10 Photography Assignments to Stimulate Your Creativity

This article will provide you with 10 photography self-assignments that you can use to get your own creative juices flowing. They are designed to help you grow in skill as a well-rounded photographer while helping you build your portfolio at the same time. Many of these projects are best executed over a period of time, rather than in a single session.

park bench photo

“Waiting” captured by Jack Nobre (Click Image to See More From Jack Nobre)

1. The Park Bench. Take your camera and a tripod to a park, and find a busy park bench. Set yourself up some distance away with a long lens aimed at the bench and pre-focused. Settle in, and for the next few hours, take images at fixed time intervals, say every ten minutes. This is really an exercise in time lapse photography. I think the resulting images would make a fun photo essay. The setting stays the same, but the subjects change at random.

2. Evolution of Construction. Find a nearby construction site, and take a picture every day. If you choose the same vantage point each time, you’ll end up with a series of images that show the building in progressive stages of completion.

3. Through the Seasons. This exercise is similar to number two, but is best done in a less urban environment, and over a longer period of time. Find a landscape that you can shoot in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. The works especially well if you live in a place that receives snow in Winter, and where the leaves on the trees turn colour in the Autumn.

4. Self Portrait. The concept of this is simple: take a picture of yourself every day. It helps to use a tripod and shutter release, rather than limiting yourself by trying to shoot with the camera at arm’s length. You are the most patient subject you could ever work with, so use this to your advantage. Get creative, overact, dress up, and use props. You decide how you want to show yourself to the world! If you do an internet search on this topic, you’ll find related Flickr and Twitter groups, where you can share your images.

self portrait

“self portrait” captured by shovona karmakar (click image to see more from shovona karmakar)

5. A Day in the Life of… This is a great project to document a particular occupation. For example, you could take photographs of a nurse at work to show all the various aspects of his or her job. It may take you more than one day of shooting to capture a representative set of images.

6. Get to Know Your Neighborhood. So often, we never really take a good look at our own neighbourhood. Make it a point to walk around, and shoot ten images of the area where you live. Do this once a month, or even once a week, if you really get inspired.

7. Color Challenge. This is a fun challenge for an urban environment. Take you camera downtown, and give yourself a few hours to take pictures. Choose a colour (or for added challenge, have a friend pick the colour for you), and shoot only objects of that colour. By the end of the session, you’ll be surprised how that colour jumps out at you! When you’re finished, it’s great to take your best images and assemble them into a collage or mosaic. This is something that can be done in Adobe Photoshop.

8. A Collection of “Somethings.” Whenever you’re out, carry your camera, and be on the lookout for whatever “something” you choose. It could be feet, garbage cans, vegetables that look like faces, bicycles – you name it! Get creative, and pick a theme that you don’t usually see in pictures.

tips for creative photos

“construction pipes” captured by Lisa (Click Image to See More From Lisa)

9. Pet’s Eye View. Pretend that you are your pet. How would you see the world if you were a dog? A hamster? Shoot a series images from the perspective of your pet’s eye level.

10. After Dark. We don’t always think to take our cameras out at night. Try shooting after dark. If you’re in the country, you can shoot moonlight or star trails. In the city, you can shoot vehicles’ tail-light trails or downtown buildings. Wherever you are, you can try light-painting – using a long exposure, and moving a flashlight over parts of the scene.

Hope these ideas inspire you to get out there and start shooting!

About the Author
Julie Waterhouse writes for Ultimate Photo Tips, which provides friendly education and encouragement for photo enthusiasts around the world, presented in a way that’s clear, organized, and easy to understand (ultimate-photo-tips.com). Whether you’re looking for the answer to a specific question, or just want to explore and learn.

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38 Comments

  1. Wayne says:

    Hi Julie

    Love your article. I am a photography teacher and stimulating creativity is my focus. Once my students are creative they can learn the fundamentals. I have had 50 something men taking amazing photos in a matter of hours by just stimulating their creativity and getting them to see outside the box.

    Again, great article.

  2. bob bretell says:

    Thanks for sharing, Julie. We all need sparks of inspiration from time to time. That’s what keeps it fun.

  3. Patty says:

    Awesome ideas. I have a couple of friends who want to start foto assignments, but were a bit unsure of what ideas to begin with. Gracias!

  4. Look at my ~Mobile~ website for my photography!
    Another good Idea is

    ~Bugs point of view~

    Use a camera with a good macro and with good MP. Take photos from the ground at plants and small objects. try to go underthe level of grass to really seem like a bugs view. Its great to add fisheye lens sometimes to. Certian filters can let you also do tiled effects. A combination of tile effects and fish eye lens (Or filter) is a great way to get a bee or flys view.

    Hope my idea helps :)

  5. Leanne says:

    Great tips! I’m going to try a few of these, thanks!
    I really like the “collection of something’s” I think that would be interesting series!

  6. Hatem Kotb says:

    Loved the article, i’ll try some stuff out hopefully :)

  7. Jack Nobre says:

    awesome article, thanks for using my image, I really appreciate it :)

  8. DaniLew says:

    Insightful article with a couple of great ideas not mentioned in other articles I’ve read on the same topic. Thanks!

