How may times have you woke up, and had a complete blank on what to go out and photograph? You know, you have a deep desire to go out, and take award winning photographs, but, of what? What do you do? Where do go? These are valid questions to ask yourself.
One of the first things you can do is ask yourself, “What do I like to photograph?” This at least will give you an idea for today. Though, you may be burned out from photographing that subject. Another approach, is to have a list of “Projects” that take time to fulfill, like finding the abandoned buildings in your area, and documenting them. This may take a few months, and will allow you time for other photographic opportunities that require a tighter time frame to complete.
The thing about having “Projects” is that you can have several going on at the same time. That is, you can concentrate on one at a time, or, as you are out and about with your camera, you can take a few photos from a another project than the one you are working on, if, you find an opportunity. Projects can help you focus and keep on topic when you are out.
A genre can be a project, Flowers, Abandoned Buildings, Birds, Shadow Play, Stairs, Doors, Faces on the Street, Funny Signs, Old Trees, Old Church buildings. A project can also be a study on anything, Maybe different architecture styles in the downtown city area, for instance. In Indianapolis, there at least 4 different kinds of architecture.
Many times, a project can help you learn a subject more fully. By coming back at different times of day, photographing with different lenses, and or different angles. You’ll explore your Projects subject more closely, and be able to have photographs that have more impact, and meaning for the final viewer.
Another benefit will be that you will get more experience in photographing different subjects, and that will help build your portfolio. A good cataloging/tagging system will help keep track of your Projects. Or, at least a Folder/Sub-folder system for each Project. Naming the Main Folder with the Projects Subject, and the sub-folders with date/place/camera-lens as a reminder at least of when/where/equipment, so it can jog your memory of what is in the folder.
Many times, you’ll want to go out with one Project in mind, and that will help you select the right gear for that Project. No need to bring all your gear every time you go out. You should know enough about your gear and the subject to bring what you need. Example: if I go downtown to do some street photography, I’ll bring one camera, and a wide angle lens. I won’t bring my Nikon 100-300mm f/5.6 for street photography. I may bring my 55mm Micro Nikkor or a my Canon FL 50mm f/1.4 for a short telephoto on my Olympus OMD E-M5, But, I typically like 24mm to 40mm field of view. Or I may shoot film, and bring my Nikon FE with a Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 AiS… Lovely combination, loaded with Ilford HP5 rated at 200 usually .