If you’re looking for photography ideas and inspiration and beyond, the list below is meant for you. Many photographers find themselves in a bit of a creative rut from time to time, or they just want to try out something new rather than taking the same types of photos. The ideas collected below will be useful either way, helping you enjoy photography to the fullest and practice interesting new techniques along the way.
1. Try Out a Different Genre
One of the easiest things you can do if you’re looking for some excitement is to try an entirely new genre of photography. If you’re a landscape photographer, try shooting portraits. If you’re a wedding photographer, find some architectural scenes to capture. Or dip your toes into one of the more difficult genres of photography to master – astrophotography, microscope photography, underwater photography, and so on. We have a whole list of important photography genres that might give you some ideas.
Or just try to branch out within the genre you already prefer. If you’re a wildlife photographer, look for animals that you don’t usually photograph. If you’re a portrait photographer, try taking portraits of strangers rather than clients or people you already know. Get out of your usual routine, and you’ll improve your skills almost every time.
When many people hear (or any year) and “photography ideas,” the first thing they’ll think of is a weekly or daily photo project. It’s quite common to hear about projects like this online, and for good reason – they keep photography on your mind throughout the year.
2. Start a Photo-Per-Day Project
Sometimes, photo-per-day (365 Projects) or photo-per-week (52 Projects) have a dedicated theme. The first week might be shadows, the next is red and blue, the third is texture and so on. Other times, it’s more about creating a personal goal – making sure you actually take at least one good photo each day of the year, for example.
Even if you don’t do a strict photography project, it is still a good idea to take photos regularly throughout the year, without major gaps. You don’t want to lose any creativity or muscle memory for your camera.
3. Rent a Different Lens
Sometimes, a bit of new equipment is enough to spark a photographer’s interest in spontaneous photoshoots and exploration.
It doesn’t need to be something crazy (or crazy expensive) like a 400mm f/2.8 supertelephoto. Even renting an 85mm f/1.8 prime, or a macro lens, is enough to bring out a lot of creativity and excitement that had been hidden behind the scenes. If you can borrow from a friend or swap equipment for a few days with them, even better. I’m a Nikon shooter, but I’ve borrowed Canon cameras in the past just to test, and it’s always been a good excuse to take more photos and go out more often to shoot.
4. Use a New Post-Processing Style
Experimentation isn’t only part of photography in the field. It applies just as well to post-processing work – even more, perhaps, given the extraordinary number of post-processing tutorials available to try out wildly different types of photography.
Try out double exposure post-processing techniques. Turn your images into more of a conceptual piece, where you are blending multiple photos together into one. Or, add text to an image so it looks like a poster or magazine spread. You don’t need to be a Photoshop master to make something interesting and creative – though you’ll definitely improve your editing skills along the way.
5. Do Some Macro Photography
Macro photography is much more accessible than people tend to think. You don’t need an expensive macro lens – just the equipment you already have, plus an extension tube. Even a 50mm prime lens and a single extension tube is going to get you great close-up images, although it takes some time to learn the right techniques for macro photography.
If you want more capabilities than an extension tube, you can find some inexpensive macro lenses that are older, third-party, or manual focus only. Either way, you won’t regret getting macro capabilities in the end. It is one of the best ways to take amazing photos in almost any location and time of day. Many of my best macro photos are from my backyard on an ordinary day in mid-afternoon.
6. Try Creative Lighting and Flash Gels
If you shoot with a flash, you’re probably trying to do it the “correct” way – bouncing it off walls or ceilings, diffusing it to avoid harsh shadows, and carefully balancing it with ambient light. As reasonable as that may be, it only scratches the surface of the creative potential of flash.