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38 ideas for photo projects: inspiration and creativity all year round.

1. Drops of water

The essence of the idea of this project is to capture the drop of water droplets. To do this, you need a container with liquid that will seep through a small hole. Good results can be achieved using shutter synchronization and two flashes at low power (1/128), aperture F / 22. In this case, a thickener should be dissolved in water for a higher viscosity. Experiment with the frequency and size of the droplets.

2. Objects falling into water

For this project you will need a flash that can be controlled remotely, a transparent vessel with water, a background and a tripod. Set the background behind the container over which the flash is attached. Lock the camera on a tripod, switch to manual focus mode, select F / 8 aperture, ISO 200 sensitivity and maximum shutter speed that syncs with the flash. Release the object into the water and shoot how it falls.

3. Smoke patterns

Smoke photography remains among the favorite topics of still lifes. To create a creative project based on it, use Photoshop. First, take a series of good shots with smoke patterns, and then do post-image processing. Set the blending mode and use the Warp Transform tool in Photoshop to warp the images. Combine different shots with smoke in a new and interesting way.

4. Cross (double) polarization

An interesting project will turn out if you use the effect that polarized light has on plastic. You will need two polarizing filters - ideally, one of them should be a sheet film with a polarization coating of A4 format. Place the film sheet in front of the lightbox or on a single light source. The screens of the iPad and most computers contain built-in polarizing filters, so if there is no sheet of polarizing film, some photographers use polarizing filters from old disassembled screens. Attach a circular polarizing filter to the camera lens and rotate it to experiment with the colors appearing on transparent plastic objects (rulers, small souvenirs, CD cases, etc.).

5. Edible landscapes

Make food your subject! Here you will need toy figures of people and / or animals and an idea for the plot. The main thing is to put a narrative scene in the frame and use a lot of various products that may look like potential landscapes.

6. Fine art photography and food

A lightbox and a very sharp knife will help create photo art from the ingredients for cooking dinner. Cut fruits and vegetables as thin as possible, spread them evenly, and then place them in a lightbox. Position the camera directly above the subject and use the Live View mode to manually focus on details. Set the aperture F / 8 for the appropriate depth of field and exposure compensation from +1 to +3, as bright light can “deceive” the camera’s metering and underexpose the frame.

7. Flowers in ice

This is a relatively inexpensive way to create close-up picture pictures. Freeze flowers in plastic containers with distilled or deionized water (found in car or hardware stores). Flowers will pop up, so try to fix them so that they freeze under water. Remove a piece of ice and place it on a transparent glass or on a white plate so that light can be reflected from below. Position the flash, pointing it at an angle down, and shoot from the opposite side.
Flowers frozen in ice look like watercolor paintings.

8. Oil abstractions on water

Oil floating on the surface of the water is a great way to create vibrant abstractions. The project is literally desktop. All you have to do is place a few drops of vegetable oil on the surface of the water in a glass bowl, under which put colored paper. Use a flashlight, lamp or flash to highlight paper.

9. Oil reflections

This project is similar to the previous one, but here for the patterns do not use a colored background. Cover the lamp with a white card, using masking tape to attach it, but make sure it does not touch the lamp. Place a full bucket of water in front of the lamp, add a few drops of vegetable oil to it. Stir it, get closer and take it off.

10. Psychedelic soap abstractions

This simple idea will help you create vibrant and original desktop wallpapers or abstract screensavers. You will need a liquid soap mixed with glycerin, a background cloth and a macro lens. The colors that form on the soap film appear only when light comes in at a certain angle, so it’s advisable to arrange shooting by the window at about an angle of 45 degrees.

11. The art of refraction

Light is refracted by passing through the water, and the objects behind the water vessels look deformed. This phenomenon can be used in the next art photo project. All you need is a few glasses, a flash, a tripod and a picture with a black and white pattern, which you place in the background. Fill the glasses with different amounts of water and move the pattern forward / backward to adjust the effect.

