Hi Friends! Hope you’re well today. I welcome you on board. In this post today, I’ll share 8 Photography Exercises and Ideas to Develop Your Artistic Style. Many beginner photographers face similar challenges and problems. While you can read up on the technicalities, light, and basic composition rules, it’s not so easy to take unique and interesting shots with artistic value. Lots of amateur photographers struggle with finding their visual style and being different from others, which might lead to doubts about your artistic abilities. You should, however, always remember that the ability to ‘see’ the perfect shot usually comes with practice. You have to push your boundaries and keep challenging yourself. A good solution is to pay attention to photography exercises that restrict or challenge your regular photography workflow since limitations make you find creative solutions. And if you are good at what you are doing as a photographer, consider uploading your pictures to a stock website as it will bring you a passive income.
1. Shoot one small object 10 times
Pick up a small object (a bottle of water, a cup of coffee, a fruit – it could be anything) and take at least 10 varying pictures of it. Each shot should be different from one another, get creative, and change the composition radically, look at your subject from different angles and perspectives.
Many people habitually take photos from the same height, angle, and position, which, more often than not, leads to similar boring images. This exercise is a must for any beginner photographer as it helps you change the regular way you shoot and find unconventional compositions for your shots.
2. Take a lot of pictures standing at one point
Go for a walk, choose a point, stand there, and shoot several different photos. While you are shooting, you can’t move your legs and go somewhere else for a better composition. As you will have to work under certain limitations, you most likely will face some challenges to overcome. More shots, more challenging this will get. This exercise teaches you to work with restrictions.
3. The film photography exercise
When you shoot on film, you have a very limited number of shots you can take, usually from 24 to 36 depending on the length of the roll. You also don’t have any preview option and can only see the photos when the film is developed. You don’t necessarily have to purchase a film camera (although it can be quite an intriguing and useful photography experience), but when you shoot with your regular gear, try to imagine you can only take really few shots, just like with film photography.
Don’t look at your pictures until your photoshoot is done and see if you nailed it. If you didn’t, you can always try again. This exercise will teach you how to be more precise when you frame your shots and find the right composition.
4. Diversify your subjects
If you get stuck with ideas on what to shoot each time you head out to take some pictures, you can use an alternative approach. Write 20-30 easy subjects (something like ‘a dog’, ‘flowers’, ‘shadows’, ‘a streetlamp’ etc.) on thin pieces of paper, put them in a bag or a bowl, and pick one out. This subject will be your task for a day or a week. It can also be a way to challenge yourself if you write something more difficult to shoot on the pieces of paper. You can write down moods, genres, or photography techniques.
5. Shoot self-portraits (not selfies)
Everyone takes an occasional selfie from time to time. As a photographer, however, you should challenge yourself to create self-portraits instead of selfies to find interesting locations, compositions, and framing. All you need is a tripod, set the timer, and shoot yourself in a way you would with another subject. For many photographers, self-portraits are the most thoughtful, meaningful works. For most, it is a great exercise to learn how to overcome restrictions.
6. Stick to black and white for a bit
Not every image looks good in monochrome. Without any distraction of colors, other elements such as composition, light, shadows, contrast, lines, and shapes become more important with black and white photography. Set your camera in black and white mode instead of editing your photos after a photoshoot. This will let you see the picture in monochrome straight away, meaning you will have to focus on composition more and won’t get distracted by colors.
7. Visit the location in advance
Another photography exercise is to go to a random place without your camera and examine it very carefully. Try walking around the location and notice some interesting details, patterns, or greenery.
Usually, we can’t pay attention to that many details when we are busy finding the perfect framing. That’s why studying a location where you want to shoot in advance might be very helpful to find some unconventional details.
8. Try recreating famous photographs
It’s great to learn from the best, most prominent photographers. When you take a look at the perfect works of photographers you admire, you might see some tricks and techniques the artist used, especially if you have some experience with photography. While studying the style of the photographer, feel how they communicate with their greatest works. This way you can recreate some of their pictures with your spin. This will help you understand the whole process of how the greatest artists work and find an approach that also translates your artistic style.
Don’t be afraid to break the rules
Many beginner photographers learn the same photography techniques and rules and stick with them. This can result in good pictures, but to make them great, you need to think outside the box. You need to know the rules since it will help you understand how and when to break them. Don’t be afraid to vary the rules to get unconventional shots and keep practicing with photography exercises to become a better artist.