Why do I take pictures? And why so much time to make pictures better? Why carry a camera? Sure, important events with loved ones make good enough reasons, and sharing memories with loved ones is good enough reason to want to get better at it. But that's not always the reason. What about the abstract, the artistic, the playful dancing with light?
And what if I'm stuck in a rut? What if I want a challenge? Photo exercises! Introduce rules that force me to only take certain kinds of pictures. I've listed here some possibilities. Each theme has its own theme and restrictions, which can be adhered to for a period of time, say a week, or for a number of photos, say ten satisfactory pictures I'd be willing to share in an exhibit. Either way, you must follow the rules, and no sneaky going back to your favorite settings while the game is in play!
Some ideas that pop into my head for no particular reason:
- Black and white only. Obvious. Photogs have made careers out of this one.
- A dominant color, or complimentary colors. Pick one or two accordingly.
- A particular shape: spheres, triangles, etc.
- In-camera only, no post processing.
- An everyday activity, say people getting coffee.
- Things that move.
- Things that stay still.
- An emotion: love, friendship, sadness, or envy.
- A time of day. A sunrise series seems obvious here.
- A part of the body: eyes, hands.
- Take a picture every day for a year.
- Then don't take any pictures at all. Any missed opportunity jump out at you? What sticks in your mind?
- Pick a "master" to study, a famous photographer, then try to replicate their best shots. It's okay to steal ideas!
It's all practice.