Confusion and lack of motivation are inevitable. If you're in the middle of a creative block, don't worry. You might need a few simple exercises to refresh your mind and discover a whole new world of photography ideas.
Prompts for photography can be anything interesting that you love photographing or exploring new themes and ideas. The motive here is to get your camera out every day or whenever possible and photograph something new. This will help one get inspiration for photography and work on their creativity, for example, look at things differently and capture them from different perspectives, look at the beautiful little things around you and improve your confidence in photography.
1. Take Photos Of Everything Through Mirrors
We're used to seeing the world from a specific angle. To spice things up, change the way you look at the world by photographing reflections only. Use unusual mirrors and pieces of glass to keep your photos unique.
2. Take Only One Photo A Day
In the age of digital photography, it's easy to take photos for granted. Limit yourself to one photo a day only.
This might make you more aware of how you approach your ideas and help you figure out what you love photographing the most. Sometimes, less is more!
3. Use A Wide-Angle Lens To Take Vertical Photos
Wide-angle lenses are often used to take horizontal pictures and mostly landscapes and architecture. If you use them vertically, you'll get unusually distorted portraits.
This is a fun way to change your perspective and play around with different shooting styles.
4. Capture Your Favorite Places With A Polaroid Camera
Use any analogue camera to take photos of your favorite places. If you love instant gratification, use an instant camera.
This activity will ground you and force you to look at your favourite locations from a creative point of view.
(The locations don't have to be extravagant. In fact, keep them as simple as possible to improve your creative thinking skills!)
5. Photograph Every Member Of Your Family
There can never be enough photos of your loved ones. Take photos of every member of your family, from oldest to youngest.
You can accompany each photo with stories about their lives or simply use the images in a special photo album that posterity can cherish in the future. Think of it as an opportunity to freeze special moments in time.
6. Create A Fake Analogue Effect
If you don't have an analogue camera, why not re-create a visually aesthetic vintage effect in Photoshop? You can use free online resources to create light leaks, dust, scratches, etc. There are some interesting plugins for photoshop that let you do it in a click and a few slider adjustments to get the look you are going for.
This will improve your editing skills and teach you how to enhance simple photos.
7. Make Simple Subjects Look Unique
Many photographers (including myself) like to look for unique subjects in their work. Sometimes, the best way to inspire yourself is to do the opposite of that: find unique ways to photograph simplicity. Try to take unusual photos of everyday objects like plants, cups, and books.
8. Photograph Different Shadows
Instead of taking photos of a person or thing, focus on its shadow. Shadows may be simple, but they can also be emotional if you photograph them correctly. They're a great opportunity to learn how to see potential in things that other people overlook.
9. Purposely Take Out-Of-Focus Photos
Sharp, clear photos are often a priority in every photographer's life. If you're feeling uninspired, maybe you need to loosen up and break a few rules. If you're photographing a person, take blurred photos of them or focus on their background instead.
10. Use The Square Format
There are many photographers who stick to a specific format in their work. Some like panoramas, while others focus exclusively on the square format.
For this exercise, simply crop your images so that they're square. The limited space will force you to think about symmetry, boundaries, and composition in an entirely new way.
11. Take Photos Behind People
Murad Osmann is a famous photographer who takes photos of his wife during their travels. The images are unique because they rarely feature his wife's face.
You can follow Murad's lead and take photos behind people as they work on their hobbies, travel, or simply enjoy everyday life.
12. Re-Create Old Family Pictures
Look through old family photos and find images that you'd like to re-create using modern equipment. You don't have to be in the pictures, although it would be cool if you re-created your own childhood photos!
13. Document The Various Stages Of Life
You could photograph the stages of pregnancy, a teenager's experience in high school, or your own personal journey during a specific period of your life.
14. Use Simple Backgrounds For All Of Your Pictures (Or Not)
If you spend a lot of time thinking about backgrounds, switch to very simple ones. If you already like using simple backgrounds, try to pay more attention to them. Do the opposite of what you're used to.
15. Re-Create A Metaphor
There are many clever metaphors and similes out there. Make a list of your favourite ones and try to re-create them using simple objects.
16. Shoot In Black & White Mode Only
Shoot in black and white mode to remove colourful distractions and see the world from a fresh perspective. Then, take photos of everything you usually photograph for a week.
17. Re-Create Your Photos With A Smartphone Camera
Look through your portfolio. Do you have any photos that stand out to you the most? Try to re-create them using your smartphone camera. You can use an advanced camera app. The simpler it is, the better.
18. Use Long Exposure Photography Techniques In Your Backyard
Long exposure photographers often go to extravagant places to take pictures. Do the opposite of that. Take photos at home, in your backyard, or in the simplest place you can imagine. Look for potential in insignificant places.
19. Shoot Everything from A Very Low Angle
Like many of these challenges, this is meant to force you to see the world from a new perspective. Shoot everything from a very, very low angle. The world will look completely different, which might inspire you in unexpected ways.
20. Take 100 Candid Street Photos
And finally, if you're a fan of street photography, go out there and take 100 unique photos of people and places. Make sure the photos are candid but visually appealing. This is a fun way to introduce yourself to the genre without having to approach strangers directly.
Some Points To Focus On:
- Make sure you take your camera wherever you go so you are ready to get the shot if you see something that inspires you or interests you.
- Learn from your mistakes and find out ways to improve the image next time you get a chance to shoot.
- Do not put much pressure on yourself, but take your time and work on your creative journey at your own pace. Pushing yourself to take a photo for the sake for a daily challenge at times when you are busy can make it a task rather than an inspiration. So missing days when you are not up to it is ok.
- Make a list of more ideas and prompts as they pop up in your mind at times and use them creatively.
- Look through photography books that interest you or visit galleries to get inspired and to learn how photographers have created their photographs.
- Learn new post processing techniques like a film edit or a black and white edit, etc.
- Most importantly, learn to have fun while photographing, rather than taking it as a task. There are ideas and opportunities everywhere. So look around, sit somewhere and observe and then photograph.
We hope you've enjoyed these 20 photography prompts and that you find some inspiration from some or all of them. If you're looking for even more practical ways to improve your photography without getting bogged down in theoretical tomes and technical manuals, then take a look at Photzy's Action Cards.
Photzy's Action Cards are 65 Action Cards that give you over 200 practical assignments for you to hone and cement your photography knowledge and skills.
Simply put, these will help improve your photography in a practical and methodical way as you work your way through all of the cards – or just complete the topics you are interested in!