Self Assignment

Take any good photography class and chances are the teacher will give you an assignment. 

These assignments can take many forms, some help you master camera operation or photographic techniques. Assignments like “use only one focal length”,  “use one specific aperture” or “shoot only hyperlocal images”. These all help you learn camera controls and settings.  

 During a trip to Italy, I was moved by the variety of door knockers - especially in the town of Siena. I collected scores of images of some very interesting door knockers. 

During a trip to Italy, I was moved by the variety of door knockers - especially in the town of Siena. I collected scores of images of some very interesting door knockers. 

Some of the most valuable assignments involve expanding your creative skills. It’s the creative assignments that can really stretch you as a photographer and teach you to see the creative possibilities in the world around you. 

 Siena Italy has an incredible variety of door knockers. Explore the city and see what piques your interest. 

Siena Italy has an incredible variety of door knockers. Explore the city and see what piques your interest. 

Self-assignments are not limited to novice photographers. Some of the most talented master photographers I know are always working on a self-assignment. The reason is simple, such assignments help ignite your creativity, sharpen your problem-solving skills and help you master new techniques.

If you want to grow as a photographer you should embark on your own photo project. Give yourself a self-assignment to collect photographs of something that interests you. Tony likes to photograph anything Beatles related. For those of you who know Tony, you'll understand that. Pick something that interests you. Here are a few suggestions. 

When you have a new piece of equipment such as a new lens or flash, head out and take it for a test drive. Learn to see the world with that piece of equipment. It should become second nature to you so that when you put it on your camera, you don't have to "think" about how it works. 

Exercise your creative side too. Consider some of these ideas. 

Collect "something". Pick "something" and find different ways to shoot it. On my vacation to Italy, that was door knobs, but I've worked on doors and planter boxes. It's usually something that is unique in the area in which I'm traveling.

Collect the alphabet. Find objects that look like letters of the alphabet. Not letters on a sign, but other objects that look like the letters. Possibly a telephone pole for the letter "T" or a knot on a tree for the letter "O". Be creative.

Capture motion. Find subjects that are moving and exaggerate the movement in creative ways. Use panning techniques to paint your subject on a blurred background or use a 10-stop Neutral Density filter to blur the clouds on a bright sunny day.

Capture Texture.  Create images that accentuate the texture of an object. There are lots of textures out there. Have fun with them. 

You get the idea. Pick a color and find images with that color. Shoot reflections. You'll be surprised where you can find reflections. They are in more places than you think. 

Pick a project and start shooting today. Force yourself out of your comfort zone and learn to see the world in a different way. Let us know what you pick and we'd love to have you share some of your images with us.