For some of us in more Northern climes, we may well be suffering a lack of motivation in our photography. Polar vortices, Atlantic storms and other climatic events can dampen the enthusiasm for photography. So to inspire you to pick up your camera and get back into the groove, here a few photo projects to get you motivated.
Photograph the Seasons
Whether you are in the depth of winter or scorching summer, the season you are currently in will be followed by three more, in most places. So why not find one of your most treasured locations and shoot it through the seasons?
Pick a location that is going to look very different in each season, perhaps a wooded landscape or local park, find some creative angles and great compositions and fire away. Print the best images as reference prints and bring them with you when you return for the following season, this will help you get a similar composition. Of course you don’t have to use the same location, even just the same town or city experiencing different seasonal weather can make for a great long term project.
Shot the seasons for a year long project by Theo Olfers, on Flickr
Experiment With a New Home Studio
For those adverse to the cold, why not stay at home and do some still life table top photography? Whilst you can buy a dedicated table top and lights, you can get equally impressive results using by creating your own table studio using colored paper from a local art shop and a couple of table top lamps fitted with daylight energy saving bulbs.
For subject material just take a look around your house. You could creatively shoot your favorite electronic gadget, ornaments, or for foodies, your greatest culinary achievements. Within sight of you now are a multitude of photogenic objects that can re-invigorate your photographic mojo.
Challenge Yourself by Staying (and Shooting) Local
Many of us tend to neglect our own back yard neighborhood when it comes to photography. However, why not take a look at your local area in a different light? If you come from a beautiful place then perhaps look for the darker more neglected side of the locale, those living in more down at heel locations could look for the beauty amongst the neglect.
In both cases look to produce images that contrast these elements of your town, a brightly colored artistic graffiti on a derelict building or ugly tagging on a beautiful edifice. Its’s that contrast that will make the shots but also make the project more challenging.
Remember The Blue Hour
For those of us in winter, the Blue Hour comes early. Take a camera and tripod to work and there is a good chance that by the time you leave for home the Blue Hour will be about to get going in earnest.
Those of you working in cities, will have a plethora of photographic opportunities just outside your door ranging from beautiful architecture old and new through multi colored neon lights and brightly lit buses whizzing commuters home. Its a great time to take photos.
Explore the Local Wildlife
Whilst you may not live in the Serengeti, you own neighborhood is still likely to have some beautiful wildlife. Read up a little of what to expect in your area, pack a long lens and thermos of tea or coffee and go on a local wildlife hunt. Wildlife photography is a game of patience, so understanding your local critters' behavioural habits will help you find them and capture them in their glory. As a long term project you could even tie this in with the seasons project, showing wildlife through the year in one location.
Meet and Photograph Strangers
This one is for the bold or those who wish to conquer their fear of shooting strangers. Everywhere you go people are incredibly diverse and interesting. Be it their faces, their fashion or some eccentric trait that defines them, strangers make for interesting but tricky subjects.
The secret to getting a stranger to pose is eye contact and a smile. Explain why you are taking pictures and drop in a compliment about why you want to this particular person. It might be as cheesy as you have amazing eyes or an interest in what that person is doing. By being friendly and open about your intentions you will find a surprising percentage of people will allow you to take their picture.
Once you have permission try to capture that uniqueness that attracted you to them but don’t take to much of their time, working quickly with some engaging chat will yield the best results.
Meet interesting strangers by WarmSleepy, on Flickr
Of course these are but a few suggestions, in reality the range of projects open to you is limited only by your own imagination. Sometimes the biggest motivator of all is just to put your camera somewhere where you can see it all day. The camera itself will inspire you to go out and start a new project.
What We Recommend to Improve Your Photography Fast
It's possible to get some pretty large improvements in your photography skills very fast be learning some fundamentals. Consider this the 80:20 rule of photography where 80% of the improvements will come from 20% of the learnable skills. Those fundamentals include camera craft, composition, understanding light and mastering post-production. Here are the premium guides we recommend.