Even the best photographers can get stuck in a rut and there’s no better way to stretch your skills than to embark on a photography project. If you find yourself shooting the same types of photos or just want an excuse to shoot more, there’s no shortage of fun, creative ideas to keep you motivated.
If you’re really committed, you might want to dive into a 365-day photo challenge, but sometimes once a month is enough to keep the creative juices flowing. We’ve put together a list of 12 photography project ideas—one for every month of the year—that will help you stay sharp and shooting while helping you develop some new skills. Some may require more setup than others, and some require special equipment, but they will all test different aspects of your photography knowledge and help you grow.
Here are 12 photography project ideas to keep you busy every month, for an entire year.
Watch the Shadows, Capture the Silhouettes
It’s common to play with shadows in photography, but stretch yourself further by focusing on silhouettes only. To do this, you can either cast shadows directly on your subjects or employ shadows as the focal point of the composition. In either case, creatively harnessing shadows will prompt viewers to see them in a new light and will help train your eye to look at light and shadow in a different way. Plus, this easy photo project doesn’t require any special equipment.
Spark Up Some Steel Wool Photography
Light up the sky and try your hand at steel wool photography. It’s relatively easy to set up, materials—which include steel wool, a bundle of fine steel filaments, a standard whisk, some wire, wire cutters, and matches or a lighter—are easy to source, and it’ll push you one step further than regular light painting. Check out our handy guide on how to shoot steel wool photography and get started in creating some sparkling images.
See Colors Differently with Infrared Photography
Get instantly artistic photos by experimenting with infrared photography. By revealing an otherwise invisible light, your images will appear otherworldly—though mastering the process is entirely attainable. Once you check how sensitive your camera is to light, it’s just a matter of purchasing an infrared filter and letting your imagination run wild. Digital Photography School has a great guide on how to test your camera for infrared sensitivity.
Get Wet While Experimenting with Liquids
Play with liquid and watch the inspiration flow! Different colored water, paints, and oils all create interesting patterns and abstract shapes that can easily be captured, even in small spaces. Or, get up close and macro with a single water drop. When you stop to think about how liquid reflects light, changes form, and reacts to color, you’ll see how endless the possibilities really are.
Photograph a Stranger a Day
Interested in street photography, but feeling a little shy? Open your doors, get out on the street, and set a goal to photograph a stranger a day for an entire month. The best street photographers spend the majority of time immersed in society, seeking out their subject, and so should you. For some extra inspiration, check out our interview with Dina Alfasi, a photographer who spends her morning commutes snapping surprisingly profound portraits of her fellow passengers.
Immortalize Your Own Image
It can be surprising how many photographers are reluctant to turn the cameras on themselves, but some of the world’s most famous photographers specialize in self-portraits. Using yourself as your own model doesn’t necessarily mean a seated portrait, but is more an excuse to experiment with poses, costumes, and artistry with the only model you’ll ever have who won’t complain—yourself.