Creative Photography Project
Like many of you, I’ve been self-isolating since mid-March. In the beginning, I felt completely overwhelmed by everything that was going on and how quickly the situation kept changing.
I was glued to my laptop checking different news sources because I wanted to stay informed. At the same time, all this information left me bewildered.
We are living in a new reality and the contour of what that’s gonna be like is starting to surface. We’re all settling in the ‘new normal’.
Whenever I feel lost, I pick up my camera and start to photograph. The simple act of picking up my camera in the midst of what feels like chaos creates a little overwhelm free island of time. I’m focused on creating something and when I’m photographing there’s not much else that can enter my mind.
It’s what I call the mindful nature of photography.
I believe a meaningful answer in a time when things seem to fall apart is to Make. The best antidote to loss is to create something new.
To keep the overwhelm at bay (mine and others) I hosted a StayHomeatPhotographyPlayground photography challenge in my Facebook Group. For 21 days, I posted a photo prompt in the group and members could share their pictures for the prompt.
It was a wonderful experience to be on a treasure hunt together. You see, I know that no matter what’s going on in the world there are always treasures to be found and photographed.
Creative Photography Project
The last prompt was more of a photography project. A famous photography project even. It’s a brilliant creative exercise for when your creatively stuck or when you just want to photograph but ran out of creative ideas. And I’d love to share this creative photography project with you.
Keep reading and I’ll walk you through the whole process.
It’s the 9 (or 10) different photos of the same object project. Maybe you’ve heard of it before or maybe it’s a completely new concept to you. No matter what now is the time to go for this awesome photo project. Let’s get creative with the same object and discover as many different photos as we can.
I like to make 9 different pics because then I can display them in a grid should I want to. But 10 is also used quite often. Whatever you decide, commit to a number before you start.
The thing with this exercise is that the magic starts to happen after the first few images. Your first 3 to 4 photography ideas will be sort of obvious. It’s after you went through those first ideas that you’ll start to tap into the more unique and imaginative ideas. So, don’t stop after the first 3 to 4 photos! Keep going until you have at least 9 different ones.
I’ll give you a few photography tips and project ideas to get you started but not to much because that would be beside the point of this photo project. Which is to get your creative juices flowing!
#1 Choose Your Object
There’s an infinite choice obviously but you should limit yourself to something small. It’s best if it’s something you can play around with. It’s also great if it’s something you can alter like unpack or cut open or even cook.
The classic choice is an egg. But fruit or a vegetable works great as well. If you wanna take this one step further you can even choose an object you can break or bend.
I decided on small, off-white meringues in see-through packaging.
#2 Play With Light
After you’ve decided on the object the first thing you can do is to play with light. Observe where the light is coming from and move your object to places with different lighting conditions. Assuming you’re doing this photography project at home the best light source is window light.
Click here to find out more about natural light photography.
I did my entire shoot in the kitchen of the house I’m staying during the lockdown in Portugal. From the moment I entered the kitchen, I fell in love with the light. And I ended up making a lot of the photographs I used for the Stay Home Challenge with the light coming from the kitchen window.
#3 Explore Different Angles
Once you’ve found the best natural light spot in the house you can start to explore different points of view of your object.
You can come close and photograph a small part of the object, you can turn the object upside down or rotate it so you can photograph it from different angles, you can shoot it from above or from further away.
This is an entire photography project in itself. Try to make as many different pictures as you can. You can pick the best ones later in the editing phase.
I photographed a part of the object, the top part to be precise because I liked the fragility of it. And I also photographed it from above.
#4 Discover Different Backgrounds
Usually, when people are photographing they’re completely focussed on the subject. Or object in this case. But the background is just as important.
Backgrounds can be minimalistic or overcrowded and everything in between. Making sure the background is an addition to your picture is an essential step in improving them.
You can use this photography project to practice with a variety of backgrounds and what they do to the overall impression of your photos. You’ll discover that the background is vital in telling a story.
The photo of the bag of meringues in front of the window gives it a completely different vibe. I exposed for the area outside making the bag of meringues almost a silhouette. By doing that the houses outside attract more attention than the bag of meringues itself.
#5 Create Different Arrangements
So far you’ve explored some typical photographic elements. Light, point of view, and background. Let’s move on to what you can do with the object itself.
Now it pays off if you chose an object you can unpack like a box of cookies or eggs or a bag of meringues like I did. This opens up a lot of new possibilities.
I opened up the bag and spread the meringues out on the countertop. By including the bag it becomes the kind of photo you’d find in a cookbook. It’s an illustrative photo that mostly conveys a mood. The same is true for the photo of the meringues in the blue bowl.
#6 Take it Out of Context
Now here’s where the creative fun really starts. This is the moment you need to let your imagination run wild. Just follow your creative impulses and go with whatever brainwave enters your mind.
In one photo I meticulously arranged the meringues next to each other on the window-sill. One of the things that happen is that the scale is lost and they become more of a sculpture than a meringue. You can also clearly see that each meringue has a slightly different shape. In another photo, I put them in a tea candle holder taking it completely out of context. But the shape and size of the meringues reminded me of tea lights. So, there you go.
#7 Alter its State
If you chose something edible you can cut it open or even cook. And if you decided on something breakable like an old cup or a bottle please be careful first and have fun secondly.
For my creative photography project, I took a knife and sliced one meringue as if it were an onion. Not only did I alter its state I also took it out of context again.
The most important thing with this classic photography project is that there are no rules. You’re totally free to do whatever you want.
If you want you can impose some rules for yourself if that gets your creative juices flowing more abundantly. Quite often restricting yourself can expand your creativity. For instance, I restricted myself in shooting in the kitchen and with one lens only.
Have fun and if you want you can share your results in the Facebook Group!