Fun Photography Projects for the Bored Photographer

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Shooting the same projects and ideas regularly can become stale. One way to find creative inspiration is by browsing through Flickr and the work of other photographers. If you're still craving a sip of those creative juices, here's a quick list of some alternative project ideas that you may not have worked on.


Light Painting

Light painting blends shooting long exposures with using a flashlight or lighting object of some sort to create art using the world as your canvas. You'll need a manual shutter speed camera, a flashlight (my favorite are glow sticks) and a very dark area. This project is best done at night because of obvious lack-of-lighting issues.

Set the camera to a long shutter speed (four seconds or longer are recommended) and close your aperture down to F/22 for best results. For better control, you may want to shoot at your lowest ISO setting. Additionally, have your camera mounted on a tripod or a very flat, stable surface. Before you shoot, it is recommended that you set your camera's shooting mode to delay or use a wireless shutter release.

When the camera is taking a picture, go ahead and create your work of art using the light. The camera will pick up the light trails and record them onto the image. Remember that if you're writing text you'll have to write it out backwards.

If you need a longer exposure, set your camera to bulb mode—in which case you'll really need the wireless remotes.

Bonus Fact: Light painting in public has been affectionately called, "Light Graffiti"

Shooting Blind

Shooting a photo without looking into the viewfinder or the LCD screen can sometimes yield interesting results. While doing this, put the camera in different angles. Shoot high, shoot low, shoot waist level or shoot from your shoulder. The different perspective will give you photos that are more unconventional when looking at the rest of your work. 

Eventually, your mind will start to be able to predict what the image will look like. As a further tip, the hyperfocal length shooting style can make this much easier.

Creating a Mosaic

Photo by Caffeineslinger

Using your photos to create a mosaic of some sort is always a long project that rewards the user with very interesting results. This is a photo adventure that will require planning and mapping. First, you need to figure out what you want to create. After this, you'll need to nail down what colors will go in the according places in the mosaic.

Now you'll need to place your photos in the areas where those colors take over most of the mosaic. For example: do you have a black area of your masterpiece? In that case you can use some photos you shot of the stars from your astrophotography projects.

Portraits Without Showing a Face

Image by Yume

When looking at a photo, human beings are naturally drawn to the eyes and face. However, volumes can be spoken about a person just by reading their body language. Try to shoot a portrait by not showing a person's facial expressions or eyes. Instead, try to convey the emotions, feelings, and personality using other elements in your photo.

For example, this can be done with an environmental portrait of a rock musician with his face in darkness, but with the guitar slung around his torso and a microphone in front of him. Maybe he's got some tattoos that say something about him.

Cross Processing

You know that, "Polaroid look" that everyone seems to go crazy for? Don't do it using an app or an in-camera effect. Instead, try to do it in Photoshop. Can't afford Photoshop? It's almost the same process in Photoshop Elements.

It's called cross processing and it can be accomplished through the layers tool and using various gradients. These gradients also allow you to choose warmer or cooler colors. The reason why you should do it in a program like Photoshop is because it gives you the ability to get a more natural cross process look to the photos.

What projects do you work on when bored?

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Cross processing can be done with film too you know... doh.....

beggarsbanquet wrote:

Cross processing can be done with film too you know... doh.....

You are indeed correct. However, this article is targeted towards digital photographers. This is why earlier on in the piece we mention setting your camera to its lowest ISO setting and why we reference use of an LCD screen.

beggarsbanquet wrote:

Cross processing can be done with film too you know... doh.....

Then shouldn't the title be ....bored digital photographer? 

FWIW - real photographers don't get bored.  

 Is that a blind person panhandling in that snapshot under 'shooting blind'? 

agreed, you dont get bored you get creative.

Shoot something challenging that you can learn from.

White vase on white background, black vase on black background to teach you how to sculpt and work with light.

Pick up something on the ground and shoot it!

I keep a binder of shot ideas that I pull from when I want to shoot but dont know what to shoot.

Thanks for the info Chris.

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