If you're looking for a way to improve your photography skills then a challenge is probably right up your street. To give you some inspiration on how you can challenge yourself next time you're heading out with your camera, here's 6 shooting suggestions that'll get your grey-matter working a little harder:
1. Use One Lens /Focal Length
Basically, we want you to select one lens, yes just one, go for a walk, visit a museum etc. and see what images you can capture. Try to make it a lens you've not used for a while as this should make your work even harder.
A lens with a fixed focal length would be our choice for this but if you only have a zoom take that along and pick just one focal length to use. If you don't, it won't be much of a challenge!
Before you start snapping away you really need to think about what you're going to photograph because without a zoom your focal length is limited so rather than relying on the lens to do the work you have to get those grey cells warmed up and your feet moving to find a position/shot that works.
2. Limit The Shots You Take
As memory cards are reasonably priced and can hold hundreds if not thousands of images, it's easy to just click the shutter button continuously and pick the best shots when you're back home. However, by taking just one shot of each subject you plan on photographing you'll have to really think about your composition, framing etc. as you don't have the option of having another shot to correct your mistakes with. If you find this too restricting try setting a shot limit before you head out of the door and make sure you stick to it. By doing so you should be able to improve the quality of the images you take as you'll be finding the best shots through planing and careful thought.
Limit the number of times the shutter button is clicked.
3. Focus On One Subject
Instead of taking many photos of a variety of subjects why not spend a day, or longer if you wish, photographing just one subject. Take a tree, for example, you can photograph the whole thing, get in close with a macro lens, capture shots of leaves, stand further back with a wide-angle lens and capture it in its landscape etc. Visit your subject at different times of the year or at different times of the day and pay attention to how the light changes and when it's at its best. Venture out on foggy mornings, when the clouds are grey or when snow's covered the ground. You'll end up with lots of images and not all will be great but there will be some gems and they could be from ways you've not considered photographing a particular subject before.
Photo by David Clapp.
4. Photograph Just One Colour
Pick a colour, it can be any colour, and stick with it. It can be similar objects, or totally different subjects, but their colour must link. You can write down a colour then make a note of possible subjects that fit the theme or just head out and search for potential subjects with your camera in-hand. The final results can give you a great set of images that you can also use in a panel for your wall.
Photo by Rick Hanson.
5. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
It's easy to stick with the familiar but by getting away from what you're used to, you'll discover new things and improve as a photographer in the process. So, if you tend to shoot landscapes, why not try photographing portraits instead? You'll be shooting with different settings, lenses and in different ways, learning as you go and expanding your creativity. You'll pick up new tips and more than likely learn more about the settings / options your camera has to offer, too.
Photo by Joshua Waller
6. Enter A Photography Competition
If you're out taking photos that are specifically for a competition you'll probably think that bit longer about composition, lighting etc.to improve your chances of getting your hands on the top prize. It's also a good way to find new subject inspiration for your shots as a vast number of themes are used in competitions right across the web as well as in magazines. ePHOTOzine's latest competition, sponsored by Pentax, is all about 'Weather' and an award-winning K-3 is up for grabs. You can find more information on this competition, as well as others running on site, in our competitions area.
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