16 Photography Project Ideas to keep you shooting every day!

Jan 21 2011

Taking a photo everyday can be a daunting task, but as I look back over the last 20 days worth of shots I’ve taken for my Mostly365 challenge I am really proud of the results. To keep everyone inspired I’m giving you 16 photo project suggestions for your 365!

1. Self portraits

Day 15: Selfie + 5DMKII
50 f/1.4, 1/30 @ f/2.8, ISO 640.

Give people a glimpse at the artist behind the camera and take a self-portrait. You can do a classic camera-in-hand mirror snap like mine, or get creative and put your camera on a tripod, set a timer, and run in a wheat field. There are so many options for creative shots and the best thing about you being the model is you can take your shot whenever you like and take as long as you want snapping it!

2. Moon shots

Day 17: I have a dream... Moon over the Bay Bridge, San Francisco
Bay Bridge, SF. 5DMKII+ 100mm f/2.8 L, 1/40 at f/8.0, ISO 500.

There are many faces of the moon and almost all of them make for spectacular photos. If you happen to own a long or telephoto lens put it to good use and grab some stunning shots. If not, consider renting one for your dSLR and go on a special nighttime shoot and capture both the moon and stars. You can even share the rental cost between friends and make a fun night of it.

You’d also be surprised at the shots you can get with your camera phone. Just make sure you prop your phone on something stable while you take your shot.

3. Nature Macros

Dew drops on grass.

There is so much beauty out there — leaves in puddles, dew drops on grass, snowflakes on tree branches. Head outside and capture all the little details of nature. Try shooting with a really shallow depth of field (f/2 and lower) to get dreamy artistic shots.

4. Portraits

*i found you*
5DMKII, 85mm f/1.8, 1/200 @ f/2.8, ISO 100.

I am most passionate about taking portraits. From candid street photos shots, to strobe light lit creatives, to magic hour back lit shots, the possibilities are endless. The only problem is you need a subject. If you are blessed with an understanding and patient partner or family member, start practicing taking portraits of them. If you are feeling a bit more bold, you can always head out on the street and try to get some candids of people walking by or even ask strangers to pose for you.

If you are looking to photograph the attractive sort then you can try finding a model through ModelMayhem.com (more tips on photographinc  models here) or pester some of your good-lookin’ Facebook friends. Almost everyone wants a great Facebook profile shots, so offer to give them a nice shot for their time. More tips on taking great portraits.

5. Fun Macros

Day 13: Mini Michael Bay Movie Still
5DMKII+100 f/2.8, 1/200 at f/4.5, ISO 125 + 430EX  double CTO gel.

During bad weather days, dig around in your house for a fun little toy, keepsake or gadget to snap. You can light your subject with strobes to get a bit more creative, or just position your toy in front of a large day lit window and get great natural light.

6. Musical Performances

Day 1: Florence + the Machine NYE at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
Florence + the Machine NYE at the Cosmopolitan, 1/60 at f/3.2, ISO 1600.

Every time you are out at a show grab a shot. Taking photos at concerts was actually how I started working as a photographer and all I had was my little Canon Rebel Xti and the 50mm f/1.4. Often, you aren’t able to bring dSLRs into concerts, so make sure you can before you head out. If you aren’t allowed to bring your gear,  try to grab a shot with your camera phone or small point and shoot.

7. Your City’s Landmarks through the Seasons

Day 18: San Francisco Union Square Heart
Union Square heart, SF. 16-35mm, 1/80 at f/4.0, ISO 4000

Every city has it’s famous landmarks. Set a goal to capture 10 of most interesting over the course of the year, and take a shot of each landmark during the 4 seasons. Imagine a a collection of shots of the same statue during fall, winter, spring and summer seasons. For more variation, you can take a shot during the day, night or sunrise and sunset. It’s always good to have your camera on you whenever you go out in your city, so that if you see a good lighting situation you can grab a quick shot!

8. Bokeh shots

Day 3- Snap!

Bokeh shots are always fun to shoot whether you set up little lights behind your subject like I did here or just use what’s in your environment. This is another great project for a rainy day. You can also get great bokeh with street or building lights at night.

9. Architecture & Building shots

Gorgeous Interior of The Plaza Hotel, NYC
The Plaza Hotel, NYC. 5DMKII, 16-35mm f/2.8, 1/125 at f/3.2, ISO 4000.

Head to your local museum, parliament building, or city sites with interesting architecture. A wide angle lens from 15mm to 35mm is ideal for this type of photography. Most kit lenses fit the bill. Obviously a really wide angle like the 16-35mm or even a fish-eye yield the most interesting results. But, if you don’t have a wide angle lens, then focus on capturing the details. Close-ups of pillars, doorways, or statues can make cool shots.

10. Landscapes

Oxbow Bend foggy at dawn, Grand Tetons
Oxbow Bend, Grand Tetons. Xti, 7s at f/, ISO 100.

If you live near nature or are taking a trip out of the city then make sure you take some shots of breathtaking landscapes. Old roads winding through snowy fields, mountains jutting up into cloudy skies, or majestic trees lining a sunken vallies all make great photos. Pay attention to your composition and look for “S” shapes in rivers, paths, and rocks.

