On Projects

imageWoodland scene, Woodbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard

I mentioned, in an earlier post, how important I felt it was to have projects, even if they were only loosely defined. Professional photographers are usually working on projects determined by their clients, but we non pros, have the luxury of setting our own goals. The downside is that it’s up to us to define those goals or projects, and some people just don’t know where to begin. It is a little like starring at a blank canvas; what to paint is up to you, you just have to have the will to put down the first brushstroke. Just keep in mind that you are in charge. You can assign yourself projects at will, and if they don’t work out, abandon them. It’s up to you. Do not be intimidated by your own freedom of choice.

Let me throw some possibilities at you. Do you have children or grand children? Try, instead of the grab candid, documenting one special day such as a trip to the zoo. Think about how a real photo journalist would approach it and try to copy that method. If nothing else, you’ll learn just how hard that can be! Are you a member of a garden club? Make portraits of as many members as you can with their prize flowers. Have a dog or cat or other pet? Photograph him/her like you mean it. This is a member of your family and deserves to have the best portrait you can make. Are you into cars or boats or motorcycles? Go to a show and instead of focusing on the whole vehicles, break them down into abstract elements in close ups. You can do the same with landscapes. Instead of trying to include as much of the whole scene as possible, break it down into vignettes that capture the essence instead. Do you have a special tree you consider an old friend? Find a good vantage point that you can return to and photograph that tree in all kinds of light (and dark) in all seasons.

I could go on and on, and I’ll bet you can as well. The more projects you give yourself the easier it becomes, and consequently, the more images you will be making with a purpose. Working in this manner, any time you leave the house you will have several ideas in the back of your mind. That’s a good thing, right?

This image is from a series I’m working on called “Woodland Scenes”. Not so much about the woods or trees themselves, but those little asides or vignetts one sees while walking in the woods.

Olympus OMD EM5 with legacy Olympus 50mm f3.5 macro, processed with Snapseed and PS Express on my iPad Air.

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