Sooner or later we all run out of things to photograph. Or we think we have. In reality, there are countless things right in front of you worth photographing. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut photographing the same thing over and over, eventually leaving your camera in the bag for weeks at a time.
To help you figure out what to photograph when your mind is blank, I’ve compiled a list of more than 100 ideas. You can even combine items on this list to create hundreds of combinations of things to photograph.
There are several categories to choose from and I recommend trying a category you don’t have much experience with.
I normally just walk right by windows. But the light, frost and paper crane caught my eye.
There is a whole world waiting to be explored by you and your camera. And it’s not just what your eyes can see but what is hidden underneath and behind or inside.
You walk right over the surface of the earth every day, but everything you see has it’s own surface to be explored. Pull out your
and inspect the surfaces of the natural world.
- Trees, branches, bark
- Fruits and vegetables
- Tall grass
Consider photographing places such as:
- Orchard (in bloom or full of fruit)
- Pumpkin patch
- Sunflower field
When I first got my camera, I would take pictures of flowers. I was never happy with the photos but didn’t understand why. One evening I photographed this garden and loved the way this photo looked. Once I learned about light, I realized why I love this photo. It’s incredibly soft light produced by the last 5 minutes of light before the sunset.
If you choose to photograph flowers, don’t just go for the
typical flower shot
. Focus on the petals, leaves, stems, and even dig down to the roots. Light is essential to plant life. Photograph them in harsh noon light, golden hour, and play with backlight to make silhouettes. Crack open seeds and nuts to explore their inner world. Don’t forget to photograph them after it rains.
Then keep exploring
- Water (sprinkler, hose)
- Creek, pond, lake, ocean
There is no need to limit nature photography to daylight hours. When the moon is bright it is a wonderful light source. This is especially true when the landscape is covered in snow because it reflects the light.
Even “the ground” is a worthy subject.
If you’re more of a people photographer than a nature photographer, consider bringing people along with you to have in the photos. Especially when it comes to:
- Dirt roads
There are many ways to photograph
. Yes, they could be
. But you can also capture candid moments. Don’t pressure yourself to try something as big as portrait, street, or wedding photography. Just find somebody you can take pictures of. You don’t have to know what you’re doing, just do it and something interesting will emerge.
Families (yours or a friends):
- Twins, triplets
- A whole family
- 3+ generations
If you’re going out with friends to a park bring your camera along and tune into candid moments.
One single child could provide you with an infinite number of possible photos:
- Playing with bubbles
- At a playground
- Riding bikes
- Playing sports
Photograph your friends with:
- An interesting job
You could expand your skills or even produce an entire portfolio just by committing to photograph a few people over the course of a month or two.
- Friend’s animals
- A farm
- A vet
- A shelter
- Pet store (offer them social media photos)
- Fish, water creatures
Remember to turn off your flash when photographing through glass so that it doesn’t create a reflection.
When it comes to
you’re automatically combining people, places, food, animals and interesting activities. You can find plenty of events listed on your city’s website.
- Public event/festival
- Street photography
- Contact a media network to see what photos they need
- Local charity event
- Animal shelter
- Farmer’s Market
- Air show
- Car show
Stroll around with your camera at public events and photograph little details. This was at a car show.
Contests are a great way of generating ideas of things to photograph. Let somebody else think of the subject matter and then take up the challenge to photograph it in the most interesting way possible.
Search for contests in:
- Your city website
- Local paper
- Photography magazine
- DPS challenges
Look around your home town or city and pay attention to icons that you normally just pass by. Or flip through tourist pamphlets and then photograph icons in new ways.
- Old buildings
- Modern buildings
- Glass buildings
I’m not normally one to photograph architecture, but I had been watching this house as it dilapidated over the years. I wanted to create a picture that captures the way it feels when I drive by.
- Products for a small business
- Crafts for friends Etsy store
- Family heirlooms
- Museum artifacts
- Junkyard (rusty, textured items)
Look for texture in the objects that you photograph.
Seasons and time of day
Don’t just photograph something and then move on. Consider what photos you might make of nature, people, animals, and events in each unique season.
I played baseball as a kid and feel nostalgic about it every autumn. One year I took a beat up old ball out to an abandoned ball diamond and photographed it. It allowed me to play with golden hour light for the first time and practice bringing my vision to life.
Remember that every season brings variety with each new day.
- Cloudy day
- Stormy day
This scene caught my attention because of the time of day. The golden sunrise reminds me of when I started work at sunrise for my first job out of high school.
In addition to all the possibilities mentioned above, consider what technique you might use to capture your images.
- Black and white
- Close up, macro
Also, consider the unique possibilities when you focus on:
I knew when I took this photo of footprints in tire treads that it would be a black and white photo. The texture made me think black and white.
Choose something you always look at but never see.
Right now, there are likely 100 things in front of you just waiting to be photographed. Choose one thing to practice with.
Please, add to this list in the comment section below.
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