September is one of those limbo months. Summer is ending, schools are beginning, we are beginning to get hints of fall. And where I live the weather is warm, often warmer than we have experienced during the “official” summer months, confusing our bodies and senses.
It’s that time of the year when you might find yourself in the creative doldrums as you move from summer vacation mode back into work and family routines. So that means that September is the perfect month for a creativity focused photo-a-day challenge!
This month’s list is meant to encourage experimentation and challenge you to break out of some of those routines that have become uninspiring and maybe a bit monotonous. Each prompt this month asks you to try a specific technique, a particular subject, or to break a rule of photography or try a rule of photography. For example, it’s common as photographers to shoot with the sun over your shoulder to light your subject and ensure that the color is good. But sometimes, it is perfect to shoot into the sun–especially if you want to capture a silhouette like this photo of the lifeguard tower. (And I was lucky enough to snap just as the lifeguard walked into my shot!)
It’s not unusual to take photos of your food, but perhaps it is less usual to try to create a shot that showcases the food as though it is an advertisement. I’m not sure this photo is that quality, but I do love the color of this unedited shot–especially of the mango salsa.
Sometimes it is the difference in positioning yourself or your lens that creates a new way of seeing your subject. You might try shooting from above like in this shot of the subway train in Pasadena. (And you might try going from color to black and white for added effect!)
Or in this case, climbing up a ladder and shooting up in a tight space to capture a glimpse of the light in this lighthouse.
Sometimes I get stuck taking shots of things that stand still. So sometimes the creativity comes from trying to capture action as it happens. Here’s a sandpiper (and his shadow) just as he lifts off!
I’m still experimenting with taking photos of weather…and there isn’t a whole lot of weather to experiment with in my parts. I was excited about seeing this family in their yellow slickers walking toward me on a rainy day in Yellowstone.
And who doesn’t love a photo of flowers? I particularly like this shot where the large poppy in the foreground is crisp and the others are slightly out of focus.
And water is always a source of inspiration for me. I have to work at creating something new and different from my photos of the ocean, but this shot of the top of the waterfall was a novelty for me.
So September’s challenge is to inspire your creativity by pushing yourself to try different subjects, different techniques, different angles and more. And to help you stretch creatively, here are some prompts—one per day—to push you out of your ordinary routines.
1. get low
2. shoot into the sun or create a silhouette (or both!)
3. create a photo that is stunning in black and white
4. shoot something ordinary in a new and interesting way
5. make something ugly look beautiful
6. create a self portrait
7. take a photo of traffic
8. make people your centerpiece (strangers if you dare!)
9. shoot from above
10. use the rule of thirds
11. find a natural frame (a branch, a bridge, or ???)
12. shoot on a angle, what happens if you make it extreme?
13. photograph your pet (or someone else’s)
14. photograph water in a new way
15. capture movement
16. photograph an abstract pattern
17. shoot from an unusual angle
18. what’s interesting about windows?
19. where do you find reflection?
20. make your subject off center
21. capture emotion
22. where do you find texture?
23. take a shot of the weather
24. what’s interest about clouds today?
25. something old
26. something new
27. focus on light
29. take a shot of food–would it work in an advertisement?
Once you stretch your creativity and take that shot (or many shots), post a photo each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twitter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the better!), so that we can all enjoy the posts. If you are game for some more playfulness, compose a blog post about a photo, a week’s worth of photos, write a photo essay, make a video or slideshow or try a learning walk! You are invited to create a pingback by linking to this url or post your blog address in the comment section. It’s fun for me to see what others are doing with the same prompts I am using!
So stretch yourself this month and feed those creative urges! You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. You can play this game by posting your pictures in the order of the prompts or post the one you find on the day you find it. You get to make your own rules! Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them! So go out and get creative! I can’t wait for you to share what you are seeing through your lens!