PERSONAL PROJECTS
How To Get Started


by Florence W Deems

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How to pick a project: What is your favorite subject to photograph? Some people like to make images of animals; others like to do kids; others like cars; or benches; or sculptures; or water in all its manifestations; and so on. So pick a subject/subject category and start shooting it.

Shoot it in as many ways as possible and in as many weather conditions as possible. Your project, by its subject matter, may be short-lived. Other subjects can be followed year in and year out. It all depends on what you want to do. Some photographers, including myself, have several long-term projects going along with shorter-term ones. It's fun to add to a long-term project over the years. Below are some suggestions to get your first project started.

  1. Winter, spring, summer and fall views. Show your subject and how it changes with each season.

  2. Use different camera positions: shoot down on your subject, or shoot up at it, or shoot it from eye level or from ground level.

  3. Shoot one subject from all sides.

  4. Use different lenses and/or focal lengths in you use a zoom lens.

  5. If your camera allows, also use different apertures (f/stops) and/or shutter speeds.

  6. Try deliberately blurring your subject using a slower shutter and camera movement.
    • Consult your camera manual if you do not know how to change these settings:

    • Set the shutter speed for at least 1/10th second or longer, up to a couple of seconds.

    • Set the lens opening as small as possible to get as slow a shutter speed as you need.

    • You may have to set the ISO as low as possible, too, like 100 or 200, depending on your camera.

    • For more about blurs, please see this page.

After having lived with your project for several days, weeks or months, then sit down and go through your images. Pick out the 10 best--the ones that please you the most. These will be the ones you'll show to the rest of us.

If you would like to see some of my own personal projects, you can find them here.

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