5 Fun Weekend Photography Projects [Part 2] - Digital Photography School

5 Fun Weekend Photography Projects [Part 2]

If you’re looking for some fun and creative photography challenges this weekend check out the continuation of our previous post of fun weekend photography projects.

1. Self Portraits

Image by John McNab

Many of us are less comfortable in front of the camera than behind it, but if you are lacking a willing model and need a subject to fill that spot than this may be your only option.

This is actually a great excuse to get a little creative and with the right focus you can actually have quite a bit of fun with self portraits. One option is to photograph your reflection in a mirror or other reflective surface which provides a plethora of compositions and ideas for creativity.

The use of an instrument such as a gorillapod (www.joby.com) allows you to attach your camera to stoic objects such as trees, lamp posts, even chandeliers to provide give you some height, as well as a variety of angles and perspectives. A remote trigger release is useful for this, but if you are quick a self timer may suffice.

Another neat trick is to create ghostly effects in low light or complete darkness. Position your camera on a tripod, dial in a long exposure and narrow aperture, and set the self timer. Start by standing still for a few seconds and look at the camera, then move slowly at a diagonal crossing in front of the camera and moving out of sight. Check the LCD for the results – you should find a slightly blurred ghostly figure with an ethereal trail leading into the distance. There are so many ideas to try, just push the limits of your imagination.

Read more at: Self Portraits: 7 tips to go beyond the basics and Self Portrait Tips.

2. Double exposures

Image by Janrito Karamazov

A lot of cameras today offer multiple exposure modes, which allows the photographer to take two or more shots and blend them together in camera to make one composite. With this option you can play with lighting, focus, shutter speeds, depth of field and more.

To create a sharp/soft image, switch your camera into this mode, meter from and focus on your subject and take the shot.

For the next exposure manipulate the focus manually the so subject is no longer defined and take the image again. When these two are blended together the subject will appear sharp with a softened edge and blurred background. If your camera doesn’t offer this mode, simply take the series of shots separately in camera and merge them in an editing suite later.

3. Silhouettes

Image by Thomas Hawk

Silhouettes can look so intriguing and inspiring when done correctly, the most difficult part can be deciding what to use as your focus. Architecture and elements of nature such as trees, rocks and mountains can provide adequate interest, but for a more vivacious capture find a willing model to portray a variety of position and shapes.

Your model may find they become more confident knowing their body will be look more defined and the person completely in the dark giving them more incentive to concentrate simply on the shape of the poses. Environmental portraits can also work well in silhouette – for example a fisherman bringing in his catch, a farmer forking hay in the fields or city workers commuting home after the daily grind. The best time to use natural light for this purpose is sunrise and sunset – when the sun is low on the horizon. Simply position the subject between yourself and the sun. If the sun is distracting in your composition, move yourself or the model so their frame blocks the glow. Deactivate the flash, meter from the sky and use a fast shutter speed to keep the subject defined.

Read more at: How to Photograph Silhouettes and 12 Stunning Silhouettes

4. Bad weather

Image by heanster

Just because it’s raining or foggy, there is no need not to go outside and get snapping. Yes a low auburn sun may be considered the perfect light for outdoor photography but if you live in a country where it drizzles more than it is dry your only option is to get out there and make the best of what you have to work with.

Thunderclouds can enthuse drama and tension into a shot, so meter on the clouds and set a narrow aperture to capture as much detail as possible, but don’t forget to include some foreground interest. If your camera can perform multiple exposures take a series of shots catering for the highlights, shadows and midtowns and blend these in a HDR program or editing suite.

For lighting set your camera on a tripod and use the bulb mode to keep your shutter open manually, as the lighting strikes release the button and if possible use a remote for sharper shots.

Even if it is pouring with rain you can still use this as a photo opportunity. For best results use a tripod, self timer and dial in a long exposure or use a narrow aperture. The resulting image should show the slow fall of the rain and convert to black and white for a more dramatic images. If you have a specially designed rain cover for your camera obviously use this or duck under a protected covering like a porch or tree for some shelter. Alternatively grab a plastic bag, make a hole in it for the lens to poke through and a hole for you to use the viewfinder or LCD and screw on the lens hood to protect the glass from droplets.

