreate it.
Whatever you photograph, find a creative way to insert yourself into the scene. This is more than a selfie — you’ll need to use a tripod and the self-timer on your camera so that you can position yourself in the frame once your scene is composed.
7. Alphabet Soup
Photograph an object corresponding to each letter of the alphabet. It’s not as easy as it sounds and will probably take you longer than you’d think to complete this challenge.
8. Photo Potpourri
Write single words or short phrases on multiple scraps of paper. Examples might include: “tree,” “motion blur,” “piece of art,” “action,” “shallow depth of field,” “shadow,” “transportation,” “reflection.”
Place these paper scraps into a hat/bag/bowl, draw one and use your camera to fulfil the directive.
9. Virtual Film
Get a taste of the film photographer’s mindset by limiting yourself to taking either 24 or 36 shots. Be selective with those shots — when you hit your limit the challenge is complete (you’ve reached the end of the “roll”) and you have to stop shooting.
Obviously, these are all just skill building exercises…disguised as fun games. So next time you need to let off some steam or practice a new skill without feeling like you’re actually “practising,” try one (or more) of the activities above.