Fstoppers Creative Photography Challenge (Part One)

Like I've said before, being creative or simply having to create, is one of the biggest assets you can have in this era. Being creative doesn't mean you always have the juices flowing in your body. Sometimes, we get into a rut. I know some of you have fallen into that black hole where it feels like you can't seem to get out. Trust me, we can all use a jump-start from time to time. Creatives can always use a new method to refresh their minds. 

Everybody gets stuck; it's a typical part of the innovative cycle. Grooves don't keep going forever. In fact, most creative get that hiccup from time to time. I found that this series of challenges can help you get back on your feet and start creating again. I know that these kind of challenges help me. Sometimes, they even help me come up with new concepts. I definitely challenge you to try these. 

Challenge 1: Silhouette

Make an ordinary location look great by capturing a silhouette of a subject in the area. Pick a location around sunset or even at night, and stand in one location without moving your feet.  Look around, and capture that amazing silhouette that you see. Take about twelve images, and choose the best out of all of them. 

I thought I was stuck with this one. I ended up at a parking lot for a local clinic. I was looking around to see what I could capture, then I looked up and saw the sun setting. These trees definitely caught my eye. 

Challenge 2: Lost 

Look for multiple small items and put themin a bowl. Then, try to capture the image with a single different item. For example, a bunch of white paper clips and one red one or a bag of green and blue M&Ms with one red one. Be creative. 

I was walking around the mall, looking for something interesting. Being a kid at heart helped me with this one. I came across a bin at the Lego store filled with just heads of Lego characters. I got close and shot this with an iPhone. 

Challenge 3: Limits

Use only one lens for a month, such as a 50mm. Get out of your comfort range, and learn to compose your photographs. If you only own a zoom lenses, then stick to one focal length. Limit yourself.  

Challenge 4: Restrictions

Restrictions can be tough but fun; limit yourself with a rule, and do this for the weekend. You can't use any equipment besides what you started with. So, if you're using your camera, then you can't use your smartphone at all to take photos. Limits may include:

  • One prime lens
  • One location
  • Black and white only
  • A specific time only
  • Manual mode only
  • Overexpose or underexpose everything
  • Spot meter only
  • Photograph while sitting
  • Only things above you
  • Only things below you
  • No people in the frame
  • No structures in the frame
  • Fill the frame
  • Negative space in more than three quarters of the frame

Challenge 5: Shooting Film

You can only photograph with a film camera; if you don't own one, then you limit yourself to only 24 or 36 shots. This challenge will make you realize how to cherish your shots, because you'll be limited. To make things more challenging, give yourself a time limit, for example: you have 24 hours to photograph something interesting.  

I've been meaning to go to this location but every time I tried, it was always closed. This store was interesting, but I never got to go inside. I photographed this looking in from the outside; you can also see my reflection from the glass door. 

Challenge 6: Sequence 

Find something that has the same sequence, like a fence or something with lines. Something with a layered look could be interesting. Buildings can be great as well, but be sure to give your images that neverending look.  

This is our gate door. 

Creating Your Own

Are you still hungry for some challenges? There's nothing like practice to improve your photography and get out of that creative rut. Getting out of a rut can sometimes take time, or it can be quick. Just keep on pushing your methods and challenging your creativity on a daily basis, and you will start seeing that creative juice build up. Post your photos in the comments; I would love to see them. 

Log in or register to post comments
2 Comments
Ralph Hightower's picture

Sounds interesting. Unfortunately, I can't use primes only with my DSLR since my only lens is the 24-105 f4L. I can do film and even B&W with primes; I have one camera loaded with B&W and the other with color.

Isaac Alvarez's picture

Try using your 24-105mm and limit your zoom capability and set it with having just a single focal length. Try just limiting yourself and you'll find that it makes you think about your shots.