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12 Exciting Photography Assignments to Challenge and Inspire

Last updated: March 13, 2024 - 8 min read
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Everyone likes a good photo challenge. But photography assignments can also be very discouraging if they’re approached the wrong way.
A good photography challenge will strengthen your photo skills and inspire you in multiple ways. A bad one will leave you wondering why you even tried photography in the first place.

12 Exciting Photography Assignments

Here are 12 exciting photography assignments to help you find the right one.

1. Shoot With a Limited Amount of Equipment

Whether you’re a full-time photographer, a hobbyist, or a beginner, you’re probably itching to invest in all kinds of equipment to take your photos to the next level.
But here’s a challenge. Make the most of what you already have first. Limit yourself to one camera body and lens.
This challenge isn’t linked to a specific period of time. So feel free to create a plan that fits your schedule. But I recommend doing this for at least a week.
If you work with the same equipment every day, you’ll become artistically (and maybe physically!) flexible.
For example, if you only use a zoom lens, you’ll have to be extra creative when you shoot indoors.
If you only use a wide-angle lens, you’ll have to improve your cropping and distortion-fixing skills.

A Nikon Camera balanced on a persons outstretched hand - photography assignments
If you have the time and patience to wait for your photos to develop, give analog photography a shot!

2. Take a Photo Every Day for a Year

This daily photo challenge not only gives you an excuse to be creative every day. But it also teaches you how to find beauty in the details.
A 365-day challenge is simple. Take a photo every day for a year. Some photographers challenge themselves even further. They come up with specific themes every week or month.
Others also embrace a more spontaneous approach. Either way, taking photos daily inspires you to make time for photography.
Be open to failure, and get out of your comfort zone. Treating this project like a fun assignment will help you take your work to the next level!

A still life with a book, cup of tea and flower on a table
To keep yourself accountable, invest in a photo album you can fill with all your photos within a year.

3. Limit Yourself to X Photos a Day

A photo limit is just as helpful as an equipment limit. Limit yourself to something like 10, 20, or 30 photos a day, a week, or a month.
Limiting the number of photos you take forces you to be more aware of your ideas and creative needs. And then, you can pay attention to what you gravitate towards.
A photo limit also teaches you to be more patient and innovative. Instead of taking hundreds of photos of a location, you’ll have to take risks and experiment with different perspectives.
A carpet of purple flowers in a forest, sunlight peeping through the trees - best photography assignments

4. Take Photos With Your Smartphone Camera Only

Modern smartphones are ideal for budding photographers who want to learn more about the technical side of photography.
Take photos using only your smartphone camera for a week. Invest in a great camera app, and familiarize yourself with all its settings. This will help you get stunning images.
If you’re up for an extra photography challenge, try to recreate some of your portfolio photos with your smartphone camera.
This challenge will give you a break from your camera. And it lets you appreciate all the challenges of professional photography. It might also inspire you to get into smartphone photography!
Check out our Urban Smartphone Minimalism e-book for creative ways to start taking pictures with your camera phone.

A person taking a photo of a street at night using a smartphone - photography challenges
Some Instagram users, like Kevin Russ, only share their smartphone photography achievements on their platforms.

5. Experiment With a Completely Different Genre

There’s a wide variety of photography genres out there. There’s underwater, glamour, smartphone, landscape, and portrait, to name a few.
Trying something new can help you fall in love with photography all over again. So take a temporary break from your main photo genre.
If you’re a portrait photographer, take panoramic photos of your neighborhood. If you spend lots of time photographing animals, improve your self-portrait photography skills.
When you expose yourself to different genres, you’ll learn many valuable lessons. And they will be useful long after the photography assignments end.

6. Photograph the Same Person or Object Every Day

If you often get tired of photography, take photos of the same person or thing every day for a week or month. This could help make photography fun again.
Like the smartphone photo challenge, this also helps you appreciate the freedom to photograph whatever you want.
Photographing the same object will also improve your lighting knowledge. To make your daily photos look exciting, you’ll have to experiment with different angles, types of lighting, and editing.
These more focused photography assignments will make you an incredible still-life photographer.
If you’re feeling extra creative, take photos of simple objects you wouldn’t usually photograph. And find ways to make them look like paintings.

