34 Creative Photography Ideas

If you’re stuck for ideas of what to shoot next and looking for some inspiration, this article will hopefully give you a few creative ideas you can try out, whether you’re a full time professional or a beginner.

1: Write on different objects and photograph them

Photograph text on different objects, for example you could write in a book, on a banana skin or plastic bottle. Also you could try setting your camera to a 30 second exposure or bulb mode, and photograph the object as you write the text.

2: Create your own pinhole camera

A pinhole camera is essentially a light proof box with a hole in it, from which light from the scene projects on the opposite wall inside the box. You can create your own pinhole camera from common household materials, a useful instruction guide for making one can be found here.

3: Convert your photos to black and white or monochrome

An obvious idea but often overlooked, try converting your photos to black and white. This usually gives photos a more contrasting look, and works well with scenes with strong dark and light areas.

4: Remove all colour from your photo except for 1 or 2 colours

This can be done easily in Photoshop, simply turn the saturation down for the colours you want to remove from the photo, and leave 1 or 2 colours, or even increase their saturation slightly for a punchier look.

5: Photograph your food

Cook a dish of your favourite food and arrange it in a stylish way, then photograph it. You could do this for all of your meals for a week.

6: Create a photo illusion

Create a photo illusion such as a human in the foreground (close to the camera) eating a mountain in the distance (so it appears smaller) or more commonly done, place your index finger in the foreground with a human in the distance, so it appears you’re lifting them with your finger.

7: Photograph a water droplet

Take a photo of a water droplet landing in water, or you could try capturing the splash of an object landing in water.

8: Photograph a scene in a mirror

Try placing a mirror in front of your camera and taking a photo of the scene shown in the mirror instead of the scene head on.

9: Paint on a black and white photograph

You could try this with an old black and white photo (preferably not a valuable one), and paint colour on the photo so it looks like you would have imagined it to be, had it been in colour, or you could do this on a digital photo using paint tools in Photoshop.

10: Create a pattern of objects

Arranging identical objects into a pattern can make for an interesting shot, or you could duplicate the object in Photoshop with a bit of know-how.

11: Capture peoples lives

You may need to ask the permission of each person but photographing people as they go about their daily lives can get you some interesting photos.

12: Capture your own life

Take a self portrait of yourself in different situations throughout the day, emphasising the change in your surroundings, mood etc.

13: Take a photo of the night sky

Take a photo of the stars by using bulb mode on your camera and a remote shutter release to reduce camera shake from pressing the shutter. Or if you don’t have a remote shutter release you can use a timer with a 30 second exposure. You may need to experiment with different exposure times to get this right, and if you live in a city or light polluted area, an orange glow may show up on your photo with longer exposures, potentially ruining it.

14: Human figurine in different scenes

Try photographing a small human model figurine in different scenes, such as surrounded by fruit and vegetables, or even take it to work and photograph it in the different situations you find yourself.

15: Set objects on fire

You could try photographing things on fire such as a match or book, but take proper precautions when doing this.

16: Photograph abandoned ruins

Find a local abandoned building and photograph the remains.

17: Try using a film camera

An old film camera in particular would be best to use, since this will give you a more pronounced arty film camera style photo.

18: Car light trails

Try taking a long exposure of moving car headlights at night, a good place to do this is on a bridge above a road or next to it. Don’t limit it to just car lights though, you could try this with a Ferris wheel or fireworks also.

19: Shoot the same scene every day for a year

A good scene for this is usually a natural one with trees or anything that changes throughout the seasons. Also you could try taking a self portrait of yourself in that scene for a year, or even longer. It will take a while to complete, but is well worth the effort.

20: Close ups of every day objects

Take macro shots of every day objects you use, such as a pencil, food, or your clothing for some great photos.

21: Camera shake

Moving your camera intentionally while you photograph a subject can make for some interesting abstract shots. You will need a slower shutter speed for this, which you can experiment with until you get the desired effect.

22: Shadows

On a sunny day, try using a shadow as the main subject of your photo, such as for a portrait you could use the persons shadow as the main focus of the scene, while placing the person further to the edge of the photo.

23: Prism

Using a prism in front of your camera lens can give you some interesting abstract shots, and have unpredictable results.

24: Unfocused

Try putting your camera out of focus, this can be done with any subject, but works well with lights and uncomplicated scenes. To put your SLR out of focus, set the focus mode to manual, and then move the focus wheel until you get the desired photo.

25: Geocaching

The reason I chose to include this one is because some of the locations can be very interesting and you may come across places you never knew existed before, nearby to where you live. If you haven’t heard of it before, geocaching is like a treasure hunt on a global scale. Boxes are hidden in locations all around the world, and you can get the GPS coordinates for any of these, you then find one of the boxes at the coordinates provided, which should have some kind of treasure hidden inside, then you replace the treasure with your own and re hide the box. Check out the geocaching website for more information.

26: Homeless

Homeless people always make for a good photo, perhaps you could offer some money in return for a photograph of them.

27: Pick a theme

Choose a theme to photograph, such as trees, roads or shops etc. and shoot photos of all of the subjects you can find based on your theme.

28: Light Painting

Light painting involves taking a long exposure and moving a light source around in front of the camera while exposing. This can be done by moving the light around in mid air to create a kind of light painting, or you can point your light source at different parts of an object to give it an unreal kind of look.

29: Clone a person

Clone yourself or someone else so there are multiple copies of you in the same scene. Simply put, this is done by taking multiple exposures of the same scene with the person in different positions, and then merging all the photos together.

30: Use your phone

You can now take professional looking photos with just your phone. There are many apps available that you should consider using that will give you more options you would normally see on a DSLR. One recommended app if you’re an android user is Open Camera which includes options such as auto stabilizing, zoom, and the ability to set ISO and exposure.

31: Aerial photography

This idea involves lifting your camera with a kite or drone, although you will probably need a GoPro camera to do this due to their smaller size and weight. Also if you’re interested in using a drone, you can buy some with cameras already built in.

32: Tilt-shift

Tilt shift involves taking a photo of a real scene and making everything appear smaller, like a miniature model. There are a few ways to get this effect, such as using a tilt-shift lens and editing the photo in Photoshop, to blur parts of the photo. Some basics for taking a tilt-shift photo are, you will need a well lit scene, and the photo should be taken from above, since this is the view you would normally take a photo of a small model at.

33: Visit your local zoo

If you’re interested in wildlife photography, or would like to get started at it, go to your local zoo or safari park and practice your photography skills. This is a much easier option than waiting around to see the animals in the wild.

34: A-Z

Find something to photograph for each letter of the alphabet, or as an alternative find something that looks like each letter, for example a car wheel for the letter O.

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