Read more at: Make the best of Bad Weather – 6 Challenges for Photographers

5. Blurred portraits

Imagey by peskymac

Who said portraits had to be defined and in focus? Set your model a few meters from your camera and attempt to use natural lighting by either photographing outdoors or near a large window (diffused with a white sheet or net curtain if it is particularly bright).

Deliberately defocus the shot to reduce the scene and subject to simple, yet intriguingly bold shapes.

Check out part 1 of this series of fun photography projects here.

Don’t be afraid to bolster the ISO if the light drops, as the noise can bring another interesting element to the shot too.

Read more at: Taking Unfocused Photos.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Natalie Denton (nee Johnson) Natalie Denton (nee Johnson) is the former editor of Digital Photographer magazine, and is now a freelance journalist and photographer who has written for dozens of photography and technology magazines and websites over the last decade. Recent author and tutor too.

  • http://photoandpictures.com Bengt

    Using all kinds of photo and here is LED-lights keeping the ISO low…

  • http://www.grtaylor2.com Greg Taylor

    Great suggestions for weekend photo fun. If none of these appeal to you – just go out and make the greatest photograph you can – and have a lot of FUN doing it – it beats working…

  • http://www.vtcabinfever.blogspot.com Jen at Cabin Fever

    This weekend I am going to be working on “Macro” shots of familiar things around the house. The big challenge is that I don’t have a macro lens, but rather a regular 18-55mm stock lens for my camera. I am hoping that I can get creative and still produce some quality shots!

  • Paddy

    Nice articles, I tried some of these ideas this week and it was quite fun :)

  • http://jasoncollinphotography.com Jason Collin Photography

    Bad weather is a cool idea, and probably the opposite instinct of shooting.

  • http://www.rookiephoto.com Kyle Bailey

    I was wondering what I’d focus my attention on this weekend since most of what I’ve done in the last week has revolved around HDR (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylebailey/collections/72157623658601231) I have been thinking of portraiture and your idea of a self-portrait gets me over my apprehension of asking someone to pose for me.

    Thanks again for the great ideas. You can follow my personal photo journey from Rookie to Pro at http://www.rookiephoto.com

    Thanks.

    Kyle Bailey[eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylebailey/4504255419/' title='Takes a Licking...' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2677/4504255419_451236e723.jpg']

  • http://davidutt.com David

    I like the double exposer idea, I’m going for that this weekend

  • http://davidutt.com David

    [eimg url='http://hphotos-sjc1.fbcdn.net/hs395.snc3/24017_415223221252_642331252_5688838_1595554_n.jpg' title='24017_415223221252_642331252_5688838_1595554_n.jpg']

    This is one of my attempts to do double exposure. what do you think?

  • Hilde

    Self portraits.

    And then a self portrait of Paul McCartney credited as “Image by John McNab”?
    I don’t really think John McNab took that picture…

  • http://kylydia.wordpress.com kylydia

    Here’s my attempt at a blurred portrait. I’m happy with the results.

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylydia19/4511148650/' title='Blurred Portrait of Kate' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2406/4511148650_e87b92e4e6.jpg']

  • http://lmpphotography.com LeZandra

    I have decided that it is time for a new self portrait:

  • http://kylydia.wordpress.com kylydia

    This is my attempt at a blurred portrait:

  • Jeff D

    Hilde beat me to it. How did John McNabb take a self portrait of Paul McCartney? Was McCartney just holding the camera and posing for McNabb?

  • Eeps

    Dunno whether or not McNab took that photo of McCartney, but aren’t the lot of you jumping to conclusions? It could have just as easily been taken by someone else. And I don’t mean Paul. Unless you know for a fact that this was a self portrait, a subject holding a camera need not have taken the picture of himself. Just cause the author pasted the picture by an item titled “self portraits” does NOT make it a fact.

  • http://kthompsonstudios.wordpress.com/ Kirsten

    I started a 365 Project on April 1st and I’ve forced myself to take more self-portraits. It’s kinda starting to be a little fun. :)

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/kthompsonstudios/4518672113/' title='13.365' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4043/4518672113_bde821e222.jpg']

  • http://www.fotoconcept.com John K Davis,Jr

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotoconcept/4523242817/meta/ I did this shot back in January. I shot it in the dark so the flash don’t wash out the other exposure. The effect I did in photoshop.

