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Photo Projects – Why you should participate

Neil Creek is an Australian photographer who is part of the Fine Art Photoblog. He is a photo project junkie, and runs a new one every month on his blog.

Jumping Over the Fisheye

The View From Below at neil.creek.name
© Neil Creek

Photo projects are sweeping the ‘net. If you’re a photographer online and you aren’t yet participating, you should!

Thanks to my participation in photo projects my photography has improved, I’ve made many new friends and contacts, and largely through participating in and later running projects, my own blog has gone from 30 views a day and no subscribers to 500+ views a day and 600+ subscribers.

These challenges take many forms and call upon you to take photos that meet a certain set of rules as a way of testing your abilities, teaching you skills, and coming together to participate with other photographers from all around the world. There are all kinds of projects covering all kinds of topics, including: self portraits, specific subjects, particular camera gear or post processing and more. Some projects are a single photo, one a week or one a day, some last a month, others an entire year!

Why You Should Participate

  • Most projects have a suggested or specific subject, so there’s some great photographic inspiration for something to shoot
  • A good project will get you to try something you may not have done before and open up new photographic horizons
  • Some projects will push your skills beyond what you’ve done before, and you’ll end up broadening your photo skills
  • Looking at the submissions from other participants will show you the many ways the rules can be interpreted and you will learn by seeing how others do things
  • Photo projects can be very social activities, introducing you to many other photographers to make friends with and learn from
  • Many skilled photographers with connections and influence run and participate in projects, and projects are a perfect way to “break the ice” and broaden your own network
  • Most projects will let you link your submissions to your blog or gallery – if the project attracts a lot of visitors, you’ll get many visitors referred through to your own site
  • Some projects even have prizes!

Why You Should Organize

  • If you’re running a project via a blog, you’ll have content for several posts: announcing the project, showing the submissions, maybe voting on the submissions, and discussing the results and lessons learned
  • Running projects is a great way to learn about conducting community events, skills which will make your future projects better and you can apply to other events such as competitions or seminars
  • Just like participating in projects, running them helps with networking, but on a much greater scale: no only are you communicating with the participants, but also those linking to the project
  • Bloggers and webmasters are always looking for interesting content to show their audience, and photo projects are a favourite, so you may get many more links to your site
  • Every participant will obviously be a visitor, but they will also become regular visitors, as they have an investment in the project, they’ll also probably encourage others to see their work, or even participate in the project themselves
  • Even if you’re only running a project, and not participating in it yourself, seeing how others interpret the project, you can learn more about photography
  • All of the things that make projects popular, also makes them attractive to advertisers, so you may find yourself with new advertising and sponsorship opportunities

Check Out These Projects

I hope you’ll forgive a little self promotion: I’ve been running monthly projects on my blog this year, such as The View From Below, which encouraged participants to photograph the world from ground level, and Iron Chef Photography: Fork
which challenged participants to photograph the secret ingredient, an ordinary fork, in an artistic way. This month the project is Share the Love, where participants photograph something in their life that they love, and share the photo and the reason why they chose it with everyone through the blog. You’re welcome to join this project, and I suggest you subscribe to my blog if you’d like to be informed of new projects that I run (there’s a prize next month!).

There are many other great sites that run projects regularly or from time to time. I’ve listed several below which cover a huge range of potential projects to join. Some of these sites may not currently be running a project, but their previous ones have been fantastic. Maybe you could give the webmaster a little nudge and they might start up a new one *wink*

  • Epic Edits – The Edit My Photo project was my first project, and really got me excited about the process. Brian, the guy behind EE really helped me to grow my blog through his projects and I owe him much of my success. Thanks Brian!
  • Photochallenge.org – A site dedicated to photo projects, this one really challenges photographers and sets the bar high with monthly themed projects that require a photo each day. There’s no shortage of photographers willing to answer the challenge and the submissions are always amazing.
  • adidap.com – Want to be featured in a calendar? This site hosts a unique project which selects the best photo in its Flickr pool each month to be featured as that month’s photo in a 2009 calendar to be printed at the end of the project.
  • photonovice.net – For photographers who are also bloggers, this interesting series of projects asks you to share your blog stats and discuss how understanding them affects what you photograph.
  • Strobist – This juggernaught of a site, familiar to a million photographers for its outstanding lighting information and breathtaking Flickr pool featues semi-regular lighting assignments, and the results are always spectacular, such as those from the Cooking Light assignment.
  • photographic assignment in the forums.
  • Flickr – There are countless groups running projects of every kind you can imagine, including the very popular “365” daily photo projects.

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Neil Creek
Neil Creek

is a professional photographer from Melbourne, Australia. He has been shooting with a DSLR since 2004, and blogging about his experiences since 2006. Neil has authored five ebooks and a video training course, all designed to help others improve their photography. View Neil’s folio at his home page. Learn about his publications here.

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