Looking for a challenge this summer? The kids are home, why not take advantage to improve your skills? I have come up with a 90 day photo project plan to help you master your skills and get better images.

Here is how it works!

There are roughly 90 days in a summer vacation, or 3 months. Take each month and focus on something new or a skill you have been wanting to master. At the end of the summer you will end up with 3 mastered skills. Here are some examples of things you might want to improve on…

1. Composition

It’s simple, it’s your focal point. What your eye should see when first looking at an image. There are a few ways to establish a focal point. When shooting, watch your lines – leading lines guide your eyes to your focal point. Framing is also a good way to define your subject in a good composition. Negative space and angles can also be used. Train your eyes to see things differently to make your images more eye catching.

photo of girl playing on the beach by Erica Williams of Woodsy Wonders Photography

2. Shooting indoors

I have been trying to master this skill lately. I have found the only way to really learn this skill, like any, is to practice. Look at the light around your house and how it falls on different things. The direction of the light. Notice how direct light looks flat. If you turn you subject to the side of the light source it creates a different mood and effect. Makes the subject more 3-D. Try taking photos in different rooms of your house to test different lighting situations.

picture of girl putting her feet in the kitchen sink by Erica Williams of Woodsy Wonders Photography

3. Shooting with different types of light

Shooting in all types of light can help capture all those unique moments. It can’t always be golden hour, even though that would be amazing. Try shooting in the morning hour, in the middle of the day, and at golden hour. Try placing the sun behind your subjects to create a soft glow of light. Filter the sun through the trees if the sun is too high in the sky. Experiment with artificial light on cloudy days to create a more dramatic mood in your images. Once you master light, the sky is the limit.

backlit family portrait by Erica Williams of Woodsy Wonders Photography

4. Manual mode

Don’t be afraid to take your camera off auto. It can seem a bit overwhelming at first but this is where it begins. Understanding your camera can be the difference in an average photo and creating a masterpiece. Read your camera manual to learn what each setting does. Understand what exposure, aperture and ISO does and where to find them on your camera.

ferris wheel picture by Erica Williams of Woodsy Wonders Photography

Pick three and each month work on a different skill, whatever drives you to become a better artist.

In addition to developing your skills, document your everyday ventures this summer. This is a great way to test out the skills you’re working on and is also a way to create memories and have a reason to pick up your camera.

Here are some ideas on what to shoot:

  1. The everyday
  2. Poolside
  3. At the beach
  4. At the lake
  5. Camping
  6. Road trips
  7. In the car
  8. Exploring
  9. Farmer’s Market
  10. Snow cones
  11. Cool finds
  12. New hangouts
  13. Friends
  14. The details (hats, glasses)
  15. Activities
  16. Cookouts
  17. Tell a story
  18. After a long day
  19. Lazy days

Whatever your summer brings, document it. Blog about your summer. Write weekly post about what happened during your week, tell a story with your images. Make one big blog post at the end of summer telling all our your cool finds and adventures. Make a scrap book with all your images to show them off. Maybe test out a new print company and make a gorgeous album with your images. Make a video and post it on social media. At the end of the summer you should have mastered 3 new skills. Enjoy your hard work and reflect on how your images have grown over the summer.

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