12. Kitchen close-up

Your kitchen is the perfect place to take a macro photo project. Reflecting surfaces can turn into an interesting background for your shots, and a shallow depth of field will transform even the most ordinary objects. Create a triptych in the photo from any objects in the kitchen. Take each photograph separately at the same angle and from the same distance, combine them into one image.

13. Still life with bokeh

Something as simple as a crumpled foil can be the basis for a creative photo project. Set your subjects on glass, under which lay a piece of dark material. Crumple the foil, and then flatten it and place it in the background. Direct the light from a desk lamp or a flashlight onto the foil, mount the camera on a tripod, select the wide aperture of the lens, light up the scene and shoot a creative still life.

14. Bokeh and small luminous bubbles

Garlands are excellent for this project, which, when in a defocused area, often create interesting creative bokeh. Position them far enough so that they lie out of focus with a wide aperture. Place an object, in our case a glass, closer to the camera and focus on it. Correct the position of the colored lights from the garland until they “float” out of the glass. This method can be used to create bokeh by removing a cup of steam from a hot drink.

15. Still life with paths of light

Light trails can be used in all types of photography, and they are ideal for creative still-life photography. To do this, you need a regular flashlight, but try removing its top to get direct light from the bulb, on top of which you can attach colored paper with insulation tape. Set the shutter speed in the camera to 30 seconds with an aperture of about F / 8. Start moving the light of the flashlight in the frame until you press the shutter button, continue moving throughout the exposure. For example, in a circular motion, you can create a luminous spiral in the picture around the bottle.

16. The spirals of light

It is necessary to direct the flashlight into the open space of the ceiling. Mount your widest-angle lens on the camera, lock it on a tripod, turning straight up. Focus on the beam of the flashlight and set the lens to manual focus. With aperture from F / 11 to F / 16, select the Bulb mode and use the remote release, keep the shutter open for a minute or so to capture the rotation of light in the dark ...

17. Portraits with the Brenizer effect (bokorama, bokepanorama)

This project is based on a portrait shoot using the Brenizer method, also known as “bokorama” and “bokepanorama”. He was invented by a wedding photographer from New York, Ryan Brenizer. This technique allows you to create photos that seem to have been taken with a wider maximum aperture lens. The idea is that you take many pictures in different parts of the scene at the maximum aperture of the telephoto lens, and then glue them together in a mosaic using the Photomerge tool (Photoshop) or a special stitching program.

Take each shot using manual settings - from white balance to focus. Try to shoot somewhere between 30-80 frames, and then stack the images so that each subsequent frame overlaps the previous one by about a third (or at least 20%).

18. Wrong lens for the right scene.

Choose a lens that you usually don’t use to shoot a particular subject. For example, take a wide-angle for photographing at the zoo or limit yourself to a telephoto lens for shooting landscapes.

19. Deconstruction of landscapes

Try to take a fresh look at the landscapes, creating compositions from several fragments of individual shots taken during a short walk. Use your usual photo kit with simple settings without a tripod and filters. Shoot anything that catches your eye in aperture priority mode. When you get home, collect your images from different frames using the grid in Photoshop.

20. Minimalist landscapes

Take a series of minimalist landscapes with long exposures. Symmetrical composition can emphasize the simplicity of the frame, as well as a square frame. You also need a neutral density filter (ND filter), which will give you the flexibility to shoot with slow shutter speeds at any time of the day. Use a tripod to securely lock the camera and use the remote shutter release.

21. Landscapes and starlight

You will need a completely clear sky. Best if the moon is not it will be seen, because it makes it difficult to shoot parts in the sky. Use manual mode, set high ISO 1600-3200, shutter speed in two seconds and wide aperture F / 4 or even F / 2.8. At the same time, it is almost impossible to focus on the object in the foreground and capture the stars in the sky in one frame. Take two pictures, in one of them aim at the celestial bodies, and in the other, focus on the foreground object, then combine both frames in Photoshop.

22. Take a picture of an uninteresting

Make a list of places or objects that you find boring, dreary, ugly, or annoying. Now try to make beautiful and interesting photos with these non-photogenic objects.

