LESSON 17: 5 More Exercises

It’s way too easy to fall into a routine with your photography. And while routine may be good for certain things in life, we often need to experiment and think outside the box when it comes to our creative endeavors.

For any photographer looking to spice things up, look no further than this list of five creative exercises.

EXERCISE #1: Feel the Photo

The challenge — Capture the textures in the world around you

Touch is one of the most important of the five senses, but it’s also one of the hardest to capture in your images. Since your viewers can’t physically feel the subject matter in your photos, try to evoke the idea of touch, instead. Be on the lookout for the various textures — rough tree bark, smooth tiles on a wall, a sandy landscape — and try to highlight them in your images

For a bit of inspiration, check out Ynon Lan’s stop-motion video, featuring the textures of New York City.

EXERCISE #2: So Good You Could Eat It

The challenge — Find an appetizing way to photograph your food

Food can be one of the most difficult things to capture, which makes it an apt challenge for anyone struggling to get inventive with their work. Learn a bit about this type of photography, and then make a point to snap a few shots of whatever you’re eating. Give it a go with each of your daily meals, or head to a local market or grocery store to photograph fresh produce and other yummy items. If you’re particularly tall, or unafraid to look ridiculous and stand on your chair, try your hand at a flat-lay photography.

Photo by Karla DeCastro
Photo by Davina Tan

EXERCISE #3: Front and Center

The challenge — Photograph the facades of buildings in your neighborhood

A neighborhood’s atmosphere is often determined by the style of its structures. So why not take a walk around the block and aim your camera at the facades of the buildings, cafés, and shops along the way? Stay on the lookout for stride-bys, interesting architecture, and funky displays. Have fun and be sure to adjust your camera settings according to the time of day.

EXERCISE #4: A Pop of Color

The challenge — Highlight a single color of the rainbow

Whether you’re drawn to the Earthy green, spunky orange, or calming blue, pick one basic color and stick with it for the sake of this exercise. Challenge yourself to spot that particular color wherever you, and photograph it in clever ways. You’ll be surprised by just how colorful the world can be.

For a bit of inspiration, check out Anne McIsaac’s account. She has a knack for finding a certain bright, sunny color.

EXERCISE #5: Theme is King

The challenge — Pick a theme and get creative

For a more interesting test, choose a theme and come up with various ways to communicate it through your photos. Consider the following themes as a starting point, but feel free to come up with your own as well: the passage of time, day and night, happiness (or another emotion of your choosing), opposites, reflection, or movement.

This exercise is a bit difficult because it doesn’t deal with a specific type of photography or subject matter, but that makes it all the more beneficial for your creativity!