How to reconnect with friends through photography

When was the last time you got out with your girlfriends and enjoyed quality conversations together? Have you noticed how much more time you’ve been spending with your kids’ friends versus your own?

It’s easy to get wrapped up in daily routines and not even realize that your own social life got pushed to the back burner. This doesn’t just take a toll on your friendships; it can negatively impact your creativity and motivation to pick up your camera!

When you’re craving something more than another coffee break/play date, here are ten ideas that will not only rejuvenate your social life but will also offer fresh material for your portfolio.

Go antiquing together

Even if you’ve never been one of those people for whom “antique” is a verb, give it a try with a friend. Small town antique shops, old church barns, and flea markets are full of unique items nestled in dusty chests and old-world cupboards ready to be discovered. Even better, all of those textures and colors are just begging to be photographed and you will find no shortage of inspiration on those shelves.

TIP: Most antique shops will have dimly lit rooms. Look for small pockets of light near windows or identify interesting artificial light sources that will help tell the story in your images.

Run an errand together

One of my favorite places to go is the farmer’s market. Stroll aisles of fresh produce, discuss healthy recipes, and be prepared to shoot when the inspiration strikes. At the end, you’ll end up with bags full of fresh ingredients and memory cards full of beautiful photographs.

Tip: While shooting in a store or market be sure to ask permission, especially if you’re including people in your images. Most vendors are eager for you to photograph their goods but it is always best to check first!

Related: Street photography and the law: 7 things you need to know

Cook together

Preparing a meal to enjoy together is one of my favorite ways to connect with friends. When choosing your dish, a recipe doesn’t have to be complicated and ingredients don’t have to be mysterious. Gather your foodie girlfriends, pick a dish with interesting colors and textures, and savor the entire process.

Tip: Try to visualize your final image in advance, this will help you decide what props and materials you need to have on hand to compliment your dish. To style this Pavlova (which my master baker friend prepared) I used dark linen, crumpled brown paper, and greenery from my backyard.

Explore your town together

Try to be a tourist in your own town. You’ll be amazed at how much there is to discover in those familiar streets! Slow down, look around with fresh eyes, pay attention to the small details, and you’ll start detecting things that may go unnoticed in your daily routine

 Tip: Don’t hesitate to ask your friend to model for you, it’s half the fun!

 Plant flowers together

… or let your friend plant the flowers while you relax and click away to capture gorgeous colors and textures of beautiful flora, rustic planters and piles of dirt. Ha! Really though, getting dirty and accomplishing a task together is such great way to bond and the beautiful results of that effort could even add some color to your walls!

Tip: Experiment with different creative photography techniques. Unlike your child subjects, plants won’t run away from you and your friends will be much more cooperative models for you.

Sit outside at a café together

Enjoy the view while sipping a perfect cup of coffee or savoring a glass of wine. Then, wait for an interesting subject to pass by and take that shot from the comfort of your seat.

Tip: Lingering in one place will give you the chance to look for interesting patterns, geometric shapes or repetitive colors. A wide angle lens will help you capture the environment and provide flexibility for later cropping if necessary.

Volunteer for a charity together

Give back to the community, do something useful for a cause that’s dear to your heart, and capture amazing moments with your camera. Many charities need photos of their activities for publications and marketing materials and are often eagerly looking for photographers who will donate their time and artistic skills.

Tip: To take photos of sun rays seeping into the building, you’ll need dust particles, a window with direct harsh sunlight and dark background. A similar effect can be achieved by using smoke, fog or water spray.

Discover new libraries together

There are six public libraries within a 13-mile radius of my house! Who knew?! They offer so much variety in terms of photography: unusual architecture, unexpected toys and musical instruments, and dramatic shadows created through sky light, are just a few examples.

Tip: Try going to the same library at different times of a day. You may be surprised by patterns of shadows you’ve never observed before or sun flare that’s only there at sunset.

Plan a scavenger hunt together

Nature-themed scavenger hunts are my favorite! Explore the great outdoors, go hiking in the woods or take a stroll along the beach. You can get the kids in on the fun letting them check-off items from their scavenger hunt list while you capture memories for them.

Tip: Make sure you choose a location with lots of diversity, as well as time of day that will be flattering for the type of images you are planning to shoot.

Stroll a local flower field together

Photographers are notorious for their reckless parking at the side of a highway and careless wandering into the wildflower fields. However, if that’s too adventurous for you, visit a fragrant lavender farm, golden sunflower field, or search online for a nearby flower festival.  

Related: 5 steps for creative and beautiful flower photography

Tip: My absolute favorite way to photograph flowers is freelensing. To achieve this dreamy, painterly effect, it is crucial not to rush the process and take as much time as necessary to manually select desired plane of focus.

Let these ideas inspire you to call up your friends and start penciling activities down on your summer calendar. Committing to a specific date will keep you accountable and help you stick to your goals. Make sure you have your batteries charged, lenses cleaned and camera ready, and don’t forget to capture portraits of your friends during your outings–they’ll be cherished forever.

About the Author:

Sopo is a self-taught photographer, originally from the small, yet gorgeous country of Georgia, now living on Long Island, NY. She seeks to document her two daughters’ everyday through authentic, story-telling photographs. She is constantly exploring new mediums to feed her need for creativity, be it designing intricate jewelry, drafting and sewing children’s garments or learning to paint with watercolors.

9 Comments

  1. Chrstopher Hall Aug 14 2018 at 2:11 am - Reply

    Really love this article. Found photos so inspiring as I would like to be able to document more what my daily life is like. Thank you.

  2. Sopo Aug 14 2018 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Christopher, thank you! I’m so glad you found the article inspiring!

  3. Christopher Hall Aug 15 2018 at 12:01 am - Reply

    I love the idea of a scavenger hunt. Great way to get the kids involved especially where kids are around.

  4. Chanel French Aug 24 2018 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this awesome post with helpful tips and beautiful photos! And I totally recognize that piano from Ponce City Market!

  5. Sopo Aug 29 2018 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    Chanel, I’m so happy you found the article helpful! And YES, you’re totally right! 🙂

  6. natalie brunsman Oct 24 2018 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Loved reading this! It truly is fun to get out with other friends and just go exploring and do something. I find I get some of my favorite photos this way.

  7. Sopo Titvinidze Nov 14 2018 at 10:21 am - Reply

    Natalie, I agree! I can’t wait for my next opportunity to get out with a friend and shoot!

  8. Karen de Wit Nov 28 2018 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    Loved reading this! It’s a great way to connect with your momtog friends and these are some great ideas on where to start! Thank you <3

  9. Sopo Titvinidze Nov 28 2018 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    Karen, I’m so happy these ideas are helpful, thank you for your words!

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