  9. mukesh says:

    Good idea. Thanks for the common tips which can make wonders.

  10. Caleb says:

    Thank you so much for this article! Awesome read, it really got me thinking!

  11. Ntsako Nkuna says:

    Wow.Thanks for the tips really helped me get out of the rut I’m in,Imma definitely try some of these to spice up my photography,Really like ‘colour challenge’

  12. Jakub says:

    I put together a site with the old daily photo assignments – it’s handy if you are trying to shoot every day and don’t have an idea what to do – http://photographyassignments.org/.

  13. anonymos says:

    nice very useful

  14. Karina says:

    I like the ideas, they all seem interesting but the A Day in the Life of seems really interesting and that it will make a great photo essay.

  15. krystal says:

    There are some really nice ideas that work for a photo essay, they seem really fun to do. i will want to try a collection of something or color challenge.

  16. maio says:

    this are some amazing tips i did not know that you can do this we different things you see around your neighborhood.

  17. Elisha says:

    very interesting , i like it .

  18. roberto says:

    i really like the ideas for the photo essays

  19. yesenia says:

    These are very interesting ideas for a photo essay. The color challenge and Pet’s Eye View are the ones that caught my attention and would want to try to do them.

  20. Evelyn says:

    i really enjoyed these ideas for photo essays. I like the idea of “A Day in The Life of..” it shows their day and the process of their day.

  21. Barb says:

    What a helpful article!
    I’ve been in photography for about 10 years and lately I haven’t felt inspired, this really motivates me to keep going!

    Thank you so much! :)

    -B.

  22. Drake says:

    Thank you, ill be sure to uses these tips next time i go out to take picture.

  23. Javier Fernandez says:

    What a helpful article i will be sure to use these tips positively.

  24. Selena says:

    Very interesting article.
    Cant wait to start shooting after dark, what a good idea. The day in the life is going to be very fun to shoot as well. Thanks for the great ideas!
    – SP

  25. taise t says:

    This was a very cool idea, you should do more things like these :)

  26. Gaston F says:

    This article helped me a lot and it will help become a better photographer.

  27. Erik G.-H. says:

    I really enjoyed and found helpful this article.

    In particular I found really cool the park bench and through the season helpful tips.
    In the park bench tip I found it really creative this is really an exceptional tip in time lapse photography. I think the resulting images would make a fun photo essay and I like that the setting stays the same, but the subjects change at random. The through the season tips are really helpful, because i have the perfect park to try this tip out. I like how cool this would look if you live in a place that receives snow in Winter, and where the leaves on the trees turn color in the Autumn, but sadly no snow falls in my city.

  28. Lisandro Jimenez says:

    Of the ten photography assignments, 5,6, and 9 are really interesting, I’ve heard of worm’s eye view and bird’s eye view but I have never heard of pet’s eye view, a really interesting concept since I’ve never seen to many pet’s eye view, might inspire me to start this assignment at home.

  29. Daniel S says:

    That was a good read and I learned a lot of new techniques. I found the pet’s eye one to be the most interesting. But i feel that some of these take up to much of your time. Still they can be good if you have the patience.

    • Jaenalyn says:

      This article helped me get a little bit of creative juices flowing. I will for sure use these tips to help me with my pictures. One of the helpful tips I like is the ” Get to Know Your Neighborhood.” I think this is a good idea to just look around in your neighborhood and you do not know what you will fine. So often, we never really take a good look at our own neighborhood. I can shoot images of the area and so much more.

  30. Will R says:

    I really like your 10 assignment suggestions. My favorite one of the 10 is the Color Challenge and i am looking forward to trying it myself and making a collage of all one color.

  31. Guillermo Jimenez says:

    These pointers have really helped me out and I am really looking forward to actually applying them to any future assignment where they would be useful.

  32. Guillermo Jimenez says:

    I really enjoyed the help this article supplies.

    These pointers have really helped me out and I am really looking forward to actually applying them to any future assignment where they would be useful.

  33. Denise Tinoco says:

    I really feel like i learned a lot from this article, my favorite was ” A collection of ‘somethings’ ” because i just loved the way it looked and i feel like i could take a lot of good pictures like that with flowers or something.

  34. Tommy Revelez says:

    I found the color challenge and the pet’s eye view to be the most interesting. I look forward to trying both of these the next time I am out walking or at home with my dog.

  35. Isaiah Flores says:

    I really enjoyed reading about the Color Challenge. I think it’s interesting to see how many photos I could take of the same color. I will be sure to try this experiment very soon.

  36. Rebecca says:

    I really like all of your assignment suggestions. My favorite one was the park bench. In the park bench tip I found it really creative this is really an exceptional tip in time lapse photography. I think the resulting images would make a fun photo essay and I like that the setting stays the same, but the subjects change at random. The through the season tips are really helpful, because i have the perfect park to try this tip out. but i wish i had snow where i lived.

  37. Gregorio S says:

    These are all very interesting ideas for a photo essay. Some of the challenges that got my attentions are color challenge and Pet’s Eye View are the ones that caught my attention the most .The challenge am going to try will be the “The Color Challenge”.This is very interesting because it would be great to shot in different colors ,this would be great because images look so different when when shooting them .

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