- Arts and Design
Take Better Photographs in 30 Days
In Just One Month You Can Improve Your Photography
Yes, in just 30 days you can improve your photography. one picture, once a day, will get you thinking about photography in a different way, composing better, and seeing a photo in just about anything. At the end of thirty days I guarantee you will take better photographs and learn more about yourself in the process.
The 30 Day Photo Challenge is very similar to the 365 Project, which is take a photo everyday for a year. I took the 365 Photo Project Challenge in 2010 and loved just about every day. My goal was to take better photos and start using my camera more. I also learned to blog, pushed my camera to the limit, started to blog for the first time and really started looking at my world differently.
Although there are "rules", rules are meant to be broken, or stretched, or adapted to your own goals and life. Best tip I can give you is carry your camera with you every day! No special camera is needed, you can use your iPhone, a point and shoot, or a Canon Rebel DSLR. So what are you waiting on, read on ahead and learn how to take better pictures and impress your friends and family.
Set a Goal, Give Yourself a Reward - Buy a new camera when you're finished
I had a goal for my 365 project, if I completed it I would buy myself a new camera. My goal was to start using my camera more, take more photos, and improve my photography. Sure I could of just gone out and bought a new camera, but personally I needed to justify my purchase with improving my photography and taking my hobby seriously.
When the professional photographer at work retired he sold all his pro equipment and bought a Panasonic Lumix. He loves it, and this is a guy who worked at a pro color lab for 20 years.
This is a good entry level camera between a point and shoot and a full DSLR camera with the changeable lenses. This camera still has all the manual settings of aperture priority, shutter priority and full manual settings.
Open Your Eyes to New Photographic Possibilities
30 Day Photography Challenge - Rules and Guidelines
Take a photo every day, that's it, simple. To make yourself more accountable tell a friend and post your photos online, doesn't matter where, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Google+, or your own blog. (You can follow mine here)
Use the below list either as a check list, inspiration, or a literal day by day guide. The rules are your own and whatever fits your lifestyle.
30 Tips For Better Photography
- Food: Food photography is all the rage, everyone likes to eat and the joy in eating is in the preparing. Think of a family recipe, document it, set up a plat of your favorite dessert or your grilling expertise
- Selfie: take a photo of yourself, set the timer get in front of the camera for a change
- Sunrise: Get up early, see the sunrise, you might enjoy it
- Fence:any fence, chain link, wooden fence, base ball field fence, construction fence, picket fence, there are a lot of fences and leading lines in fences
- Animal: take a photo of your pet, your neighbors pet, a wild animal, a bird, an animal at the zoo (DONE)
- Sunset:they might be overdone, but photographs of sunset are still impressive
- Water: "Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink" think of all the water around us, how it functions and flows. Some ideas; bathwater, water in a glass, dripping water (try out various shutter speeds)
- Bathroom: think outside the box, look around your bathroom, your vanity, makeup, hairbrush, fog on the mirror, razors, get creative and get snapping.
- Backyard: take another look around your backyard, the landscaping, trees, deck, toys, a photograph is waiting around every corner.
- Kids: You don't have to be a portrait photographer to get good photographs of people. Kids are just little people, they just move faster. Do a photo shoot with your kids, the neighbors kids, or your grandkids
- Building:Commercial photographers look to the sky, think architecture, skyscrapers, your house, a part of the house, or a church can be inspiration for an architectural photo.
- Junk Drawer: Yup, take out the contents of your junk drawer, arrange, take a macro, place a pencil on a solid background, or a pile of paperclips, get creative!
- Get Close: set your camera on macro, get close to something, anything, look at the details
- Rule of Thirds: this is a technical rule where you divide your photo into thirds, place the horizon 1/3 of the space from the top or bottom, place your subject 1/3rd down and across, it's more pleasing to the eye
- Patterns: Any patterns, plaid, lines, railroad tracks, look for patterns in life
- Action: action shots, kids running, cars going down the interstate, your dog running in the backyard. Stop the action, or create an action blur.
- Flowers or nature: depending on the time of the year and place flowers may or not be blooming, so don't feel constrained by flowers in nature, take pictures of leaves, trees, anything in nature. (DONE)
- Landscape: drive out to the country, or take a landscape photo in your local park, landscape photography is my favorite subject, but I live in rural Nebraska and we have grand vistas which just call for it to be captured.
