Photography challenges can be a fun way to push a photographer’s photographic potential. These challenges inspire photographers to come out of their comfort zones and try new concepts and techniques.
Are you thinking about taking on a photography challenge as a beginner?
We have compiled 10 fun photography challenge ideas that you can consider to improve your photography skills.
What is Photography Challenges?
Photography challenges are projects or assignments that photographers take on to practice, explore new techniques, and polish their photography skills. These challenges can be short-term, long-term, theme-based, technique-based, or other types of projects, with or without a specific deadline.
Photographers can create photography challenges for themselves or join different photography communities. In the case of self-initiated projects, the photographer decides on the themes and rules. On the other hand, a photography community or organization provides the theme and guidelines for all participants and selects the best one at the end of the project.
Why Participate in Photography Challenges?
Photography is a creative skill. There is no limit to learning when it comes to working in the creative industry. Whether you are a beginner photographer or a professional, you must keep practicing photography to brush up your skills.
Here are the top reasons why photographers should participate in photography challenges.
Photo challenges are a great way of improving creative skills along with photographic skills. The difficulties involved in photo challenges, such as specific guidelines, themes, or deadlines, force photographers to visualize things from different perspectives that they have never seen before.
Improve technical skills
While carrying out photo challenge projects, photographers may need to use certain techniques or equipment they generally don’t always use. For instance, while shooting star trails, the camera requires a long exposure and a slow shutter speed. This technique is not usually used in the case of street portraits or other types of spontaneous photography.
Besides, the brightness, contrast, exposure, etc., camera settings require adjustments in different lighting conditions. Photographers can better grasp these technical skills the more they practice for the sake of photo challenges.
Photographers get the chance to create a collection of photographs through photo challenges. The best photographs from those challenges can be used in the portfolios. The variety of themes, techniques, and compositional ideas enriches the quality of the portfolio and gives the viewers a glimpse into their field of expertise.
Photo challenge projects hosted by photography communities or organizations give photographers platforms to share their work, participate in discussions, and gain support and inspiration from others. Besides, there are various photography groups and forums where photographers share their projects and build connections with fellow photographers. All these interactions help to build a sense of community among the photographers.
Overcome photographer’s block
Photographer’s block is evidently common among all photographers, be they beginners or professionals. Sooner or later, a time comes when it becomes hard for them to overcome that block. However, photography challenges can help photographers come up with fresh ideas and escape the photographer’s block.
Top 10 Fun Photography Challenges
Photography challenges are great for beginner photographers to hone their skills, nurture creativity, and discover new photographic inspirations. They can keep themselves busy with tasks and learn about different photography techniques that can help them master the art of photography.
Here are 10 fun photography challenge ideas that can boost your creativity and help you learn new photography techniques.
1. 365 Photography Challenge
Turn the impossible into possible with the 365 project. Constant 365 days of photography is next to impossible for many photographers. But if you can pull off this challenge successfully, you will notice a significant boost in your photography skills and creativity.
The biggest advantage of this challenge is that it will take you out of your comfort zone and force you to look at things from the perspective of a subject. As a result, your vision for composition will improve significantly, and you will expand your creative boundaries.
365 compositional ideas may seem like a lot, but if you pay close attention to your surroundings, you will notice that there are literally thousands of compositional elements everywhere you look. To make things easier, create a photo challenge calendar to note down the compositional elements beforehand, or else you may run out of photography ideas in the middle of the challenge.
You can select different colors, animals, food items, gadgets, nature, people, time, location, everyday objects, or themes such as street photography, landscape photography, shadow photography, abstract photography, and many more. However, if finding distinctive content seems too tough, try photographing a baby or a plant every day to record the changes they experience as they grow.
Note: You can consider enrolling in online courses to learn the tactics of organizing the huge number of photographs you will be creating for this challenge.
2. 52-Week Photography Challenge
Are you looking for prolonged photography challenge ideas? Try out the 52 week project. It might sound overwhelming, but this type of photography challenge has the potential to push your creative boundaries.
For this challenge, the first and most important thing you need is a list of themes, locations, techniques, or objects you plan to photograph each week. Brainstorm and come up with that list to give your photography challenge a kickoff in an organized way.
Take the challenge as a fun ride rather than a chore that you are bound to finish at any cost. So, make sure to select the things you would enjoy photographing.
3. 30-Day Photography challenge
A 30-day photography challenge is a practical one compared to the 52-week challenge. If you are committed to photography for a straight 30 days, you are bound to learn new techniques and improve your photography skills.
For this, come up with 30 different and interesting photography ideas you can shoot. If you have free time, you can go on a thirty-day trip. Depending on the location of your trip, you can design your photography themes.
For instance, if you choose wildland trekking, then your themes can be travelers, mountains, wild animals, sunsets, night skies, and more. On the other hand, for the beach, the theme may include the shore, waves, rocks, etc.
