Do you want to capture amazing photos, but you just aren’t sure what to shoot?
Because in this post, I’m going to give you 11 easy photography ideas–which will get you out and taking gorgeous photos in no time at all.
Let’s get started.
1. Do a Portrait Session With a Friend or a Family Member
If you’re looking to capture some low-key, fun portraits…
…why not start with someone you know?
The truth is that friends and family are often the best models. Sure, they don’t have professional posing experience, but the act of positioning inexperienced models will help you see what poses work, what poses fail, and why.
Plus, one of the most difficult things about shooting portraits is making your model comfortable. But if you already know the model to begin with, it lets you work on chatting with your subject–without having to get over the initial difficulty of shooting someone you’re not familiar with.
So don’t be afraid to photograph friends or family. And maybe they’ll love the photos and end up hiring you for a paid shoot!
2. Go to a Local Park and Capture Beautiful Macro Shots
One of my favorite things about macro photography is how accessible it is.
You can do macro photos pretty much anytime, anywhere.
And one of the best places to do macro photography…
…is your local park!
There are natural macro subjects everywhere. For instance, you can photograph the flowers in spring, or the tree leaves in summer. You can photograph fallen leaves in autumn, or snow crystals in winter.
You can also look for bodies of water, where there can be lilypads, water bugs, and more.
And note that you don’t need special equipment to get started with macro photography. Sure, macro lenses get you closer to your subject than standard lenses, but plenty of non-macro lenses will get you close, as well.
So grab your closest-focusing lens, get to your local park, and start shooting beautiful macros!
Related Post: Macro Photography Lighting
3. Photograph the Nearest City at Night
Have you ever walked around your city at night?
It’s beautiful. Everything becomes quiet, the businesses turn out their lights, the streetlights come on.
And it’s great for photography.
You can capture amazing photos that are lit by neon lights (or you can incorporate lights in the background, as beautiful bokeh).
You can also capture cool long exposure photos that portray car headlights as floating strips of red and yellow.
Related Post: Car Photography Tips
Of course, photographing the city at night comes with challenges of its own. I’m primarily talking about the lack of light (though you should be aware of safety issues, too!).
Therefore, I recommend taking your fastest lenses (f/2.8 and below) to do night photography. Shoot in well-lit areas, and if your lenses have image stabilization, make sure it’s switched on. Don’t be afraid to use a high ISO, but be prepared to deal with a lot of noise in Lightroom or Photoshop (by using careful noise reduction or by converting to black and white).
That way, you can be sure to capture some beautiful night photos, no matter the situation.
4. Shoot Wildlife in Your Own Backyard
If you want to do wildlife photography, you may be under the impression that you need to have lots of fancy gear, and live in a natural, park-type location.
But that isn’t true, not really.
Because there are plenty of wildlife photography opportunities–right in your own backyard!
You have a few options:
First, you can photograph in your actual backyard. This could involve setting up bird feeders, a birdbath, a butterfly garden, etc (though you don’t have to spend much on this–plenty of feeders can be homemade).
Second, you can find a park that has public bird feeders. Oftentimes, birds will flock to these areas, and you’ll have a lot of fun trying to capture them all.
Third, you can find a place nearby that just gets a lot of wildlife! I recommend starting the search near bodies of water. For instance, ponds often have a local group of ducks and swans that are pretty amenable to photography. For instance, I took this photo in the pond near my house:
Here’s the bottom line:
If you want to photograph wildlife, don’t get discouraged. You don’t need fancy gear, and you don’t need to live in an amazing location. You can capture stunning wildlife photos in your own backyard.
5. Photograph Flowers at a Local Conservatory
I love to photograph flowers–and one of the best things about flower photography is that you can find great subjects all over the place.
In particular, I love going to my local conservatory, which is open year-round, and gives me access to gorgeous flowers no matter when I stop by.
Before heading over to a conservatory, check to make sure that they allow tripods (if you plan on using a tripod, that is!). You can also prepare yourself by researching the weather, because flower photography is best done on cloudy days when the light is soft and diffused.
I also recommend looking at the work of the best flower photographers out there. That way, you can come up with some fun ideas to try. And you’ll undoubtedly have a blast trying to pull off such beautiful shots!
6. Attend a Sports Game and Capture Action Shots
If you’re interested in taking photos of sports…
…have you tried going to a local sports game?
There are plenty of games that are available to the public (often free or at very little cost) that you can use to start out your portfolio, or to gain your action photography chops.
Of course, sports are seasonal, which means that certain options may be untenable during certain times of the year. But you can still have fun shooting a sport, even if it’s not your sport. And that will get you lots of good practice!
Just make sure that you’re allowed to bring a camera before going; certain sporting events prohibit cameras or long lenses, so you don’t want to drive a long way only to find out that you won’t be able to shoot the sport after all.
Also, note that you don’t necessarily need to begin by shooting high-profile games. You can often get started with adult amateur or high-school sports leagues, then move up from there.
Just shoot where you can, and success will follow!
7. Photograph Your Pet for Some Intimate Animal Shots
If you’re a dog-lover, a cat-lover, or an animal-lover of any sort, then you’ve absolutely got to try out this photography idea:
Take photos of your pet!
While you may already like to capture the occasional smartphone shot of your animal, I recommended going further than this. Have a dedicated pet photoshoot. Plan it in advance, where you make sure the setting, the light, and your pet will all cooperate (bring plenty of treats!).
If you have a dog, try taking them to a place where they can have lots of fun, and capture photos of them running, jumping, and just enjoying themselves.
And if you have a smaller animal, such as a hamster, a guinea pig, or a rabbit, consider making them a little playpen that you can take outside. They can get some fresh air, and you can get some photos!
8. Shoot Creative Long Exposures for Abstract Images
Have you ever tried to do a create long exposure photo? One where you capture something like the photo below?
