Simple Challenge to Improve Your Photography

Simple challenge to improve your photography

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There is a lot to learn about photography, but reading about different techniques, lenses, exposure, and composition, while important, can only take you so far. You often lean more by doing than you do by studying.  Take this 30 day challenge to improve your photography!

30 day challenge to improve your photography

Challenge Photo St Johns Bridge

Make learning fun

A simple way to gain experience, explore techniques, and test your limits is to challenge yourself to take photos of a different subject every single day for one month.

To really understand the elements of captivating photography, you need to take photos, and lots of them.  Learn by doing.

This challenge doesn’t require a lot of planning or travel. You can photograph things in your own home or yard, on the street, at the park, or anywhere you find yourself on a given day.

Get out and take some photos!

Some ideas for subjects to photograph include animals, flowers, trees, insects, food, people, and buildings. Anything, really.

Your creativity comes into play when you photograph your chosen subject in different ways. You can try photographing the same object at different times of the day, from several different angles. 

This is also a good time to experiment with some different settings on your camera.  One way is to take it out of auto mode if you are not already doing that.  Try putting it in Aperture priority mode (Av) and try some different values.

Also with different lengths of exposure, playing with the focus, overall composition of the shot, and trying out different lenses.  Try getting really low to the ground for an interesting effect.

Challenge Photo Krissy Puppy

Phone a friend

Be sure to involve others when you can.  Ask someone to let you practice shooting portrait photos.  Go to a sporting event and try to get action photos during game play.

I’ve asked professional wedding photographers to let me tag along and do some shooting.  In Exchange I gave the wedding party copies of all the photos I took.  Some of which, the bride liked as much as the paid photographer.

Seek willing victims

You can often get people to pose for you.  If you see someone in an interesting outfit, lots of tattoos, unusual hair, etc.  Politely ask if you can snap a photo.   Just explain that you are learning photography and mention the thing that drew them to you.

ALWAYS ask before you just snap a photo of someone.  Unless they are in the act of making news or doing something active.  Then it’s always polite to mention to them that you took their photo while doing whatever it was.

Make a list

Sit down and jot down a quick list of subjects to shoot.  Examples:

  • Day 1: Cars in my neighborhood
  • Day 2: Dogs
  • Day 3: Skateboarders
  • Day 4: Cloud Formations
  • Day 5: A friend in various poses

And so on…  Just making the list can be a fun exercise, as you dream up different ideas.

Challenge Photo Seagulls

30 day challenge to improve your photography

 Here is an idea

One interesting idea for this simple challenge to improve your photography is to use an arrangement of glassware. You can fill the glasses with water and set them near a window.

Play with the arrangement and take note of the different shadows you can make depending on the position of each glass and the amount of water in each one. For even more interest, add a few drops of food dye in different colors to each glass.

Keeping it simple

To avoid becoming overwhelmed, make the most out of this challenge by keeping simplicity in mind. Composing a great shot is all about getting the viewer to see what you want them to see, so start small.

You will find that your inspiration and creativity only grow each day, turning the task into something you look forward to. And all the while, you will be improving your photography skills.

Share your photos

Get yourself a flickr account.  The subscription is free up to 1000 photos.  Or choose any other photo sharing service.

Put your challenge photos up there with good descriptions, tags and other data.  Now invite friends to look at the photos and tell you which ones they like and why. 

Encourage them to hit the like button on the ones they like.  You’ll gather some interesting data to tell you what people like and why.

Challenge Photo Sunset Island

Do some analysis of the photos

Look at some of your favorites that you took during the challenge.  Also your friends’ favorite photos, and compare them to various photography composition methods.  How close were they to the guidelines?   Did they fit one of the methods at all?

This is good learning because in addition to learning what people like.  You will find out that not all the liked and admired photos automatically fit a standard composition model.

Learning what you like best

One of the things that may come out of this is starting to develop your own niche, brand, style of photography.

I tried a lot of stuff, Portraits, Weddings, Cars, Buildings, various random objects, Wildlife, etc.   I always came back to Landscapes.  That’s what I found out I liked most of all.   That’s what makes me happy.

You should do what makes you happy.  Don’t just try to do what you think other people will like.  People will like it automatically because doing what you like really shows through in your photos.

30 day challenge to improve your photography

Conclusion

Most of all, get out there and take photos.  Lots of photos.  It’s the only way to get good at photography.  Practice, practice, practice.

You may want to take a look at some smartphone apps that can assist you with photography.  See the post Photography Assistant Apps for Smartphones

I hope this post has inspired you to do the 30 day challenge to improve your photography.   Even if you can’t do consecutive days, just do 30 days overall, and see what happens.  You’ll be glad you did.

For those of you that may struggle with putting together a 30 day list, I have taken the initiative and created one below.   You can print this one out and use it if you want.  Also it doesn’t have to be done in the order I wrote it in.   Just check off each one as you do it.

  • Tree (s)
  • Kids playing / laughing
  • Building all lit up at night
  • Action Sport
  • Bicycle rider
  • Non pet animal (horse, cow, squirrel, etc.)
  • Factory or industrial installation
  • Insects
  • Random interesting household object
  • Selfie portrait
  • Through the window
  • Store window display
  • Jewelry / ring / watch / clock
  • Middle of a long road
  • Random city or rural feature
  • Flowers in bloom
  • Dogs
  • Skateboarder
  • Cats
  • Something far away
  • Train
  • Water / Lake / Stream
  • Bird
  • Car / Motorcycle
  • Portrait / Person
  • Landscape
  • Fruit
  • Building
  • Clouds
  • Reflections in shiny surface

I’d also like to recommend checking out this article by Michael Falk at SeeImagery.com

Get a FREE copy of my ebook – My Secrets to Amazing Landscape Photography Click Here

If you have any questions, comments, praise or other information to share, feel free to put it in the comments section below.  I’d love to read what you are thinking, what issues you are having, what topics you want to see covered or corrections that are needed.  Your input is valuable in helping me to help you and others learn and improve this thing we call photography.

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1 thought on “Simple challenge to improve your photography”

  1. I appreciate the mention! Also, great post, taking 1 photo a day is just the prescription we sometimes need. It get’s the camera in your hands and shooting. It makes you think and search for possibilities in places you might not think to look.

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