4. Daily Photography Challenge
You can start with the daily photography challenge if you don’t want to bind yourself to a specific deadline. It is somewhat similar to the 365 photography challenge, but a thin line makes it distinctive. You can continue this challenge for the number of days you find convenient, be it 10 days, 20 days, 6 months, or more.
For the daily challenge, you have to be self-disciplined so that you don’t miss a day due to a tight schedule or laziness. Remember, the more you practice, the better photographer you can be. Besides, picking up a camera every day will strengthen your muscle memory and help you learn the functions of different camera settings faster.
Therefore, sparing 5 to 10 minutes every day in photography can help develop your skills to a great extent and make you a consistent photographer. Moreover, you can use these photos as an Instagram photo challenge to gain more followers.
5. 7-Day Photography Challenge
Do you want to challenge your creativity with short but intense photography? Let your creative juices flow with the 7-day photography challenge.
Instead of taking random photos to complete this challenge, try to design a composition that will allow you to engage the viewers and deliver a message. For that, use the photography practices you would follow for professional quality photography, such as following the compositional rules, adjusting lighting placement, adjusting exposure, shutter speed, etc.
Experiment with different photography styles and techniques each day to make every image distinctive. For instance, Day 1- Street photography, Day 2- Portrait photography, Day 3- Macro shot, Day 4- Cityscape photography, Day 5- Star trail photography, Day 6- Monochrome, and Day 7- Food photography.
6. 30-Minute Photography Challenge
The 30-minute photography challenge is the perfect project to go for at any time and any place. You can take on this challenge on your own or include your photographer friends or associates to make the challenge more competitive.
Think of creative ideas to make the challenge more intense and interesting. For group challenges, you can see who can experiment with the most subjects, color variations, or perspectives. You can also challenge yourself to shoot at home without any preparation.
If done in a group, these photo challenge ideas can help you recognize the differences between perspectives that differ from person to person. Moreover, you can learn from your fellow photographers as well as teach them. However, for a solo project, you can learn to identify your potential and work on improving it.
7. Weekend Photography Challenge
Are you looking for ideas to spend the weekend doing something productive? Take on a weekend photography challenge.
You can choose specific projects, such as a street photography challenge, an outdoor photography challenge, or simply a portrait photography challenge, as part of your weekend photography challenge.
Such projects will help you learn new things every week and improve your photography skills in certain areas; for instance, your framing for capturing strangers can improve, or you can better understand the angles that make a street or city element look balanced and eye soothing.
8. A-Z Photography Challenge
The A-Z photography challenge consists of 26 photographs, each with subjects whose names start with or express the letters A to Z. For instance, a photograph of an apple for the letter A, a bird for B, a car for C, and so on.
Sounds easy, right? But can you find subjects that start with X around you often?
It doesn’t necessarily mean your photographs must be of physical objects. You can use your creativity to express the letters with an abstract concept. For instance, you can photograph a running man or a racing moment for the letter R or a crying baby for the letter C. This challenge can also be used for Instagram photography ideas.
9. Photo Zine Challenge
Create books or something more like a portfolio with the photo zine challenge. Zines are self-published photo books that can be easily created at home. As these books are casual or informal, you won’t have the pressure to produce flawless photo books.
For creating photo zines, you must shoot multiple images while maintaining a specific theme. For example, your theme is cityscapes. You can shoot busy streets, architecture, skylines, skyscrapers, vehicles, etc., and lay them out in the form of a book. You can add text describing the photographs or your concept behind the compositions. However, adding such texts is optional.
Creating zines can be great for learning different methods and perspectives of shooting the same subject, practicing compositional approaches, and learning the process of organizing photographs. This knowledge comes in handy when creating a photography portfolio, website, or blog for proving your skills and hunting clients.
10. Smartphone Photography Challenge
The smartphone photography challenge is perfect for photographers who don’t own a professional camera or can’t carry the camera all the time. The lack of digital camera features in smartphones will train you to concentrate more on compositional elements and techniques than on technology.
Moreover, you will realize that the key to good photography is the photographer’s talent rather than the equipment they use. You can take on this challenge anytime, anywhere, as long as you have your smartphone with you.
You can get fresh photography inspiration while on a walk or traveling. The moment you see any interesting element, photograph it, whether it’s a small wildflower or a large bridge.
You can also try capturing self-portraits. Simply set up the self-timer on the smartphone camera and place the phone at a distance, keeping yourself within the frame. A remote release is another option if you have a WiFi connection.
Photography challenges are excellent ways to get started with photography. It helps beginner photographers increase their proficiency in both photography techniques and operating tools.
Among all the above-mentioned ideas, pick the one that works best for you. You can try on several of them to explore new areas of photography, improve your skills, and expand your collection of interesting photographs.
Author: Jacob Wyatt is the Content & Digital Marketing Head at Clipping Path Studio – one of the best 24/7 photo editing agencies. Alongside marketing, Jacob has been involved in multiple roles like photography instruction and branding for 7+ years. Jacob’s expertise helps brands like Bplans.com create content that gets them the targeted audience.