Photo Projects: Ideas and Famous Projects
Creative Photo Projects
Not too long ago, I became intensely interested in photography. I started writing for HubPages and really wanted to create stunning photographs for my articles and hubs.
My background in art has really helped, but I also have been studying about the world of photography for about seven or eight months.
To that end, I have discovered the value of photo projects.
What is a photo project?
It’s a way to focus on something in your photography to help you get better at a skill.
For example, during the month of December 2012, I am focusing on a Christmas Photo Project. I am focusing on nighttime photography, use of light, and Christmas colors used in different ways.
Why Do a Photo Project?
- A photo project can provide motivation.This is especially true if you’re part of a photographer’s community.
The idea that you have subject matter to explore rather than just taking the same kinds of photos over and over is a great way to break out of a photographic rut.
- Photo projects can be a source of creativity. I once did a Christmas photo project, for example, I wanted to look at Christmas lights and colors in ways that I never thought of before.
- Photo projects challenge you to become a better photographer.
Again, with my own project, I’m taking a lot of notes on my use of aperture, shutter speeds and ISO settings. I’m noticing patterns and settings that help me to take better shots every time.
- Photo projects can lead to other things.
Now that I’m doing Christmas photography, I already have other ideas of things I want to try.I love shiny things and when I’ve taken pictures of ornaments, I am now thinking what fun it would be to try a “shiny items” photo project.
A Few Remarkable Photo Projects
I mentioned how photo projects can lead to other things. A few come to mind that have really become well-known and incredibly moving:
World's Best Father
The first one is about a father who, when his little girl was born, embarked on a photo project to document life with his little girl. It’s the World’s Best Father series, where the images feature the father, Dave, doing rather precarious scenes with his daughter, Alice Bee.
In reality, he often photographs her separately and then works with Photoshop to manipulate the images into wonderful parodies of his life with his little girl.
His work is spreading like wildfire and his little girl will one day have an incredible scrapbook with pictures of herself with her father. The one thing common to every photo? A mug that says, “World’s Best Father.”
Humans of New York (HONY)
Another project that is incredibly inspirational is called Humans of New York.
When the project started, 28 year-old Brandon was out of work. He had been a trader in Chicago and lost his job.
He went to New York and looking at all the people, he decided to embark on a “census-like” adventure. He wanted to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot them on a map.
Somewhere along the way, the project began to take on a life of its own. He’s garnered a huge following for his photos of people from all walks of life and recently held a fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Sandy through the project.
His story is an inspirational one.
Have You Ever Done a Photo Project?
The Fearless Project
Still, there are other projects that give more inspiration:
The Fearless Project is done by photographer Jeff Sheng.
This was a long photo project, spanning nearly 10 years. His goal was to photograph gay and lesbian athletes in high school and college who were “out” in their communities.
He wanted to help people understand and lessen homophobia, especially in sports. He himself was a closeted athlete in high school.
He began to speak across the country at high schools and colleges about his project and experiences. His project has gained international acclaim and his work is top-notch.
The Olympic City
The Olympic City is another fantastic photo project that documents what happens after a city has hosted the Olympics.
Host cities spend a lot of money to be in the international spotlight, but the project’s goal was to see the after-the-fact impact.
Surprisingly, some cities turn these places into prisons, shopping centers, and other interesting post-Olympic centers of commerce. Others have enhanced their offerings of athletic splendor.
Though these are large and wildly successful photo projects, all started with an idea and all started out small.
What's Your Favorite Idea for a Photo Project?
Photo Project Ideas
Where do you get ideas?
A quick search on the web will yield lots of results for photo projects and challenges. You can focus on colors, taking one photo per day or week, or letters of the alphabet.
It’s more fun, however, to stretch your imagination. My Christmas Photo Project is just a small one; it’s also one of my first projects.
I got the idea after realizing that I would be with family over the Thanksgiving holiday and my mother, in particular, loves doing Christmas-related things over that weekend.
Knowing I would be surrounded by bright lights and red and green, I decided to focus my efforts, at least initially, on those photos I captured.
The sky is the limit and I personally will do bigger and bigger projects. I also look forward to documenting the process.
The goldmine of ideas would be the website KickStarter. It’s a fundraising site, but you can search for different genres of projects.
If you click on “photography,” you’ll immediately find hundreds of wonderful projects both ongoing and finished with which to find lots of inspiration. T
he same goes for regular art projects, but other categories include Fashion, Design, Technology, Theater and many more.
© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun