Photography ideas and inspiration challenge many people. In this article I want to share with you 10 photoshoot ideas that are not boring.
I also want to share with you some techniques which will stimulate your own creative process.
Hopefully these ten ideas will get your imagination started.
10. Photograph Something You’ve Never Tried Before
Sticking to your comfort zone photographing what you are comfortable with can lead to a staleness.
Bring some freshness to your next photoshoot. Choose a subject, photography theme, or technique you have never tried before.
Plan ahead to come up with a concept. Have a few ideas in mind of the outcome. How do you want the finished photos to look?
Here’s a list of things you might like to try:
- If you normally photograph landscapes, make some portraits;
- If you only photograph during the day, have a night photography session;
- If you always work in color, switch to black and white;
- If you always choose auto-exposure, try manual exposure.
9. Pick a Movie or TV Show Concept
Movies and TV can be a great source of inspiration. Most often though, photographers don’t tend to recreate what they see on screen.
For this photoshoot idea I want you to consider creating a photo, or series of photos, which relate to a favourite movie or TV show.
You might need to sit down and watch it again first. Do so with a notebook. Write down the creative photography ideas as they come to you. Be practical.
Don’t add things to your list if they are outside what’s possible for you to recreate without too much hassle.
Think as broadly as you like. You don’t have to photograph portraits of characters.
You could make pictures of landscapes or cityscapes that appear in a movie you like. Or you could mimic the lighting style or lens choice of a particular director.
I love the way director Tom Hooper’s films are often produced with a fairly wide angle lens and shallow depth of field.
The camera often gets close to the actors. This inspires me to make photos in a similar way.
8. Juxtapose Your Subjects
Think of things that contrast. Think of techniques you can use that contrast with conventional methods of photography.
Come up with some ideas to photograph concepts of contrast and comparison.
You might like to:
- Put succulents and roses together;
- Photograph a colourful fairground in black and white;
- Find new and old together;
- Explore ideas of peace and conflict.
7. Look for the Shadows
Photography is all about light. Many photographers prefer not to pull out their cameras in the middle of a sunny day because of the hard light. This is a time when you need to look for shadows.
Challenge yourself to make interesting pictures in sunny, bright conditions when you might not usually be inclined to.
Look at the contrast in light and shadow. Make the shadow a main focus of your compositions.
This is looking at the negative light, rather than the positive light we tend to take more notice of.
6. Watch for Reflections
Reflections are all around us. Often we tend not to notice them or include them intentionally in our photographs.
Find reflections and compose your photographs so they feature strongly. Experiment with including little or no context for the reflection in some pictures.
Move around and watch what happens. You position in relationship to what is being reflected will change dramatically as you move.
Find the best point of view to make your photos from. Take lots, each from a slightly different angle.
You can find reflections in:
- Puddles and ponds
- Car windows or polished paint
- Chrome plated objects
When you are photographing reflections of things on a coloured surface, pay attention to how the colour influences your photo.
You might like to try some reflection photos during dusk or at night.
5. Make the Most of Motion
Cameras capture life in a single frame, but life is rarely static. Motion is often all around us but we do not include it very often in our photographs.
For this photoshoot idea it will be easiest if you have a tripod. If you do not, just get creative about how you can keep your camera steady when you’re using slow shutter speeds.
Have your camera resting on a firm surface. You might need to rest it on scarf or something similar so you can position it more precisely.
Choose any subject you like that’s moving. Find somewhere you can set up and spend time without being disturbed or distracted.
I find it’s best when using a slow shutter speed while photographing moving subjects to experiment at lot.
Try to find a balance between the speed of your subject and your shutter speed. This depends entirely on the look you want to achieve. The longer the shutter is open, the more your subject will blur.
If your subject’s moving quite fast, you may not need a very slow shutter speed. Leaving your shutter open too long may mean your moving subject does not appear in your image at all.
4. Photograph the Same Subject Multiple Times
Choose something or someone to photograph and do a photo session with the same subject ten times.
Preferably without too long a gap between each session. Ten times in ten days would be ideal.
Photographing the same subject many times will hopefully prompt you to become more creative with what you are doing.
Make a plan. Start with a few ideas of what you will do during the first three or four photo sessions.
Try and use a different technique each time. Change your lens focal length. Use different lighting. Think outside the box.
Often we just make use of the first thoughts that come to us for a photo session, unless it’s carefully planned.
By concentrating on the same subject for ten photo shoots your creative process will be challenged by the familiarity.
3. Keep Using the Same Prop
Carry something with you that can be placed in each photograph you take for one month.
Don’t make your prop the main subject of any of your photos.
This is a similar idea to #4, but is different in that you have interaction.
You will have to think carefully about how you prop supports the main subject of your photographs.
You could use:
- Your mobile phone
- A scarf, hat, or piece of clothing
- A camera or lens
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you can carry easily. Can it fit in your camera bag so you won’t forget it?
2. Look Up or Down for a Different Perspective
Most photographs are taken with your camera pointing straight ahead.
For this photoshoot idea, try pointing your camera up all the time. Or down all the time. Locate subjects that look interesting from these perspectives.
Doing this you will train your vision to be looking to make compositions in places you may not normally consider.
Using a wide angle lens will help when you are photographing things looking down at them. Otherwise you will need to find something to stand on.
Balconies, elevated walkways, and windows above the first floor are all potentially good places to make these photos from.
Lie on the ground or find tall things to photograph looking up at. Getting close to your subject will often reveal an interesting point of view.
1. Pick Up Subjects for an Interesting Composition
Pick things up to photograph them. Move around and consider the background. Alter your aperture setting so there’s more or less in focus behind what you are holding.
Often you may see something interesting, but the place it’s resting may not provide a good background.
By picking it up this will change the perspective and background.
Change your lens’ focal length and make a series of photos each time you find something interesting to hold.
You could also place your camera on a tripod or steady surface and use a slower shutter speed.
Move your hand during the exposure and experiment to see a variety of results.
As you work through the ideas you like, keep in mind how you can build on them. How can you build on them?
In what ways can you alter them to make more interesting photos?
Set yourself goals for what you want to achieve. This will help you stay focused and more consistent.
Build on the ideas and come up with your own concepts and subjects to photograph in the future.
With an open mind and a notebook, you will no doubt come up with lists of ideas you are excited about photographing.