If not, you definitely should! It’s very easy to pull off, and you can capture all sorts of unique abstract shots (with trees, flowers, waves, and more as interesting subjects).
To create this type of photo, you should use a technique called Intentional Camera Movement (or ICM).
Here’s how it works:
First, put your camera into Manual mode (or Shutter Priority–whichever you’re more comfortable with).
Then dial in a long exposure. Something in the 1/20s to 1s range is good, though you’re free to experiment with different options.
Find a subject, one that you think would look interesting when blurred.
Take your shot, but move your camera along your subject as you do so. This might involve moving your camera from high to low (which is what I often do), or side to side, or even from one corner to another. There are plenty of fun opportunities in there, and I recommend you test them all!
So be sure to press the shutter button lots, and you’ll get something ultra-interesting.
9. Walk Around the City to Capture Spontaneous Street Shots
Street photography is one of the fastest-paced genres of photography out there.
And for that reason, it can be a ton of fun.
Street photographers often wander the streets, just waiting for moments to come together before their eyes. They take a single shot–and that’s it, the moment is gone.
Sounds neat, right?
If you’re just starting out as a street photographer, I recommend you just do a walk of the nearest city center. Look for people who are out and about. See if you can capture pedestrians doing interesting things: running, biking, talking to one another, and more.
One of the best ways to get good street photos is to tell a story. So if you can capture people who are interacting–with each other, or with the world–you can often get something special.
Note that street photography often results in many missed shots for every shot that works. Don’t get discouraged if you strikeout. Instead, focus on your successes (and there will be a lot, I promise!).
10. Photograph Trees Wherever You Go
Trees may seem like boring subjects. After all, trees are left, right, and center.
But if you think about it, the fact that trees are everywhere just makes them readily available as subjects. Plus, the more you pay attention to trees, the more you realize how special each tree is–and how trees offer new photo opportunities every single season.
For instance, you can photograph trees in the autumn for gorgeous colors. You can get far away for beautiful landscapes, or close up for some nice leaf macros.
You can also photograph trees in winter, with their branches looking bare against the sky, or with a lonely leaf hanging at the edge, or with icicles dripping off the branch tips.
And you can photograph trees in spring and summer, with leaves blooming in every direction.
That’s not even mentioning all the cool abstract photos you can do of trees. Trees are a great subject for intentional camera movement shots, because their interesting colors and clear lines make for beautiful photos.
When it comes to trees, the opportunities are endless. So take advantage of them!
11. Look for Buildings (to Capture the Local Culture)
Here’s your final photography idea:
Photograph buildings. No matter where you live.
You see, every place has a local culture. Even if you think your town is boring, I guarantee you that it isn’t. There are photography opportunities everywhere; you just have to be willing to look.
So get out, and shoot the local architecture. This might mean driving to a nearby museum (which are great photography subjects, by the way!), walking to a mall, or just photographing houses and stores near you. Don’t feel like there’s some architecture that’s more worthy than other architecture.
…and amazing photos will follow.
11 Photography Ideas: Conclusion
If you’re struggling to come up with photography ideas, this article should help inspire you, motivate you, and keep you full of fresh possibilities for your photography!
So what photoshoot are you going to do next? What are you going to have fun photographing? No matter your choice, get out and get shooting–today!
If you’re a beginner photographer, you have all sorts of fun photoshoots ahead of you. Make sure that you try out plenty of photography genres (to make sure that you find the right one for your needs!). I recommend you do a photoshoot with family or friends so you can get a sense of basic portrait photography. Then try walking around the city for some beautiful street shots, and go to a local conservatory for stunning flower images. In truth, there are plenty of amazing opportunities for the beginner photographer–you just have to be willing to try new things!
If you’re a more experienced photographer, why not try shooting the nearest city at night? You can get some stunning long-exposure shots of car lights, as well as some more intimate portraits of city life at night. If you’re more inclined toward nature photography, using intentional camera movement techniques to capture abstract-style photos of trees, flowers, and more is always a fun time, and a great way to expand your creativity.
If you’re looking to get out and do some street photography, I recommend you go to the nearest city, but try not to focus on the obvious subjects, and try not to go out at the obvious times. Instead, you should try getting out to shoot when things are much more interesting: at night, for instance, you can capture shots of streetlights and people walking alone. I’d also recommend shooting more unusual subjects, such as interesting buildings and small details. That’s how you can really diversify your street photography portfolio (and have a lot of fun doing it!).
If you’re looking to shoot macro photos, you’re in luck–because there are amazing macro photography opportunities pretty much everywhere. You can always go to local parks and find insects, flowers, trees, grass, and more (which will become gorgeous photo subjects under the magnification of a macro lens!). If you’re hoping to photograph flowers and it’s not yet spring or summertime, you should try heading out to a local conservatory, where plants bloom (indoors) all year round!
If you’re a budding portrait photographer, it’s always a good idea to do photoshoots with family and friends. This will give you a sense of portrait photography, but you won’t have to struggle to find a model, nor will you have to work with someone you’re unfamiliar with. You can test out poses, environments, and more in a low-pressure situation (which will prepare you for more serious, potentially paid opportunities down the line).
If you’re looking to photograph nature, there’s potential all around you, even if you don’t see it. For instance, you can photograph macro subjects at local parks. Trees, flowers, and insects all make for great models. You can also photograph flowers are your local conservatory, especially if you’re a more flower-focused nature photographer. You can also do intentional camera movement abstracts of trees and flowers in pretty much any season (though fall abstracts of trees tend to look the best!). And you can shoot wildlife in your backyard, or in a local park.
Jaymes Dempsey is a professional macro and nature photographer from Ann Arbor, Michigan; his work is published across the web, from Digital Photography School to PetaPixel.