There’s one sure-fire way to improve all of your shots: practice. Sure, you think, easy enough to say.
We can relate… Sometimes having a mission and some snap-happy friends can be just the motivation you need to get off your tuchus and start shooting.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few fun ideas to get you out having fun with your camera with friends or fellow photo enthusiasts. Read on to learn how you can make your town or city your photo playground.
The buddy system isn’t just for school field trips. Find a buddy and start photographing your community. Here are several ideas to get started.
IDEA #1: Document your city, every square foot
Every town and every city is full of life, you just need to look for it. So often, we breeze by, ignoring what we see everyday. Instead of trying to find interesting photographs, challenge yourself to slow down and take a closer look at what you haven’t been seeing.
Here’s a great example: The Portland Grid Project divides a map of Portland, Oregon into squares a mile and a half on a side. Each month a square is picked at random and each of the participating photographers ventures out and shoots within it sometime during that month.
At the end of the month, they all gather to share their discoveries and witness a mosaic of viewpoints in a variety of films and formats. Take a look at the fantastic photos that come out of the process: 1 , 2.
Don’t live in Portland? All it takes to create your own Grid Project is a map, a pen, and a few interested fellow photographers. Write up a description of what you want to do, pick a date and a meeting place, and email all your friends and ask them to help spread the word. Easy cheesy!
IDEA #2: You have three hours.
Is a month too long? Need a little more pressure to get you going? A timed photo safari might be just your thing. Three hours within defined boundaries won’t give you enough time to procrastinate, but it will give you time to explore and come back with some great shots.
The key here is to find a part of your town or city you don’t know like the back of your hand. Use the bus, subway, your bike, your feet, move around your town and city in ways you wouldn’t normally.
As before, form a group, meet up somewhere, decide on where you’ll meet when you’re finished and then go! Try striking out on your own, or tagging along with a fellow photographer or two. It’s a great way to make a new friend!
Plan to take a cocoa break if it’s cold, and consider gathering at the end to grab a bite and share your shots. We promise it’ll be a fun day.
Check out Kansas City’s Urban Photo Safari for some great examples.
IDEA #3: Make a list, photograph it often
If your Type-A personality can’t possibly leave the house without a list of things to capture maybe a photographic scavenger hunt will get that shutter firing.
Get together with some friends and have each person pick 4 or 5 objects, emotions, metaphors, whatever. Add up everyone’s contributions to a mega list, and go out and do some scavenging! Try to get the most fitting, the most humorous, or the most questionable shots of each clue!
This one’s fun to do outside, inside (in a house, in a mall, at a party, or a wedding), pretty much anywhere.
Got a better idea? Fabulous! Create a photo safari group at Meetup (find photogs via meetup’s groups or craigslist) to tap into an endless supply of photo buddies when you’re having trouble shaking the dust off your lens. Who says peer pressure is a bad thing?
However you decide to do it, get out there and burn some film (or megabytes) and don’t forget to show us what you find.