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Fun With Photo Assignments

It’s fun to wander the open road with your camera and just see what catches your eye but sometimes it is just as fun to give yourself a bit more direction. You can do this by giving yourself a photo assignment. This is a subject to go out and capture. The photo assignment can be many different things. It could be a single word, a feeling, a situation or many other things. This is just to give you a nudge in a direction and then let your creativity flow.

There are tons of sites out there that can give you a photo assignment. A lot of the photography websites use the photo assignments as a way to build community. They give out the assignment and then encourage people to share their photos, either through social media sites or on a forum. This can be really interesting because you get to see how others have interpreted the photo assignment. Some take it literally and some take it to amazing creative levels. Browsing what others have done can be inspiring and help you push your own creative thinking.

You can find sites that will give out photo assignments daily, weekly, monthly and sometimes for longer periods of time. Some may even be more on the competition side with rewards if people really enjoy your photo. Personally, I tend to stay away from those assignments because it adds pressure that I don’t really want. To me the photo assignments should be fun and help you learn. Not about winning something.

Photo assignments don’t have to come from sites or other people though. You can come up with your own. Take a text file or a notebook and just jot down some subjects you would like to capture. Then the next time you go out and take photos, pick one of the subjects you wrote down. You may even find when you are out taking photos that an assignment may come to mind. A perfect example of this I wanted to share was when I was in Antigua, Guatemala visiting Kitty a few months ago. The city is beautiful but a certain subject stuck out to me while we were wandering taking photos. The main doors for the homes, hotels, and restaurants were each unique and beautiful. After I shot a few of them, I decided to make it a photo assignment for myself. I decided to capture as many of the doors as I could while we walked around Antigua. It was fun because it gave me a direction with my photography that day. It wasn’t about waiting for something to catch my eye but rather have a purpose. My goal is to eventually take the best 6 or 8 doors and make a poster for my office. So as you can see it’s not always about having an assignment before you go out.

Antigua Guatemala Door Project

Just remember that the photo assignment is to give you direction and not meant to add pressure. Be creative and see what you can capture. Keep a record of the assignments you do and don’t be afraid to use the same assignment a few times, especially spread out over a few months or so. It can be fun to go back and look at how you interpreted the photo assignment one time versus another. Keep it fun, let your creativity grow and remember it’s all about getting out there to capture photos. The more you do the better you will get!

The Author of this post is Jake Van Ness

Jake is a Graphic Designer and Design Consultant at Prepressology, as well as an avid photographer living in the beautiful Adirondacks of Upstate New York. Learning in the trenches with fellow photographers trying to capture the most compelling photos.

4 Responses »

  1. Good writing and also interesting. I didn’t know about these sites before. BTW love the pic. When my sister was in Italy, she and her partner focused on taking pictures of doorways, among other subjects.

    • Thanks for the nice comments Eddie! Glad you like the photo. It really amazed me how many different styles there were in the city for peoples doors. It was really interesting how so many of them had a smaller door cut into the larger one. Hopefully I will have my “door project” completed in the next few weeks so I can share it. Hope you enjoy the podcast as well Eddie.

  2. Hi Jake, My friend Eddie suggested I check out your photography blog and I found your suggest on assigning yourself a project compelling, mainly because I have had this “assignment” of my own on my plate for over a decade or two. I know “a decade or two!? But now that I am retired and gearing the remainder of my career to photography (have been an amateur photographer and camera collector for 35 years) and am opening my own studio in a couple of weeks…I am readying myself to tackle that decades own assignment. I don’t want to divulge it at this time (someone may steal the idea) but I will do it as my next big photo assignment within the next four weeks. Thanks for the added inspiration. Joel

    • Thanks for checking out my post Joel. Glad Eddie pointed you in our direction. Really cool to hear about your new direction after retirement. Pete (co-host and brother on the podcast) has said he wants to find a way to make photography more of a focus after he retires as well. It’s definitely a wonderful secondary career. Of course I am a long ways off making that happen for myself. Please be sure to check back in with us when you do complete your long awaited assignment. You have me very curious now! Also please be sure to check us out on Facebook as well Joel!

      Look forward to hearing from you soon!

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