  • http://kc-photographytx.com Aimee

    [eimg url='http://www.kc-photographytx.com/individuals/todd-2/?cat=1' title='?cat=1']

    This is my brother, Todd. I was out scouting locations for future shoots, and found this great abandoned train track bridge. The sun was still high enough in the sky, too, that I tested my silhouette capabilities. I love how this came out! =0)
    Surprisingly, Lubbock has a lot of really cool locations like this. I’m glad I found this place.

  • desmo

    I just love the idea of ‘stoic’ objects – presumably they just stand there and don’t complain ;-)

  • http://www.g1mp3r.com Mark

    i’ll be trying these 5 ideas this weekend. especially the double exposure i haven’t tried that yet.

  • http://www.corneviljoenphotography.weebly.com Corné Viljoen

    Awesome Ideas. Have tried a few.
    Here is a double exposure, self portrait

    [eimg url='http://www.facebook.com/pages/Corne-Viljoen-Photography/110846390333?v=photos&ref=ts#!/photo.php?pid=3716454&id=110846390333&fbid=216059540333' title='photo.php?pid=3716454&id=110846390333&fbid=216059540333']

    and a double of my wife.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Corne-Viljoen-Photography/110846390333?v=photos&ref=ts#!/photo.php?pid=3716839&id=110846390333&fbid=216164655333

  • KelvinKhaw

    does this qualify for a self portrait? :P

    [eimg url='http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v324/FYRTYGR/kelvskel.jpg' title='kelvskel.jpg']

  • marta

    eish, I like the double exposure project, but I can’t see whether my camera allows for it or not. I read that “A lot of cameras today offer multiple exposure modes…”, please tell me my Olympus E-510 has got them too. Any help will be much appreciated!

  • D

    How do you set the focus at the right length for self portraits? Mine are never crisp like in Kirstin’s one – that one is brilliant – all my self portraits are horrible and either slightly or wholly out of focus.

    Sigh, if anyone is looking for a model I am happy to oblige. I am way better in front of the camera than behind it (much cheaper being in front of one, too.)

  • Vinod

Some older comments

  • Vinod

    April 25, 2010 03:40 pm

    I tried an overexposed photography of myself....

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3716839&id=110846390333&fbid=216164655333#!/photo.php?pid=4428341&id=695845784

  • D

    April 19, 2010 01:07 am

    How do you set the focus at the right length for self portraits? Mine are never crisp like in Kirstin's one - that one is brilliant - all my self portraits are horrible and either slightly or wholly out of focus.

    Sigh, if anyone is looking for a model I am happy to oblige. I am way better in front of the camera than behind it (much cheaper being in front of one, too.)

  • marta

    April 17, 2010 08:46 am

    eish, I like the double exposure project, but I can't see whether my camera allows for it or not. I read that "A lot of cameras today offer multiple exposure modes...", please tell me my Olympus E-510 has got them too. Any help will be much appreciated!

  • KelvinKhaw

    April 17, 2010 07:29 am

    does this qualify for a self portrait? :P

    [eimg url='http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v324/FYRTYGR/kelvskel.jpg' title='kelvskel.jpg']

  • Corné Viljoen

    April 16, 2010 04:29 pm

    Awesome Ideas. Have tried a few.
    Here is a double exposure, self portrait

    [eimg url='http://www.facebook.com/pages/Corne-Viljoen-Photography/110846390333?v=photos&ref=ts#!/photo.php?pid=3716454&id=110846390333&fbid=216059540333' title='photo.php?pid=3716454&id=110846390333&fbid=216059540333']

    and a double of my wife.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Corne-Viljoen-Photography/110846390333?v=photos&ref=ts#!/photo.php?pid=3716839&id=110846390333&fbid=216164655333

  • Mark

    April 16, 2010 07:58 am

    i'll be trying these 5 ideas this weekend. especially the double exposure i haven't tried that yet.