11. Raindrops on windows

Rainy day in SF, iPhone4 processed with Camera+.

Raindrops on windows make really cool and interesting shots. You can get really creative with these shots so really stretch your imagination and see what you can create.

12. Food Photos

Ginger & Polenta Waffles

It may be slightly annoying to your friends and family, but snap a shot of your food before you eat it, especially fancy foods and deserts. Mmm. Chocolates :) Try to light your shots, either by placing the food in front of a nice bright window, or with speed lights if you have them, or just turn on some ambient light and use a nice low aperture lens like the 50mm f/1.4. If you are in a really dark restaurant you can also try moving the candle light close to your food to get a bit more light.

13. Pet Portraits

Leo's Ozzie
Leo’s Ozzie, Xti, 1/100 at f/4.0, ISO 100.

Pets are often easier to shoot than most people. Plus, they whine less and can be bribed with snacks. Here are some tips to get great pet photos.

14. Sports & Action shots

Felions at BC Place
CFL Felions, 5DMKII, 15mm f/2.8, 1/25, f/5.6, IS0 320.

Whether you are at at a World Series showdown or a little league game, there are amazing sports photos just waiting to be taken. Freeze the action with a fast shutter speed and a long telephoto, take a tilt-shift of the entire stadium, or snap a fish-eye shot of the distracting cheerleaders at the game like I did :P If you can’t make it to the Superbowl, head to a local sporting event or even down the street to the nearest park. I’m sure you can find some impromptu soccer match for some great action shots.

15. Sunsets

iPhone 4, edited in Camera+.

From cityscapes to silhouetted figures in front of a sandy horizon line, everything looks magical at sunset. What’s great about sunsets is that every camera can capture the magic . I shot the above photo with my iPhone. :)

16. Night shots

My Birthday Night view of Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Golden Gate, 16-35mm, 10s @ f5.0, 1SO 100.

Grab your tripod and shutter release and head out into the night to take some stunning night photos. Take long 15s exposures of cars whizzing by creating trails of light, or ghost-like movement of people walking by dark buildings, or bright neon city signs. If you plan on doing regular night photography, you might want to invest in a small headlamp or LED flashlight to hemp you find your camera buttons in the dark.

Hope that this list helps keep you motivated and inspired to keep snapping a daily photo. Not every photo has to be a masterpiece. Remember to take photos that remind you of your daily life and the little things that make you smile.

If you haven’t already joined my Mostly365 project feel free to jump in anytime! I can’t tell you how happy I am to see your shots everyday. Getting a glimpse into the lives of so many photographers from all over the world is a wonderful thing!

I am also tweeting daily suggestions and showcasing some of the best 365 shots each day, so be sure to follow Mostly365 on Twitter.

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56 Responses to “16 Photography Project Ideas to keep you shooting every day!”

  1. I haven’t been stuck on my own personal “project365″ yet, but I know now that when I do, I’m going to have some inspiration now to get me through! Cheers Lisa!

  2. Very creative inspirational ideas. A little bit of everything to keep you shooting.

  3. great ideas!
    The Raindrops on windows is so pretty!

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lisa Bettany, Phillip Jeffrey and others. Phillip Jeffrey said: Always inspired by Lisa's advice RT @mostlylisa: 16 Photography Project Ideas to keep you shooting every day! http://t.co/c2JKEPT […]

  5. Great article! given me some ideas on what I’d like to shoot. Will there be anymore photo weekly themes? It’s great to see other peoples interpretation of a topic. Also found your article on “tips on photographing models”. Found the parts on creepy photographers funny/shocking.

  6. Beautiful Work! Definitely ran into this already, thanks for the inspiration! Didn’t know the iPhone 4 took such amazing photo’s! :D

  7. Good idea.. need to get a wider lens.. thinking the 15mm fisheye.

  8. :) Thanks for the tips! :)

  9. Thanks Lisa! I think you’ve finally pushed me over the line to do a Project 365! Damn — you’ve set the bar so high. THANK YOU for pushing us.

  10. […] 16 Photography Project Ideas to keep you shooting every day! – "Taking a photo everyday can be a daunting task, but as I look back over the last 20 days worth of shots I’ve taken for my Mostly365 challenge I am really proud of the results. To keep everyone inspired I’m giving you 16 photo project suggestions for your 365!" […]

  11. Some nice ideas, this bleak winter has me not taking many photos at all. Think I’ll give a few of these a try to get the dust off my camera!

  12. Creative, mostly optimistic :), high end, intelligent photography.
    Must come from a sharp eye backed by a brilliant mind.
    Tnx for sharing.

  13. […] 16 Photography Project Ideas to keep you shooting every day! […]

  14. These are all great ideas and brilliantly executed. Just the kind of inspiration I needed, as I’m working through my own Project 365 for 2011.


    P.S. I’d like to share a link to this story on my facebook page for PhotoTour DC. facebook.com/phototourdc.

