Brainstorming daily ideas for a photo blog.
May 18, 2012 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Help me brainstorm daily ideas for my photo-a-day blog. I just finished Day 70, and I'd like to get more creative.

Back in March, I started a Tumblr and began posting a photo every day. My goal is to keep going for a year.

I am looking for targeted ideas for specific photos, not so much general advice. I know that a thousand other people are doing this. I've already found some great advice like "take a photo of yourself at least once a month," as well as other advice I've chosen to disregard, like "focus on a consistent theme." I want to try some different things from day to day.

What assignments could I give myself?

I shoot with my iPhone and I don't own an SLR. I am open to all kinds of ideas from what to shoot, how to shoot it, and even using apps. Thanks in advance.
posted by cribcage to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
i love taking photos of "matching colors." example: person walking down the street has green shoe laces on their sneakers that match the zipper on someone's purse that matches the tape wrapped around someone's bicycle that matches the reflection of a car in a store window. i love capturing that type of color relationship - especially when it is not intentional (i.e., different people and things that just happen to be in your frame for a split second or minute or two).
posted by anya32 at 7:56 AM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do the same color every day for a week, and change each week until you've covered the ROYGBIV spectrum. It'd look cool, all lined up in rows. If you want to get even more creative with that theme, start with desaturated colors on Sunday and move toward very saturated colors by Saturday.
posted by xingcat at 7:56 AM on May 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

anya32 and I seem to be on the same wavelength!
posted by xingcat at 7:57 AM on May 18, 2012

yes! and i love your suggestion - i will try it out myself!
posted by anya32 at 7:57 AM on May 18, 2012

do an alphabet...a is for apples/aghast/aluminum...b is for ball/beast/breakfast...
posted by BoscosMom at 8:45 AM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are 'prompt' communities on many of the major journaling sites. Most of them are for short writing, but there are some that are less focused and a few for photography. You don't need to participate in them specifically (since you're already on tumblr) because most of their lists are publically available anyway.

Tumblr's a pain to search but it looks like there's at least a handful of non-fandom prompt sites too: Example (not an endorsement, just the first I found.)
posted by cobaltnine at 8:50 AM on May 18, 2012

I did a 365 Project a couple of years ago and managed to keep with it for the whole year. They're up on Flickr if you want to peruse them for general ideas, but they're probably very similar to other people's photo-a-day results. I did use a DSLR, mostly, though I did shoot some with Hipstamatic on my iPhone 3G. (I now use Camera+ on the iPhone 4, which is a great app! I shoot & edit in Camera+, then upload and tweak in Instagram, or just use them straight out of Camera+.)

I did not have a theme either. I tried to limit myself on the number of self-portraits or pictures of my dog that I used, because they're vain and boring, but I didn't limit myself on the number of photos I took of things in my house or yard. And there are a lot of flower photos in that set as a result! But I focused on details, and I tried to exercise myself technically. I took at least 10 and sometimes more than 100 pictures a day, and then edited them down carefully and posted the best one for the project.
I started my project in October, which meant that almost immediately it was dark after work and I had to work inside or lug around a tripod. I used the opportunity to experiment with lighting. An iPhone has fewer options for off-camera lighting than a DSLR, naturally, but there are options. Learning to work with artificial light is a huge step in becoming a good photographer (regardless of the camera you use). Practice viewing an object in different rooms of your house with your camera, then with different flash options from your phone, or outside and inside. Learn how they can affect your photos. Also, work on your composition skills. Let your sneakers do the zooming- get up as close as you can to take your pictures. Never settle for the view that you started with- always experiment to see if a better view is available. There are also physical iPhone camera accessories that can change your photos a lot. Use your project to experiment with your photos, and you will start to see picture opportunities far more often than you do now.

Try to use your project to break out of your regular routine to find new subjects. Go for a walk at lunch, or stay in and explore your office building. Take a different bus route home. Go see that sculpture garden, junkyard, alleyway, park, construction site, building facade, etc. that you keep passing by, but never get out to inspect. Give yourself time to explore what your camera can do while you're shooting- don't just shoot and go. Take the time to make the picture right.

Don't get discouraged if you miss a day- I missed about 10 days all told, but I kept at it, and I think this is one of my favorite photo projects I've ever done. I'm very proud of finishing it- most people don't get there. Good luck!
posted by aabbbiee at 9:24 AM on May 18, 2012

I've done this before and how I did it is I just noticed the themes that were already showing up in my photos and then would do a whole series. Here are some of mine:
* crazy hair
* abandoned toys
* cups
* found words (street stencils, slips of paper)
* hearts in unexpected places (rocks, leaves, gates)
Or choose a word and see what you find: cracked, sparkle, jump, discover, secret
Or, on instagram Fat Mum Slim posts photo of the day challenge list.
posted by biscuits at 11:00 AM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been doing photos of the day since January 1, 2010, so I get how hard it is to keep it fresh. One idea I have in my back pocket is to do a "day in the life" over the course of a month or so. So day 1, I'd take a picture of something from when I first wake up. And day 2 would be something from the next part of my morning routine. And so on. I'd have to map it out ahead of time so I could stay on track, but I think it'd be fun, and a great record of daily life.

(My 365 projects are on flickr, which is linked in my profile.)
posted by pyjammy at 12:34 PM on May 18, 2012

Every so often, trigger the self-timer on your camera. You've got 10 seconds to frame an interesting photo. Kind of fun, spontaneous.
posted by ecorrocio at 1:06 PM on May 18, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions.

Part of the reason I've avoided longer themes (like running through the alphabet) is that whenever possible, I try to make my daily photo relevant to my life. If I attend a class or a concert, or meet up with an old friend, or cook a new dish that turns out well, then it's fun to document those. This is more for myself. In addition to the Tumblr—which I don't publicize, but publishing it helps as motivation—I keep an iPhoto album in my phone, and it's fun to scroll through the little square thumbnails and view my life over the past X weeks/months. The random, brainstormed ideas are for more routine days when I have nothing personal that's worth documenting.

Two additional ideas I had are making a collage and making a comic. I don't know much about editing photos, but I'm learning via apps. I could combine those ideas and make a comic strip for one day.

I appreciate the suggestions, as well as any that may pop up later. My 365 days should elapse before this thread closes, so if I remember, I'll try to post an update next March. So far, so good.
posted by cribcage at 12:51 PM on May 20, 2012

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