LESSON 15: Another 5 Creative Exercises

Every now and then, we photographers get stuck in a rut and need a bit of a boost.

A few months ago, I shared some exercises to help reinvigorate your photography — and now I’m back with another five. These challenges are meant to get you out of your comfort zone and imbue your work with a newfound style.

EXERCISE #1: Location Scouting

The challenge — Photograph an unusual spot in your hometown

Ever photographed a cemetery? How about a fast-food restaurant, or an airport runway? Every city has an array of locations that don’t typically serve as photography subjects. So, break out a map or use the Internet to discover some lesser-known locales around town, and then head off with your camera to see what you can find. The more unusual, the better!

EXERCISE #2: While In Between

The challenge — Capture the beauty of travel

The thought of travel evokes a certain kind of visual aesthetic, which is something Lauren Randolph and Michael Schulz know better than anyone. Together, they created an Instagram account dedicated to sharing photos that capture a sense of being “in between.”

Take a look at the While In Between feed, and challenge yourself to take photos that emulate this sense of travel limbo. Once you have a few snaps, share your results on Instagram using #whileinbetween!

EXERCISE #3: It’s Geometrical, My Dear

The challenge — Search for patterns in the world around you

Geometry may have been just a class in high school for most of us, but it’s time to break out those protractors again (okay, not really!) and use some of those ancient principles in your photography. Brush up on different elements of geometry, and then get going with your camera. Search for symmetry, leading lines, patterns, and shapes in the world around you. Bet you didn’t realize you’d be utilizing math again!

EXERCISE #4: Everyday Objects

The challenge — See common items in a new light

When we’re out with our cameras, it’s all too easy to look past the objects we see every single day. Chairs, writing utensils, signs, cars, items for sale, even people — dare yourself to notice the subjects you might otherwise overlook. Observe how they add to the area you’re photographing, and try to capture that in your images.

Photo by Lisa Weatherbee
Photo by Lisa Weatherbee

EXERCISE #5: It’s a black-and-white world

The challenge — Create compelling images in shades of gray

Though black-and-white photos used to be a photographer’s only option, nowadays, we tend to rely on dominating pops of color or color schemes in our pictures. Get back to the good ol’ days by shooting in black-and-white. The lack of color will present a new challenge, for without color, you’ll be forced to utilize other compelling elements in your shots.

Photo by Briana Moore