23. Abstractions in car parking

You do not have to travel far or wander for a long time in the open air to remove material for a photo project. Almost everywhere there are shooting opportunities - even in the parking lot. All you need is a SLR camera with standard zoom. Look for patterns in the markings on the asphalt, in texture, colors and shapes.

24. Selective color

Apply a selective color to highlight the subject in the photo. Decide on color and find examples in the environment. You do not need to fill out the frame; use composition composition methods to draw attention to the object in the picture.

25. Night photography

In this project, you challenge yourself using only affordable light and high ISO values. Shooting should be carried out outdoors at night without a flash, with a slow shutter speed and preferably with a tripod.

26. Optical illusions

In this project, use the perspective to play with the perception of the audience based on the ratio of different sized objects in the picture. Take a picture of someone interacting with a much larger subject, which is actually in the background in the distance. Select a small aperture to provide greater depth of field, this will enhance the effect.

27. Small world

Photographing miniature toys and models in a real environment is becoming an increasingly popular topic for a photo project, the creation of which can easily fit in one working day. Try to take a small object and photograph it in a number of different situations. To mix it with the rest of the models in the scene, focus on your subject from close range and balance the lighting, you can use the flash.

28. Alternative recreation of the tilt shift effect

The Toytown effect, which you can get using an expensive tilt-shift lens, is available by an alternative method. You can achieve a similar result in Photoshop by blurring the entire image except for a small area. For greater conviction, shoot a scene from an elevation on a sunny day.

29. All letters of the alphabet

Instead of just photo-engraving the letters in the alphabet, find objects and shapes in the environment that resemble letters. For example, road markings, horizontal bars, furniture and other objects that, when viewed from a certain angle, resemble letters.

30. Figures

This project is similar to the previous one with letters, only this time we offer to search and photograph objects that illustrate numbers from 1 to 100.

31. Persons where they are not

This is a fun idea that will also contribute to the development of the imagination. Practice your eyes in finding "faces" randomly formed by a combination of household items, plexus of tree branches, on the manhole cover.

32. Light orbits

Light painting offers many opportunities for creative photo projects. Test your strength in a series of shots of "luminous orbits." A hula hoop with LED lights wrapped around it is ideal. Just unwind the hoop in front of the camera mounted on a tripod. If you don’t have an assistant, use the shutter self-timer and start spinning the hula hoop before starting the exposure.

33. Steel, wool and fire

This is a night photo project that needs to be organized in an open space away from flammable objects. Wrap one end of the metal wire with woolen threads, set fire to the wool and untwist the “torch”. To do this, you need a bold volunteer, tripod, shutter speed of 15 seconds, aperture F / 11 and ISO 100.
Playing with fire. We photograph sparks of burning wool.

34. Alternative car trails

It’s like a photo with light paths, only it should be taken from a moving car at night. Let your friend sit behind the wheel and drive slowly along a well-lit road. And you settle down in the passenger seat, fix the camera on a tripod, set the exposure for about 30 seconds and use the remote shutter.

35. Intentional errors

Make a list of common photographic mistakes, and then see how you can get creative shots by taking each one. Overexpose or darken the image, crop the frame against the rules of composition, focus on the background instead of the object in the foreground, or intentionally include glare in the frame.

36. Cinematography

Make a series of animated GIFs illustrating the movement. This technique requires processing in Photoshop and you have to shoot a video, not a photo, but the results can look stunning. You will need a tripod so that the background remains stationary and select a scene with continuously or cyclically moving elements.
"Live" photos in retro style with a beautiful model and a stalled car Photos that you can watch endlessly. Cinemagraph Julien Duvier

37. Intentional camera movement (ICM)

Photographers, as a rule, do everything possible to make the pictures as sharp as possible, but try to go the opposite - move the camera for a relatively long exposure. Work in shutter priority mode by choosing a shutter speed of 1/15 second or slower.

38. Lo-Fi effect

You can quite simply add retro effects to your photos using Photoshop or Lightroom. But the scenes will look even more natural if you plan your image style before shooting.
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