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Kickstart a Personal Photography Project this Year!

January 5, 2021 by Lori Lankford

Start the new year with a personal photography project!

Beginners to professional photographers benefit from the focus, determination, and direction that a project provides. Projects offer you a way to experiment, dive deep into a skill, and expand as an artist. Projects are not dependent on time, space, location, camera, or skill level. Let's dive into the guidelines for projects, ideas to get you started, and explore projects for inspiration. The good news - projects are yours to create - they really do not have rules! They can be time-bound or open-ended, they can be location-based or subject-based, they can require you to learn a new skill or refine one you already have. You get to set the intention, the goal, and the guidelines for the project.

Before jumping in, ask yourself some key questions to help plan your project.

  • What inspires you?
  • What skill or aspect of photography do you want to explore?
  • Is there a skill or genre of photography that you will want to master?
  • Would you like to connect with other photographers?
  • Do you want to really learn your camera and get better at basic skills?
  • Is there a passion or community that you want to highlight or showcase?

During the Pandemic, I began a personal project called Shelter. I captured the homes around my area and then creatively edited them to showcase their beauty and add light during the dark time of shelter in place. I wanted to bring the light back into the places where we seek shelter. This was such a rewarding project for me during this time. I shot for a period of 6 months and edited as I went. Part of the project was to give back, so I printed the images and shared with neighbors to thank them and give them some joy during this time.

The ideas for projects are endless. Here are a few to get you started.

  • A 365 project - photograph and share every day of the year. This is great for learning a new camera; forcing you to shoot each day really grows your skills.
  • A 52-week project - photograph and share based on a theme for each week of the year; themes can be found on Flickr, IG, or other photo sites.
  • Travel project - even if you can't travel far away, take time for day trips, road trips, chronically your excursions.
  • Shoot for a cause - focus on a cause you are involved in or passionate about, document it, or showcase its story.
  • One Lens - shoot with only one lens for a period of time to really master all that the lens can do.
  • One Location - shoot the same spot each month. Focus on the changing seasons, landscape, light. Shoot at various times of the day. Chronicle this project at the end of the year.
  • 5 Senses - shoot the 5 senses over a specified time frame.

Gain inspiration for a project from other artists.

The photographer, Quintin Lake, just completed a project based on walking 11,000km around the coast of Britain in sections. The journey started on 17th April 2015 at St Paul's Cathedral and finished on 15th September 2020. His website chronicles the project, his rules, project plan, and images. This project may seem unrealistic for many of us, but we can use the concepts and structure to create our own project. Think about where you live, get out a map, and target areas that you want to capture during the year. Commit to shooting once a month or once a week along your map route. Determine your focus for this project. It could be on all things you see during your walks, or you could have a specific focus for your images like landscape, light, shadows, macro, or textures.

The key to a project is to start, make a commitment, and see where it takes you.

Learn more about starting a project, consider either of these 2 courses taught by Lori to help.

On January 9: Create your Vision for 2021! Learn how to use Adobe Spark to create a Vision Board for the new year!

Set your intentions, goals and dreams for the new year with an online vision board. This short course will walk you through step by step how to set your goals, collect your images, and then create your board in Adobe Spark. This is a great activity to work on over the winter by yourself or with friends and family! The course offers a live Zoom session to walk you through creating a sample board.

On January 30:  Kickstart, a Photography Project Live Zoom Course offered online.

This short course will give you all the tools needed to create, launch, and share a personal photo project. Join instructor Lori Lankford for a one and half hour zoom session where she will share her personal projects and give you all the tools needed to start your own project in 2021!