Exploring Technique: May’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

It’s been a while since I’ve focused intentionally on photographic technique…lately I’ve been much more focused on exploring places than working on the more technical aspects of creating interesting photos.  So it seem to be time to create a challenge that encourages me (and you) to explore (my one little word) how the tools of the trade might impact the images created.

So for May’s #sdawpphotovoices photo-a-day challenge, we’ll focus on a different aspect of photography each week.

After you shoot, 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! (More about learning walks here and here) 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!

Week 1: Playing with Composition

1. Simplify the scene—move in closer to remove distracting details


2. Rule of thirds (or simply avoid the middle)–what happens when you frame your subject off center?

3. Use leading lines—frame your shot by letting the natural lines (fences, roads, walls…) direct the viewer’s eye


4. Use diagonals—shift the angle, tilt your camera…

5. Check your background—what’s behind your subject? Experiment with finding a background that works with your subject

6. Fill the frame—zoom in or step closer to fill the frame with your subject


7. Break the rules—experiment with your own compositional style

Week 2: Playing with Light

8. Shoot into the light to create a silhouette

9. Capture a shadow

10. Find the light in a dark setting


11. Make light the centerpiece of the photo

12. Experiment with light and dark in one photo

13. Include a reflection (water is useful here!)

14. Try something new with light (either natural light or some other light source)

Week 3: Playing with Perspective

15. Get low


16. Shoot from above

17. Create an optical illusion

18. Play with negative space

19. Get close

20. Try a wide angle effect

21. What other perspective have you tried?

Week 4: Playing with Genre

22. Architecture

23. Black and White

24. Children


25. Landscape


26. Macro

27. Nature

28. Street photography

Week 5: Play with filters and effects

29. Abstract

30. Adjust the color

31. Your choice!

Our goal is to explore, share with each other, and learn from each other as we shoot our own photos and study the photos others shoot. Each week includes seven suggestions for exploring the technique, and the final days offer opportunities to play around with filters and effects. You are welcome to follow them in order, mix them up, or exchange them for a technique you want to try on. You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them!

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