Oct 9, 2011

15 Photography Exercises To Get You Shooting

The key to all artist success, or to any kind of success for that matter is doing. You can read, take classes and analyze all you want, but that is not going to make you a good photographer. What is going to make you better, is practice. Here are a couple exercises to get you started.

1. Shoot one object, 100 times.
I actually did this photo project one winter night, when I was bored. I took 100 pictures of a fork at different angles, different lighting, etc. Believe it or not, i got some amazing shots out of this, and my "Fork You" picture has had tons of compliments, and has sold really well! Practice pays off.

2. 15 Steps
This works best on a nice day (no snow or rain). Take a walk with your camera. Every 15-20 steps, stop and photograph whatever is around you. Take at least 10 pictures of whatever catches your eye. This forces you to photograph things you see every day and put your own creative spin on them.

3. Color Scheme
Each day for a week, choose a certain color scheme and photograph things matching that particular color. This is a cool exercise because at the end, you can make some awesome photo collages.

4. Dog View
Shoot things around your house from your dogs point of view. This is going to add a creative angle to your photos that you might never have thought of otherwise.

5.  Close Up Shots
Gain practice with depth of field and aperture by shooting your subject as close as your lens will allow. Even try photographing something normal super close where your viewer might have to even guess at what the object is you are photographing.

6. The Egg
This is a great exercise that will help you practice your white balance knowledge. Photograph an egg on a white piece of paper. Try photographing the egg with each different white balance setting. Doing this allows you to really see the differences of each setting, and how they affect the cool and warm tones. Also, photographing a white egg on white paper can really show you how lighting affects your photographs as well. This is also a good exercise to do to practice with your flash.

7. Take A Cruise
I did this last winter, and got some of my best selling photographs from the excursion. I do not live around anything cool, just open farmland and small towns. However, by just driving around aimlessly, I found some pretty unique things to photograph. Photographing things that are not cliche will really set your work apart, and get you noticed. Because I live in a small town, I don't have cliche things to photograph such as landmarks, mountains etc. This forced me to think outside the box for my shots, and it was a great experience. Just drive around for an hour with your camera and photograph anything that catches your eye, be creative!

Photographed these beautiful cardinals while driving over a random railroad track. You never know what you'll find!

8. Set Up A Photo shoot
Grab a friend or a family member, and head out to a nice park or other location for a mini photo shoot. This will give you some awesome practice with shooting people, and how to pose your subject. It will also give you some great shots to add to your portfolio.

9. Tell A Story
Get creative with your photography, and tell a story with your photos. You can do this by even choosing an emotion, and portraying that emotion through photographs. For example: you can take a bunch of pictures of your family or friends mouths only showing that emotion (like a smile, or a frown). Excitement can be portrayed through photographs of people jumping up and down, playing, dancing etc.

10. Get Inspired
Take an hour or less to just surf Flickr. You can gain tons of inspiration from other photographers and their pictures. You dont have to copy someone to gather inspiration, maybe a photo of a dog inspires you to take your pup out for a mini shoot. Or, a photo of a cup of coffee inspires you to gather some coffee beans and photograph them up close. Let your mind wander, and jot down anything that inspires you.

11. Body Parts
Photograph different body parts (appropriate ones lol) without showing faces. Hands, feet, eyes, ears etc.

12. Themed Grab Bag
Write down a bunch of different themes on tiny pieces of paper. Place them all folded, into a grab bag and choose one. Let that be your theme for the day, and photograph only things pertaining to that certain theme.

13. Find A Buddy
Find a buddy who likes photography, or even someone to just take a walk with. Bring your camera along, ask them if they see anything that stands out. Sometimes we are so used to looking for certain things to photograph, we miss beauty everywhere. Having a second pair of eyes and a different point of view can really open us up to even more possibilities.

14. Shoot In Black & White
Change your cameras settings to Monochrome and spend the day photographing things in black and white. Its amazing how different items appear when they do not have color to them.

15. Bugs
Get down and dirty in the backyard and photograph as many bugs as you can. As icky as they are, they do make for some pretty amazing photographs.

Hopefully these fun exercises can inspire you to get out there, and get photographing this week!


  1. Thank you. I am a beginner to photography. These tips helped me start practicing.

  2. great ideas! Thanks for sharing.