  • desmo

    April 16, 2010 03:43 am

    I just love the idea of 'stoic' objects - presumably they just stand there and don't complain ;-)

  • Aimee

    April 16, 2010 03:39 am

    [eimg url='http://www.kc-photographytx.com/individuals/todd-2/?cat=1' title='?cat=1']

    This is my brother, Todd. I was out scouting locations for future shoots, and found this great abandoned train track bridge. The sun was still high enough in the sky, too, that I tested my silhouette capabilities. I love how this came out! =0)
    Surprisingly, Lubbock has a lot of really cool locations like this. I'm glad I found this place.

  • John K Davis,Jr

    April 16, 2010 03:35 am

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotoconcept/4523242817/meta/ I did this shot back in January. I shot it in the dark so the flash don't wash out the other exposure. The effect I did in photoshop.

  • Kirsten

    April 16, 2010 03:18 am

    I started a 365 Project on April 1st and I've forced myself to take more self-portraits. It's kinda starting to be a little fun. :)

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/kthompsonstudios/4518672113/' title='13.365' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4043/4518672113_bde821e222.jpg']

  • Eeps

    April 16, 2010 02:29 am

    Dunno whether or not McNab took that photo of McCartney, but aren't the lot of you jumping to conclusions? It could have just as easily been taken by someone else. And I don't mean Paul. Unless you know for a fact that this was a self portrait, a subject holding a camera need not have taken the picture of himself. Just cause the author pasted the picture by an item titled "self portraits" does NOT make it a fact.

  • Jeff D

    April 12, 2010 04:48 pm

    Hilde beat me to it. How did John McNabb take a self portrait of Paul McCartney? Was McCartney just holding the camera and posing for McNabb?

  • kylydia

    April 12, 2010 09:23 am

    This is my attempt at a blurred portrait:

  • LeZandra

    April 12, 2010 06:32 am

    I have decided that it is time for a new self portrait:

  • kylydia

    April 12, 2010 03:36 am

    Here's my attempt at a blurred portrait. I'm happy with the results.

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylydia19/4511148650/' title='Blurred Portrait of Kate' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2406/4511148650_e87b92e4e6.jpg']

  • Hilde

    April 11, 2010 07:03 am

    Self portraits.

    And then a self portrait of Paul McCartney credited as "Image by John McNab"?
    I don't really think John McNab took that picture...

  • David

    April 11, 2010 05:22 am

    [eimg url='http://hphotos-sjc1.fbcdn.net/hs395.snc3/24017_415223221252_642331252_5688838_1595554_n.jpg' title='24017_415223221252_642331252_5688838_1595554_n.jpg']

    This is one of my attempts to do double exposure. what do you think?

  • David

    April 10, 2010 09:25 am

    I like the double exposer idea, I'm going for that this weekend

  • Kyle Bailey

    April 10, 2010 04:21 am

    I was wondering what I'd focus my attention on this weekend since most of what I've done in the last week has revolved around HDR (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylebailey/collections/72157623658601231) I have been thinking of portraiture and your idea of a self-portrait gets me over my apprehension of asking someone to pose for me.

    Thanks again for the great ideas. You can follow my personal photo journey from Rookie to Pro at www.rookiephoto.com

    Thanks.

    Kyle Bailey[eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylebailey/4504255419/' title='Takes a Licking...' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2677/4504255419_451236e723.jpg']

  • Jason Collin Photography

    April 10, 2010 03:44 am

    Bad weather is a cool idea, and probably the opposite instinct of shooting.

  • Paddy

    April 10, 2010 03:05 am

    Nice articles, I tried some of these ideas this week and it was quite fun :)

  • Jen at Cabin Fever

    April 10, 2010 01:26 am

    This weekend I am going to be working on "Macro" shots of familiar things around the house. The big challenge is that I don't have a macro lens, but rather a regular 18-55mm stock lens for my camera. I am hoping that I can get creative and still produce some quality shots!

  • Greg Taylor

    April 10, 2010 01:00 am

    Great suggestions for weekend photo fun. If none of these appeal to you - just go out and make the greatest photograph you can - and have a lot of FUN doing it - it beats working...

  • Bengt

    April 10, 2010 12:56 am

    Using all kinds of photo and here is LED-lights keeping the ISO low...

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