Becoming a better photographer is a goal we are all constantly aiming to achieve. There’s always something new to learn or a technique to improve upon.
One of the best ways to improve your photography skills is to take on a project. Carrying out projects will give you goals to achieve within a specific time frame through detailed and planned out practices.
By being intentional with practicing your photography, you’re bound to become a better photographer along the way. Here are 3 projects to consider taking on if you want to become a better photographer.
A Project 365
What is a Project 365? It’s a challenge that requires you to take at least one new photo every day for an entire year.
The best way to improve your skills in any given capacity is to practice with intentionality and consistency. With this being true, it should come as no surprise that a project 365 would help you to become a better photographer. You’re practicing with purpose every day!
Picking up your camera everyday helps you to become more familiar with your settings. In this way, operating your camera becomes second nature.
Also, shooting a new photo every day pushes your creativity. Chances are, you will get bored if you try the same old thing 365 times.
And that’s good! Because it means that you will try new things! And when you try new things, you grow as an artist.
Daily shooting encourages you to look at your everyday surroundings with an evaluative eye. You will work to see your world in new ways. You will allow yourself to capture things you may not have considered to be worthy subjects in the past. And you will find yourself appreciating the photo-worthiness of your everyday on a whole new level.
A common challenge when taking on a project 365 is remaining consistent. Taking a photo everyday can be really hard to keep up with!
Here are a few tips to help you stay the course in completing a project 365:
Join a group to help keep you accountable.
Being a part of a dedicated group will help keep you motivated and they can provide encouragement along the way.
Don’t know where to find your 365 group? Come join our Clickin Moms-led 365 project on the forum. Here you’ll be cheered on and motivated by other members and our Clickin Moms Mentors. (If you’re not already a Clickin Moms member, come join us and get started with our 365 group today!)
Allow yourself grace.
If you miss a day (or three) that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the project completely. Remember that you are human which means you aren’t perfect. Sometimes you may have to go back and make up days. And that’s okay.
On days you feel extra inspired, take extra photos.
As I mentioned, there are going to be missed days on your part. It’s inevitable, really. There will be days when you forget or just plain feel uninspired. On days like this, reach back into that archive of photos you took on previous days where you felt super inspired and use those to fill in the gaps. This isn’t cheating, it’s called making it work.
The “Shoot-like-film” project
When photographers could only work with film, every single press of the shutter button cost money. There was no going back. There was no peeking at the back of the camera to see how things turned out. Instead, the photographer had to slow down, be intentional, and do everything in her power to make every shot count.
As digital photography began to replace film photography as the dominant medium, a bit of that pressure was relieved. No longer did we have to get it right every single time. We could just shoot a thousand frames and keep the five that turned out right!
Add to that an abundance of storage options and it might seem that there is no reason to wait for the “decisive moment.” But I have found that when we take time to be more mindful, to slow down, and to shoot as if our digital cameras had film inside instead of memory cards, our best photos become even better.
A shoot-like-film project is exactly what it sounds like. You treat your DSLR as you would a film camera, meaning you only have a limited amount frames to shoot (ideally 24 or 36).
This project helps you slow down and really consider the scene before you shoot. It causes you to mentally plan before you click the shutter.
Through this project you become a more patient photographer who waits for the decisive moment to shoot versus shooting through the moment in hopes that you capture it.
If your goal is to become a more thoughtful photographer that takes their time, a shoot-like-film project is perfect option for you.
Want to go more in depth? Try this Creativity Exercise created by Click & Company CEO, Sarah Wilkerson: 5 Ways to Shoot More Like a Film Photographer.
A Composition Challenge
Composition is a huge factor in the impact that your image has on its viewer. Starting a composition challenge is a great way to practice building your photography skills. It allows you to explore various genres, locations, and light while allowing you to seek out opportunities to strengthen a specific area of your photography.
Try giving yourself a new compositional rule to explore each month. Or maybe take a photo of the same thing multiple times using different compositions. Or perhaps you can seek out various compositions as they happen naturally and capture them with your camera. However you decide to approach this project, the key is to make composition the primary focus.
Here are a few compositional techniques you can aim to improve on with this project:
- Rule of thirds
- Leading Lines
- Negative Space
Treat this project like a fun scavenger hunt! Head out with your camera and a list of the compositional elements you want to capture. Give yourself an hour or two to cross off everything on your list. You can even grab a photog friend and make it a fun adventure for two!
Training your eye to actively look for these elements to incorporate into your images will help the process become second nature when you’re shooting.
A Clickin Moms forum exclusive tutorial: 13 Dynamic Compositional Elements to Inspire You
We’re all constantly looking to improve our photography skills and taking on a project is a prime way to intentionally practice on a consistent basis. I can’t wait to hear what projects you are all working on. Share them in the comments below and we can support each other as we all become better photographers together.