52 photography projects: a great technique to try every week of the year

More outdoor photography projects

35. Recreate a tilt-shift effect

52 photo projects

The 'toytown' effect that you can get from using an expensive tilt-shift lens 'incorrectly' is addictive. But you can achieve a very similar look in Photoshop by blurring all but a small area of an image. For the most convincing effect, shoot the scene from a high viewpoint on a sunny day to heighten the 'model village' look.

36. ABC. Easy? Then 123

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Shooting a photographic alphabet comprised of letters found on road signs, shop fronts and street furniture is simple. Harder is spotting objects and shapes that resemble letters in the real world – for example, the curve of a road forming an S-shape or the swings in a play park making a capital A. All done with your A-Z? Try the same thing again with numbers – from rock pools that make the number eight to columns that illustrate 11. Just be sure to always keep your camera handy: you don’t want to miss a flock of birds forming that elusive 47.

37. Faces in unusual places

An easy and fun photo idea: train your eyes to spot 'faces' unintentionally formed by everyday objects. Everything from a pair of bath taps to a manhole cover is fair game. See the Faces in Places blog for inspiration.

38. Light orbs

52 photography projects

Light painting offers plenty of opportunity for creative photo projects, but how about trying your hand at a series of light orb shots. You don't need much in the way of kit - a string of battery-powered LED lights wrapped around a hula hoop is perfect. Simply spin it in front of a tripod-mounted camera. If you're shooting by yourself, use the camera's self-timer function so that you can position yourself in the frame before the exposure starts.

39. Steel wool on fire

A night photography project you'll need to do in an open area away from flammable objects… Put fine wire wool in a metal whisk, attach this to a chain, then set the wool alight and spin it. You need a brave volunteer, a tripod, and an exposure of about 15 secs at f/11 at ISO100. See our guide on how to create light orbs for more details.

40. Alternative car trails

For traffic trail photographs with a difference, shoot from a moving car at night as a friend drives slowly along a well-lit road. You will need an exposure of around 30 seconds. Use a tripod set up in the passenger seat and trigger the shutter with a remote release.

41. Get reflective with puddles

Puddle photography

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Franziska Locher)

Rainy days aren’t always the most appealing for photography, but the resulting puddles can unlock a world of opportunities. Head out after a downpour and instead of looking up, look down: water on the ground can provide the mirror surface necessary for new angles on familiar scenes.

Try capturing the reflected blur of passing traffic, for example, which can juxtapose nicely with the asphalt surrounding the puddle. Or shoot the silhouette of a tree, reflected starkly against an overcast sky.

In fact, you can apply almost any photography technique to standing water: shoot long-exposure light trails that gleam in the wet ground; do a double exposure to blur the line between reflection and reality; or try rotating your image so that up is down and the world around the reflection is inverted.

Struggling with shine? A polarizing filter will help to reduce the glare on the surface of the puddle.

42. Find windows onto the world

Indian style window and Udaipur city view from City Palace in India

(Image credit: Sanga Park / Shutterstock )

Framing is a skill that many find tricky to master, yet ready-made frames exist in walls all around the world: windows. Whether shooting from the inside out or the outside in, windows can be used to great effect as borders for your images. 

When incorporating windows into your shots, you can play with the way focal length affects perspective – both in relation to the window itself and the scene beyond it. You can also experiment with shutter speed and aperture settings. Should the window be sharp or out of focus for a greater sense of depth? Exposed or under-exposed for accentuated contrast? And how much of the frame should you actually include? 

Considering these elements should enhance your photographic eye, improve your technical skills and allow you to build up a body of work around a single, consistent theme. You can also expand the idea to include doorways and arches.

43. Intentional Camera Movement (ICM)


(Image credit: Sue McArthur / Shutterstock)

You may be used to doing everything possible to take a sharp photo, but it can be liberating to do the opposite and move the camera during a comparatively long exposure. Try working in Shutter Priority mode, dialling in a shutter speed of 1/15sec or slower. See the work of British art photographer Chris Friel for inspiration.

44. Lo-Fi look

52 photography projects

Although it's fairly easy to add Photoshop or Lightroom retro effects to your photos, you'll get a more authentic appearance if you think about the style of image you want as you shoot. Lo-fi effects work well with simple, graphic subjects that are easily recognisable once the effect has been applied.

45. Time-lapse photo

Time-lapse photography means shooting the same scene at fixed intervals, then combining the images into a video that illustrates the passage of time. Sounds simple? One of the biggest challenges is also what makes time-lapses so engaging: framing the scene not just for its current state, but with consideration of which elements in it will change – from clouds rolling through the sky to traffic rushing through a city centre. Depending on your camera, you might need a remote shutter to achieve the effect. Once you’re set up, alter the length of time between shots to see how the results change or, for added dynamism, use a slider that gradually pans your camera. DIY fans can craft their own, guided by countless online tutorials.

Chris Rowlands

Formerly News Editor at Stuff, Chris has rarely been able to resist the bite of the travel bug – so he now writes about tech from the road, in whichever Wi-Fi-equipped café he can find. Fond of coffee kit, classic cars and sustainable gear, if there’s one thing Chris loves more than scribbling, shooting and sharing his way around the world, it’s alliterative triplets.