  15. Awesome ideas! First time I tried doing night shots I went to one of the top floors of a building and shot the streets from there. I was so amazed at how the movement and the lights and everything else is captured. I was hooked since! Now I wish I could finish a 365 project, but that’s just wishful thinking! Thanks for these awesome suggestions!

  16. […] 16 Photography Project Ideas to keep you shooting every day! Posted in in "Photography" Share on: FaceBook | Twitter    […]

  17. I’m definitely guilty of only breaking out the camera for traveling and trips. These are some great ideas for taking photos every day – maybe I’ll even try my hand at mostly365!

  18. There is a project idea missing ;)

    I am going to do an interview with some photographers of this topic soon. May I send you the questions as well, although it is not your core-topic or photography?

    Greeting from Germany,

  19. Or you could always shoot with the same lens, or like i do the same lens and the same aperture, 50mm f/1.8 photography

  20. WOW Liam! A really cool idea! Love you 50mm posts and you just inspired me even more :-)!

  21. Such creative ideas for photography. Some of them are really good concepts.

    Photographer Sydney

  22. I’m halfway thru my own Project 365 on Facebook, and running out of ideas. I haven’t had much time to shoot lately, so I’m like rehashing some old shots from past shoots. Now I have a few more ideas. Thanks!

  23. Great ideas here! I love the macro of the little robot guy! It’s very cool! I actually got lucky once and got a really nice dew drop picture – I was so excited!

  24. Hi Lisa..

    watched your show last night with trey on twit live.. very handy. I have now decided to take my camera out everywhere with me, because you never know. sadly dont have an iphone. so its my humble eos400d all the way. thanks for the inspiration. you and trey rock!

  25. Great post Lisa, lots of ideas to keep me shooting over the dry periods!

  26. Perry Matthews May 16th, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    This is a great way to get people interested! I find myself very interested in photography and I also see that you have jotted down the settings of each picture underneath the picture so people can see what they are dealing with, when they take a macro picture, per say. I enjoyed reading these, and my favorite one was the one of the San Francisco Bridge with the lens focused on the raindrops… of whatever window… Keep up the GOOD WORK!!!

  27. These Pictures are wonderful :))
    Ima a Sophomore in High School
    Mclane High School. Fresno, CA
    and I’m in a photography class,
    I know how to take photos and its really
    a passion of mine, but didnt know what to
    take pictures of and my mind became blank
    until I skipped across this page! :)
    Helps alot thannks!

  28. awesomeeeeee omg i like these photos good job

  29. Dear Lisa, thanks for encouraging me in this great adventure!

  30. Awesome ideas! You have some true talent by the way! I’m a sophomore in high school and somewhat of an amateur photographer myself. I feel like I have run out of things to shoot around me and this has given me some great ideas.

  31. Homework already!?

  32. these are really pretty and helped very much Thanks :)

  33. Wow thank you so much! I’m 12 years old and am doing a photography class and this is really helpful. Thank you so much! :D

  34. All these ideas are wonderful and challenging. I love them and can’t wait to get started on some of them.

  35. […] 16 Photography Ideas to Keep You Shooting Everyday […]

  36. What camera were these taken with? Or any suggestions for good cameras?

  37. After reading these helpful tips, I now have great motivation to spend some of my time on a photography project for my sophomore year!
    Thank you. :)

  38. Really awesome ideas! hehe funny im only 13 and i love these!!!! i showed them to my friends and they thought they were ok! hah i love these pics! whoever photographed these magnification pics is quite creative!

  39. Hi…im looking for a new camera…got any idea which one i should get?

  40. oh ya! You should get a Nikon one! My brother Logan got one of those & there soooo awesome you should get one. :)

  41. oh ya! You should get a Nikon one! My brother Logan got one of those & there soooo awesome you should get one. :)

  42. Great article & ideas! Just tweeted this article & placed it on our facebook page for other photographers out there to try this out! Thanks for writing and keep up the good work!

  43. Awesome… :)

  44. I just began a 365 photo challenge today so I am looking for tips. These are great! So many things I never would have thought of myself. Thanks.

  45. Great Tips! I don’t know how much days you can spend with this but It can make a 365 photo project look quite shorter. I’m not doing it but I think I’m gonna try some of these projects!

  46. were and how much did that camera cost you? Its amazing!

  47. It is an amazing project to shoot everyday of a year.Wonderful life

  48. Great post, I like how the 365 challenge is “almost 365″ so participants don’t feel bad if they miss a day.

  49. You have beautiful photos! I am very into photography…Hope to accomplish such nice looking work sometime! Thank you for all the wonderful Ideas! Beautiful!

  50. […] 16 Photography Project Ideas to keep you shooting every day …Jan 21, 2011 … Projects to keep you snapping & sharing a shot everyday! […]

  51. Hi Lisa,
    I found your website during a motor search and I came upon this fab post. Great ideas! Your post will be featured on a sidebar link of my photo blog.

    Happy trails.

  52. Been looking for a new project, thanks for sharing so many cool ideas – I think some fun macros are in order!

  53. Thank you so much for the tips Lisa. They are great and I love your photography!

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