Outdoor photography projects
17. Brenizer effect portraits
The Brenizer method, also known as portrait panorama or bokeh-rama, provides a great basis for a portrait photography project. Invented by New York wedding photographer Ryan Brenizer, the technique helps you create photos that appear to have been shot on a lens with a much wider maximum aperture. The idea is that you shoot lots of telephoto photos of different parts of a scene at the lens's widest aperture, and then join this mosaic together using Photoshop's Photomerge option or in specialist stitching software.
Make sure you shoot each frame using manual settings - from White Balance through to focusing - so that you can batch process all the shots. Try shooting anywhere from 30-80 frames, and make sure each tile and row overlaps the last by around a third.
18. Right time, wrong lens
Choose the opposite lens to the one you'd normally use to photograph a subject. For example, take a wide-angle lens to the zoo or restrict yourself to your longest telephoto focal length when you next shoot landscapes.
19. Deconstructed landscapes
Try a new way to explore a landscape by creating a composite of multiple fragments of it that you've taken during a short walk. A 20-minute stroll is all you need. Keep your kit and settings simple, and don't get bogged down with tripods, filters or complicated techniques. Shoot anything that catches your eye in Aperture Priority mode. When you're back home, create a grid in Photoshop and assemble your selection of picture using Layers.
20. Minimalist mono landscapes
Instead of cramming an entire view into a single frame, shoot a series of minimalist long exposure landscapes instead. A symmetrical composition can help to reinforce the simplicity of the framing, as can a square crop. You'll also need a strong Neutral Density (ND) filter to give you the flexibility to create long exposures at any time of the day. Use a tripod to keep the camera still throughout the exposure and fire the shutter with a remote release.
21. Starlight landscapes
To capture the best starscapes you'll need a completely clear sky. It's best if the moon isn't visible: it can make it difficult to keep detail in the whole sky in a single exposure. To keep the exposures short enough to prevent the moving stars blurring, use Manual mode and set a high ISO such as 1,600 or 3,200 and a shutter speed of two seconds. Even then, you'll need a wide aperture: f/4 or even f/2.8. This means it's almost impossible to keep both the stars and any foreground subject in focus in a single shot. Shoot two exposures, one focused on the stars and one on the foreground, then combine them in Photoshop.
22. Shoot the uninspiring
Write down a list of locations or items that you find dull, depressing, ugly, boring or annoying. Now push yourself to make beautiful and interesting photographs of these unphotogenic subjects.
23. Car park abstracts
You don't have to travel far or commit a lot of time to an outdoor photography project. There are photo opportunities just about everywhere - even in a car park. A DSLR with a standard zoom is all you need for this project. Keep your technique simple and look for patterns, textures, colours and shapes.
24. Selective colour
Rather than shoot in black and white and using pop colour techniques to make an object stand out, this selective colour challenge requires you to nominate a colour and find examples of it in the wider world. You don't have to fill the frame: use clever composition techniques to draw attention to it within the photo.
25. Naked night photography
Shoot outdoors at night without using flash, a long exposure or a tripod. For this project, challenge yourself to only use available light and a high ISO setting.
26. Optical illusions
This project uses forced perspective to play tricks on a viewer's perception of the relationship between differently sized objects in a photo. The best way to approach this is to shoot a recognisable subject and get them to pretend that they are interacting with a much larger object or subject, which is actually in the background. Choose a small aperture to provide a large depth of field that will enhance the effect.
27. Small world
Photographing miniature toys and models in real-world environments is a popular photo project and one that you can easily fit around your day job. Try taking a small prop with you and photographing it in a range of situations - everywhere from the daily commute to a weekend stroll. To blend the model in with the rest of the scene you'll need to get close to the subject and balance the light. If your subject is cast in shadow, use your flash to add fill-in lighting.
- Best camera accessories: essential bits of kit for your camera
- 10 must-have accessories for every Canon DSLR owner
- 10 must-have accessories for every Nikon DSLR owner
- Best travel tripod: 5 carbon fiber stands for your camera
- Best camera bag: 10 options to protect your camera kit
- Best flashgun: dedicated strobes for Canon and Nikon DSLRs
- Best ND filters: 6 top models tested
- Best ND grad filters: 6 top models tested