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Photo Contest Insider Blog

5 photography projects you could complete this weekend

April 24, 2017

If you are stuck for photography projects to try, there are many great resources out there which will give you some ideas. But the problem is often that you don’t have enough time to complete them – or that once you start them, you soon run out of motivation, or find something better to do. These 5 projects can be done in just a weekend, from start to finish.

Build your own lightbox

Building a DIY lightbox is very easy, and it will give you the chance to take professional-quality product photographs. All you need to start is a large cardboard box, scissors, some white tissue paper, and tape. Cut out all of the sides of the box, leaving just thin strips to serve as a framework as well as the bottom of the box intact. Next, cover up all of the resulting holes but one with tissue paper, which you can stick to the framework. You should have a solid bottom; a tissue paper top; two short sides with tissue paper; one long side with tissue paper; and one long side left open. You can also cover the bottom with plain white paper to create a background. Place a product into the box and position your studio lights around it – or just place it near a window to use natural light. Now you have a lightbox which provides even, soft lighting – perfect for product shots which seem to be floating in a white space.

Explore your city

Wherever you live – and even if that may be just a village – there is interesting architecture to be found. If you have lived there for your whole life, you are probably blind to it. But dig a little deeper and look with fresh eyes. What is the oldest building in your city or neighbourhood? The most interesting? You could even create a project about a certain thing, like doorways. Go around for the two days taking pictures of all the interesting doorways you see and make a gallery or photobook out of them. You’ll be surprised at how eloquent these images can be about the place you live in. Sometimes it’s possible to live right next to something amazing for a long time without ever noticing it.

Time-lapse your day

How about setting up a camera in the corner of a room? You could also put it up somewhere inventive, like facing out of a window, aimed at a canvas where you will be trying out some art, or into your garden while you undertake a DIY project there. Set the camera up to take photographs every so often – every half hour, for example. At the end of the weekend, take the camera down and see what you have. You can put it all together into a video for a quick flick through the whole weekend from an interesting perspective. This is especially great if you have something else planned. If you don’t, just document your normal weekend routine. If nothing else, it’s an interesting document of your time to look back on later.

Go onto the street

Street photography is a time-honoured tradition, and it still works great today. If you are shy about taking pictures of strangers, you can use some tricks. These include sitting in a café or at an outside table with a telephoto lens, or using the live screen on the back of the camera so that you can shoot with it at your hip level. If you want to go even more traditional, and less obtrusive, you could use a film camera. Many of these have a quieter click than the modern DSLR, and you can wind the film on discretely after your subject has passed by. Try to see what interesting faces, events, and moments you can capture on your wanders. Henri Cartier-Bresson talked about ‘the decisive moment’ – the perfect moment to press the shutter and capture something really special. Stalk out that moment, but don’t be afraid to take hundreds of photographs in search of it.

Low light morning and night

On Saturday morning, get up bright and early before the dawn. Head out to a local picturesque spot, or take a friend or model to stand outside. Take photographs in the early morning light while the sun is breaking over the horizon and beginning to rise. At the end of the day, head out again to the same place or with the same person. Now you can take photographs as the sun is going down, catching the transitional light of twilight. You can compare the two types of light, as well as making a complete record of the day’s beginning and end. This is a fantastic way to learn more about how light works during these times. You can also get bonus points by doing it at a place of particular interest. For example, the Grand Canyon is a very popular choice – but if you don’t live nearby, you can choose something closer to home!

Picking a photography project that you can do in one weekend is very satisfying. It helps you to feel that you have accomplished something, and helps to train up your skills as well. Make sure to edit your pictures as soon as possible – during the weekend if you can. Then you will have something to share to tell the story of your weekend project.

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