Rustic still life photo of a jar of honey, mandarin segments and flowers against a dark background - photography assignments
Honey, mandarins, and flowers may not be the first things that come to mind when you think of photography. This photographer managed to make them look gorgeous thanks to their lighting skills.

7. Quit Social Media Temporarily

Social media can be both a monster and a perfect source of inspiration. If you use it mindlessly, you may compare yourself to other artists. You’ll waste a lot of time and learn a lot of useless information.
No one is immune to instant gratification. So it’s important to take social media breaks regularly.
This can be as simple as temporarily disabling your Instagram account. Or uninstalling apps that fill your day with negativity.
If your job revolves around social media, create internet-free time when you can take photos or learn more about photography.
A portrait of a blonde haired woman using her smartphone outdoors in low light

8. Create a Stop-Motion Video Using Photos

Stop-motion films, like Isle of Dogs and Corpse Bride, are made of thousands of photos. These are neatly organized to make it look like they were filmed.
You can use the same stop-motion technique to create your own puppets. Or you can cleverly use everyday objects in surreal compositions.
If you need a quick boost of inspiration, check out this Academy Award nominated film by PES.

A flat lay photo of materials for puppet making
Stop-motion is the perfect excuse to work with your hands. Make your own puppets, build tiny furniture, and experiment with paper cutouts.

9. Take Creative Self-Portraits With a Friend

Self-portraits photoshoots are fun. But they can get a little lonely sometimes.
If you want to challenge yourself without getting bored or tired, take self-portraits with a friend. (Yes, this includes pets!)
As a self-portrait photographer, you’ll have to set up your tripod, find the perfect light, and pose.
Thanks to these responsibilities, you’ll be able to empathize with future clients. And you’ll feel more comfortable in your own skin and improve working with light.
Plus, if you take photos with a friend, you’ll find it easier to feel confident in front of the camera and experiment with different angles.
A portrait of a female model holding a cat by a window - photography projects

10. Crop or Rotate All Your Photos in a Specific Way

It’s normal to have a comfortable artistic routine. But it’s important to get out of that comfort zone once in a while.
If you take the same kinds of photos all the time, it’s time to turn your world upside down. Literally.
Crop or rotate your next 50 to 100 photos the same way. You can experiment with square photos and rotate every photo 180 degrees. Or do something even more unusual than that.
This forced perspective will compel you to look at the world from a different angle and get creative.

The silhouette of a man against a fiery sky at night - photography assignments
A square crop leads the viewer’s eye to the center of the photo. If you cleverly plan your shoots, you can create breathtaking square photos like this one.

11. Include the Same Object in Every Photo

As photographers, we love experimenting with different subjects and locations. As exciting as it is, it’s not the best way to strengthen our imagination.
If you want to get better at finding potential in everyday items, include the same object in the next 20 photos you take.
This can be a balloon, an item of clothing, or something as random as a paintbrush. You can experiment with all kinds of genres as long as you include that specific item in every shot.
As you try to make the same object fit into every photo, you’ll get better at planning your photoshoots. You’ll find beauty in simplicity and become a more innovative thinker.
A portrait of a female model sitting in a white walled room, surrounded by white balloons

12. Invest in a Photo Book and Complete Every Assignment in It

Invest in a photo book if you want to familiarize yourself with a wide range of photography topics.
Photography books can help you learn more about a specific genre. They’ll introduce you to new techniques and challenge you to get out of your comfort zone.
One of the best things about photography books is their photography assignments section. Almost every book has challenges, questions, and tips to help you become a better photographer.
If you complete all the photography assignments, you’ll learn a lot of helpful information within a short period of time. You’ll also learn patience as you work on familiar photography assignments.
A still life featuring photography books and a rolliflex camera on a table

Conclusion: Exciting Photography Assignments

You don’t need to travel the world or break the bank to improve as a photographer.
A single assignment that lasts at least a week can teach you many lessons. And it’ll help you become a better photographer.
All you have to do is find photography assignments that work for you. Then, dedicate some time to it, and watch your photo skills strengthen!