Simple Photo Tips

Find Interesting Subjects for Photography

Find Interesting subjects for photography snow

How do photographers find interesting subjects for photography?  Honestly, I am not sure how other photographers do this.  But I can tell you how I do it.  I’ll give you a commonsense approach to this question, so that you will be able to find interesting subjects for photography.

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How to find interesting subjects for photography

What is a photography subject?

A subject is an object, person, animal, plant, structure or a physical scene.  Or some combination of those things.  Sometimes those things fit together into a theme, sometimes they are merely random.  Generally, the subject is the center of focus.  It’s what the photo is telling the story of or about.  The subject is usually what is dictating the composition, camera settings, and other aspects of photography.

How to become a better photographer

National Geographic Photographer Jim Richardson says in his workshops and lectures; “If you want to be a better photography go stand in front of more interesting stuff”.  Therefore, wherever you are look around you and think, how would this look if captured in a photo?  If you don’t see a photography subject, then find another place to look.

Gnome House

Creative photography ideas at home

There are a lot of potential subjects you can take photos of at home.  In fact, I wrote a post about this topic a few weeks ago: Easy Photography Ideas At Home

However, for the purpose of this post, let’s assume you have explored photography ideas at home and are looking for more.  The answer of course is to leave home and explore.  You could just wander randomly and hope to stumble upon something, or you could do a more directed exploration.  Let’s talk about the latter option.

How to find photography locations

It doesn’t really matter where you live, I promise there are nearby places you can travel to fairly easily.  Usually within couple of hours.  It can be a day trip, or you can turn it into an over-nighter or even several days if you are so inclined.  Look for these places, where you are likely to find interesting subjects for photography.

Places to take photos

Below I am going to list a number of different places to go to find interesting subjects for photography.  With each place, I’ll list a few ideas of things you might find in those locations. But, before I get started with that list, I want to suggest my favorite tool for hunting great potential locations:  Google Maps

When I am preparing to head out to do some photography, this is usually my first stop.  Sure, you can use the search term “photography locations near me”, but you can narrow it down using the list below to be a bit more focused.

How to find interesting subjects for photography

City, County and State Parks

I am blessed to have a large choice of parks all around me.  There are even 2 State Parks within 30 miles of my home.  All of these can yield awesome photography opportunities.  Trees and other foliage, birds and other small wildlife, ponds and small lakes.  Also, skateboarders, people of all variety, public art and sculptures, interesting structures large and small. 

Parks are a great place to start looking to find interesting subjects for photography.  They are easy to find, visitor friendly, usually have great parking and often bathrooms.

Museums and/or Collections

Within 30 miles from my home is the Evergreen Air and Space Museum, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and several small niche museums.   All of these places are filled with amazing opportunities for photography!  I’ve taken close up photos of a lot of old household items, product packages and the like.  Also, antique airplanes, tractors, fire engines, etc.

Interesting Subjects Engine

Weekend Markets, Farmers Markets, Art Fairs, Festivals

Small markets and artists gatherings can be great venues to find interesting subjects for photography.  These are usually filled with all manner of people, plants, art and objects that can prove to be photogenic.  Various festivals might include hot air balloons, period reenactments, custom vehicles, etc.

Use exploration to find interesting subjects for photography

Sometimes I just like to explore big circular routes taking roads I’ve never been on before.  If you preplan it, you might be able to hit farmland, over bridges, near a lake of river, and other points of interest.  You never know what you are going to find.  In fact, I wrote a post about this a while back called photography and the magic of exploration

Don’t write off heavy industrial areas

Sometimes a big plant or factory can look kind of unappealing during the day, but all lit up at night, it might look amazing.  Something as simple as a long fence lined with stacks of boxes next to a railroad track can be awesome if you get the right angle.  Even just railroad tracks receding into the distance can be great.  Close ups of machinery, gears, pipes, etc.  All these can be great subjects for photography.

Find Interesting Subjects for Photography Plant

How to find interesting subjects for photography

Street Photography at night

The opportunities to find interesting subjects for photography walking the streets downtown or other busy part of town is huge! Street photos at night right after it rains, and the ground is wet can be really amazing.  All the lights and shapes reflecting in contrast with the shadows.  Take a look at the top photo.

Just be careful when shooting photos with people in them to not get too close up or focus on them.  It’s always the correct and polite thing to ask them if they mind, just explain what type of photos you are taking.  Offer to show them photos on your camera screen.

How to take great photos of birds

I like to visit bird sanctuaries, wetlands and wildlife parks.  Many of these wonderful places have benches, or blinds or large rocks you can sit on and hang out.  A lot of these parks plant trees, bushes and other plants that birds like and produce food for them.  These are great places to get photos of birds (and other wildlife).  These can also offer some other subjects like small landscape scenes, flowers and other pant life.

Find interesting subjects for photography in public gardens

If you are close to a larger city, likely you can locate one of more large public gardens.  I am blessed to have access to several.  They are great sources of subjects for photography!  You can focus on individual plants, or step back and take in the whole arrangement.  Gardens can also have ponds and structural features mixed in that can make for good photos.

Interesting Subjects Garden

Seek out opportunities for reflection photography

Something my eyes are always searching for is reflections.  Whenever I am near any water it’s the first thing I look for.  I get drawn to rain puddles because I see clouds in them.  Also, I notice the reflections in large windows.  If you are like me, and reflections fascinate you, I wrote a post on reflection photography a while back you might want to take a look at.  It’s called; reflection photography techniques

Conclusion to find interesting subjects for photography

I could go on listing ideas for places to visit for pages.  However, these ideas for ways to put yourself in front of more interesting stuff should keep you busy for quite a while.  When in doubt just try this:  Go to Google and type in “points of interest near me”.  You’ll likely see something that will stir the imagination and peak the inspiration, and off you’ll go in search of great photos!  Happy hunting and I hope you find interesting subjects for photography out there!