There are several photo challenges as we start the New Year and they all can help you take better photos. Then main way is that you are actually taking pictures!
- Let’s start with a very popular 365 photo challenge. You commit to taking a photo each and every day of the year. It’s a marathon, but it will help you think about what to take pictures of and help you to see the beauty in everyday objects, people, and situations that you might otherwise pass by without noticing. By using your camera every day you get more comfortable with it. You might even get daring and experiment with some of the modes or even go manual! I heard a great tip for this challenge, go a month at a time. Get through 30 days, that is enough time to form a habit. Then go for the next 30 days. Even if you fall short of 365 photos, you will have a good amount of pictures that you might not have taken otherwise. When you do make it the whole year through, you will have a fabulous retrospective of that year in your life. You will hopefully have learned more about photography and your camera as well. Now some of you may be saying that it’s already too late to start for this year! Don’t worry, start now and go forward. You will just end a little later or be just shy of the 365. That will still be a great accomplishment you can treasure.
- Some people want to wade in and jog rather than run the marathon right off the bat. For those we have a photo a week. We drop from 365 to just 52 photos. I tried this last year and bailed because I would forget to take a picture each week. I took more than 52 photos last year, but this challenge is again about a disciplined approach to taking photos that will help you see better as you are looking for things to photograph. There are websites that offer this challenge that suggest a subject each week. That can be a great way to go as you have someone else thinking of things for you to take pictures of. They often give you a place to post your photos and see what other people are doing as well.
- Another challenge is color. Take a week and look for a specific color to photograph each day. Go through the rainbow and see what a colorful world we live in.
- Photograph a Day in the Life of your family, a loved one or you! Photo all the activities, events, achievements, the little things, the everyday things for a day. Do this once a week or once a month for the year. You can follow the same person each time or take turns and cover the whole family throughout the year.
- Use the Alphabet as your guide for what to photograph. You can go from A to Z each month or pick a letter to focus on each week.
- The last challenge requires you to take a ton of photos, but only keep 5% of them! This one helps train your eye by looking through all the pictures you take and only keeping 5 out of 100. Just the best 5 photos for every 100 you shoot. That means you will need to take a lot of photos to start with, but I’ve found that I take less now because I am setting up my shot and get the good shot more often. I still delete many photos, especially sports, but this helps with the overload of photos we take. You usually only need a few photos to tell the story. Why not only keep the great shots? You can also use this with some of the other challenges above.
In this digital age it is so easy to be overwhelmed with all the photos we take, to the point of devaluing our photos. Why take a photo challenge? Because ultimately it will help you think more about what you are photographing and help you take pictures which capture the stories that are important to you. Isn’t that why we take pictures? This year make one of your goals to take better pictures by taking photos in a disciplined way. Not all your photos need to be done this way, but you will be surprised at how you will find the pictures you take getting better at telling your story in a way you will want to share with others.
Let us know if you do a photo challenge this year and how you are doing as the year goes on. If there are other photo challenges that you know of, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below!