In this post Christina N Dickson issues a ‘photo a day’ challenge and gives some suggestions on how to get creative with it.
After I took my first photography course through IPS, I was really motivated to pursue photographic growth. For hours a day I would sit in front of my computer and browse the sites of successful photographers in many different fields. I found this exercise provided inspirational ideas, but it also was discouraging. Would I ever become that creative?
Sure, each image represented numerous hours and a great amount of discipline, but I was willing to make those investments too. I just didn’t know how to plot a course of action that would help me grow in photography the way I wanted to.
That’s when I came to a realization; A talented portrait photographer didn’t make a dynamic stock photographer. A landscape photographer could create stunning scenic images, but what about in fashion? A photographer can spend so much time producing in one or a few fields that he or she is unable to see and capture the beautiful every day scenes around them, waiting to be discovered.
So I made a challenge to myself: Everyday, for the next 6 months, I would take a photo a day, outside my normal shoots. I soon reaped many outstanding lessons from this exercise and found my progress to be quite speedy.
Whether you are a novice or a professional, a ‘photo a day’ will keep you sharp for your field and your growth. Here are some guides that will help you out:
- Start an online ‘Photo a Day’ club that will provide you and friends or other members with accountability for the challenge (but don’t worry, members will not be ‘fined’ if they don’t post every day!).
- Commit to a time frame where you will devotedly take one shot a day outside your field. If you say 3 months, see the challenge through for 3 moths! Unless you commit to a block of time, the challenge will be easily crowded out of your every day life after the first few days (or you are in bed almost asleep and realize you haven’t taken your shot!).
- Go outside the box with your images! The idea is to ‘study’ other areas that you don’t normally shoot. If you do portrait photography, don’t make your photo a day a ‘portrait’ unless your subject is one you don’t’ normally shoot. If you take landscape photography, shoot hands. If you are a stock photographer, shoot a landscape. If you are an industrial photographer, take some floral images!
- Take your camera with you everywhere. On you’re way to the grocery store? How about rock climbing? Don’t leave your camera at home! What a disaster it would be to not have your camera when you found the perfect shot! And trust me, you’ll soon see pictures everywhere.
- When you see a ‘picture’ stop and shoot it. Wherever you are going, whatever you are doing, stop and take the shot. Whenever you go out, plan on leaving 5 minutes early so you can get your shot without being late!
- Analyze your shot before you take it. What mood is the light creating? Are you using the rule of thirds? Did you do something creative with your shutter speed? What is the relationship of objects or people in your shot? How will that affect your audience?
- Critique your photos when you get home. What did you do well? What could you do better? Were you technically challenged with this shot? Did you capture what you wanted?
- Use the challenge as ‘photographic therapy’. How easy it is to let the photo a day become just another item on your to do list. Don’t let it go there! Use this opportunity as a daily ‘de-stress’ exercise. Keep it fun and relaxing, and you will be able to capture better images!
- The Photo a Day Challenge is for YOU to shoot for YOU! Keep it this way! Be creative, abstract, and emotionally motivated in your shooting! If the picture doesn’t make sense to anyone else, that’s ok! What matters most is that you are analyzing, learning, and growing!
- When your Photo a Day Challenge time commitment has come to an end, pull out all of your photos. Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea, and look at how far you’ve come with your shooting. There is no greater encouragement than to see your progress in areas of photography that are not your native field.
Believe me, there is no better way to grow and fall in love with photography than this challenge! You’ll wonder why you hadn’t started this sooner!