Weekend photography projects are a great way to try something new, or improve a certain skill, in a very short space of time. Like many of you, I live a busy life working behind a computer and a camera, that it’s often hard to dedicate time to photography for the fun of it.
That’s why I like weekend photography projects.
Over the course of a weekend I can pick up a new skill, or experiment with a new style.
I’ve always been much better at learning by doing, rather than studying, so I like to pick up my camera, use my knowledge, and have at it.
Here’s 10 weekend photography projects you can try.
I’m a big lover of film photography, and I can’t think of many professional photographer friends of mine who aren’t. Here’s my two main reasons I still shoot on film:
1: There’s just something about the feel of a film photo that gets me excited. There’s just so much variation. Every film, every speed, has a different look to it. The look of each photo also changes again depending on how you process it, and who’s processing it.
It’s taken me a few years to find film I like, and someone who processes it the way I like, but it’s been a fun journey, and one I suggest you go on too.
2: When you shoot on film, you don’t get to see the photo you’ve taken for at least a few hours. To many this may seem annoying, but to professional photographers, it’s a welcome relief, and often a nice surprise. You think more carefully before taking each photo, and as soon as it’s taken, you stop thinking about it.
When shooting digital photos, how often do you take 10 photos of the same thing? This rarely happens on film these days.
Macro photography is used to make really small stuff appear big in the frame, sort of like how a magnifier works. You need certain lenses to accurately pull off macro photos, but you can still produce good results with a telephoto lens.
It’s the sort of thing that really needs to be tried to understood, that’s why I suggest dedicating a weekend to it. It also helps if you have a flash, but that’s not essential.
Macro photography isn’t a style that really suits me, but it’s fun to try, none the less.
Urban Exploration Photography (urbanex for short) is the art of finding old and abandoned buildings and locations, exploring them, and taking photos as you go.
It’s exciting, potentially dangerous, legally ambiguous, and a lot of fun.
Not only do you get to take photos of a really cool location, that very few people have taken photos of before, but you get to do it with your friends. You don’t have to be interested in photography to be interested in urban exploration. When I last went out on an Urban Exploration Photography trip, I took a friend who has no interest in photography (one of my trips would typically bore them), and they had a great time exploring an old boarding school.
This is some of the most fun I’ve had practicing photography.
Product photography is one of those things that looks difficult and expensive, but in reality, a hobbyist can take near-professional looking photos on a very small budget.
It can be tricky at first, but you can actually get some amazing results with just a few home materials, which Pinterest is amazing at. When I look for tutorials on a budget, I always head there first. Check this out.
Also, you can follow me on Pinterest here.
You can learn from a professional product photographer here.
HDR photography is a style of photography that’s become very popular over the past few year. It’s famous for being waaay over processed, and over saturated, and has been dubbed by some to look like ‘clown vomit’. However, that’s one extreme end of the spectrum.
When done correctly, HDR photography can look very natural, and almost unnoticeable. It’s all about seeing more in the photo than the camera (and sometimes your eyes) will allow for.
Time-lapse is a cross between photography and videography.
You take a series of photos, over a long period of time, and then you put them together to form a video. It can produce some really stunning results and it’s a good bridge for those of you looking to get more involved in video.
A video typically takes 30 frames over the space of a second. With time-lapse, you can set this to whatever you like, for example, one photo a second. You then take these photos, and speed them up so that they play as a video. This way you can easily capture long periods of time, over a short video, say 30 seconds in every second.
Panoramas can produce some awe inspiring photos, providing the viewer with a much wider viewing angle than they would typically see, either from a photo, or their eyes. You can create small panoramas, merging just three photos, or go the full 360, and produce miniature globes like in this post here.
A weekend of panoramas should be enough time to take in all the information you need to start taking excellent panoramas.
I recommend using PhotoMerge in Photoshop CS6 for stitching them all together.
Do you sometimes get nervous taking photos of people in public? Perhaps street photography scares you sometimes? We’ve all been there.
Some people go out of their way to take photos of strangers, and this is what this project is all about. Walk up to a stranger, and ask to take the photo.
One of the best examples of this is Humans of New York, which is a tremendously popular page on Facebook, about a man who goes out every day and takes photos of interesting looking people in New York. The results speak for themselves.
Damn I wish I thought of that first.
Freelensing is a relatively inexpensive way of getting the similarly unique effect of an expensive tilt-shift lens, where the focus plane is thrown out of whack with the added bonus of natural light leaks.
The idea behind a tilt-shift lens is tilting the lens at an angle to the sensor to change the orientation of the plane of focus (PoF). The technique of freelensing, not only gives you the ability to change the PoF, but it also gives you some pretty cool light leaks from not having the lens actually attached to the camera.
It typically involves breaking a part a lens, but as the lens isn’t actually attached to the camera, you can use any old lens and do it on the cheap. 50mm lenses seem to work best though.
Part of the reason that I like shooting from the hip so much is because I’m a big fan of candid photography, and shooting from the hip is a great way to go unnoticed. I’m also really starting to enjoy street photography which is influenced greatly by where you hold your camera and how you use it.