Here we are at the beginning of another year. Now that everyone is more than sufficiently broke and gearing up to be their best self for about a week, I think it’s the perfect time to pull out your gear and get to know it better than you ever have. Even if your camera is already just a mildly heavy extension of your arm, you can still learn a whole lot from developing your own personal photography projects.
If you’re a serious photographer, or even if you just enjoy it as a hobby, I don’t believe there should ever be a time when you don’t have a personal project on the go. Not only will these projects help you grow your abilities as a photographer, but they will also help you discover parts of yourself you didn’t even know existed. If you don’t believe me, you clearly have not ventured far enough into this giant world, or even just into your community, with your camera.
If this is your first photo project, I have the perfect one for you. This is one that has never ended for me and, quite honestly, probably never will. It’s a project most photographers venture into at some point in their careers, and it’s a project that some photographers have even made a career out of.
I was introduced to this project while I was in college. One of my photography professors sent us away from class one day on an assignment, telling us not to come back until we had told a stranger’s story in photos. I can definitely say that was one of the harder assignments I ever had to do while in school. However, once you’ve asked a few people for their photo it slowly starts to become second nature. I found after that assignment that my camera seemed to give me an all encompassing purpose. I can wander anywhere now, and if I have my camera on me, I never feel like I don’t belong or that I'm out of place.
So that said, my project for you this coming year is this. Every single day take at least one strangers photo. Get to know them, or just snap and go. Either way, stay with them long enough to get one good photo. Believe me when I say the first time is the hardest. This may just turn into your favourite thing to do on your days off!
Photo taken with all natural light in the shade with my D810 with an 85mm 1.4f attached.