- Weather: there is always weather, sun, clouds, sky, rain, fog, pay attention to how the weather and the seasons changes the mood of your photo
- Night or Low Light: head out at night to the ball field, the streets, the playground, or just look at the full moon. Experiment with different ISO levels and shutter speeds. You may need a tripod, or set you camera timer for long exposures
- Street Photography: try lifestyle photography, people walking on the sidewalks, eating in outdoor cafes, or street musicians make great subjects for street or lifestyle photography.
- Something Red: Completely random, take a photo of something red. Easy.
- Something you Love: your favorite book, your favorite drink, or food, or family, what do you love?
- Your commute to work: I don't mean while you're driving, but stop, get out and take a picture. Could be at Starbucks, your favorite barn you drive by everyday (I have a favorite barn) or you might be on public transportation, such as a train, or bus. Look around your surroundings.(DONE)
- Your Car: Take a photo of your car, the trim, the wheel covers, something in your car, eating in your car, there is a whole industry of photographers who shoot at car shows. Or take a photo of any car you see on the street, in a parking lot, or at a car show.
- Something Green: Take a photo of something green, money, grass, trees, cactus, even if it's winter I challenge your photography skills to find something green
- Something that makes you happy: Take a photo of something that makes you happy. This is a free pass, it can be anything that makes you smile.
- Something printed: Take a literary photo, think of a different way of looking at a book, magazine, or newspaper, use a prop or two.
- Still Life: Take a still life photo, if people are too impatient for your creativity, head to still life photography. Objects don't complain on how many times you arrange them.
- Celebration: Congratulations you've made it to the end of the 30 Day Photography challenge, your last photo is one of celebration, choose anything you like, confetti, streamers, a party, a smile, or just a last photo that represents the end of the months journey and the start of something new.
Ideas to Inspire Your Photo Challenge - Part of my 365 Photo ProjectClick thumbnail to view full-size
Publicly Commit, It Makes You Accountable
Part of a successful photography challenge is publicly posting your photos. You can post them on Facebook, Twitter, your own blog, Flickr, or Tumblr. The idea is if your audience is expecting a daily photo you will succeed and finish the challenge.
A Handy Tripod
Photography Gadgets To Make Life Easier - Photo tools to be creative and get better photos
Every hobby has it's gadgets and tools that make life easier. Here are just a few of my favorites to keep in your camera bag or camera kit.
For me a tripod is essential, my favorite subjects are landscapes and long exposures. The best way to get a sharp image is to have your camera on a tripod. Since I'm always on the go the smaller the better. The Gorilla pods can be easily put into a beach bag, or in a large purse.
I don't have an off camera flash but I also don't like "flash burning" people either so I use various flash diffusers or bounce lighting to soften the flash and add a little warmth to the image. Try it out, you will see it makes a lot of difference.
Think Before You Snap the Shutter - Compose Your Shot
What Type of Photographer are You?
Great Photos Just Don't Happen
Great photographs were not just random happenings, they took thought as to the composure, the subject and the lighting. Photographers may seem they just click away and automatically get fantastic photos, but it's taken practice, years and years of practice and thousands of photos to get good. It doesn't happen overnight.
During your Photo Challenge think of composition and the complete picture. This one below would have been ruined if there were boats in the background. Not that I couldn't of removed them in Photoshop, but it's better to get it right straight out of camera.
Make Everyday Items Dramatic
Life is in the everyday things
Part of the 30 Day Photo Challenge is to train your eye to look at life differently, artistically, and appreciate the small things in life that tell a story. This makeup kit was just one of the pieces to my daughters prom day. She went with her best friend, they had their hair done, did their make up together and went as friends, stag. Who needs boys?
But think about the activities in your life you might want to document, is prom or a dance just about the posed photos standing in front of the car? Or is it the little things, shaving, finding the right tie, the shoes, the nerves or the nervous smile.
Wedding photographers have started taking this lifestyle of story telling approach during weddings. Documentary wedding photographers get the pictures getting ready with the bridesmaids, the rings sitting on the Bible, the shoes, the food, the decorations. Yes, getting the bride and groom shots are critical, but half of the memories are before and after the ceremony.
Have you done a photo challenge before?
Food Photography - I'm always taking photos of food
Rumchata French Toast (click photo for recipe)
Food photography is becoming very popular with bloggers who share recipes and I've certainly I've done my share of snapping pictures of my meals, desserts and the cooking in process. In fact I drive my husband a little crazy with my camera at the dinner table.
But life revolves around food. We need to eat, we entertain with food, we watch sporting events with food and we celebrate life with food. Some of our fondest memories of holidays are food, Christmas, Thanksgiving, picnics, barbecues, birthdays, all contain food memories. Think of new ways to showcase your food in your 30 Day Photo Challenge.