52 photography projects: a photo idea to try every week of the year

52 photography projects: a photo idea to try every week in 2015!

Taking on a photography project is a great way to get yourself out of a photography rut and to bring some focus to your picture-taking. Placing some constraints on what you’re going to take photos of or what camera gear you’ll use really does force you to become more creative, too.

52 photography projects: a photo idea to try every week of the year

We’ve prepared 52 fantastic photo ideas – one for every week in 2015. These are split into three sections: easy home projects you can do today, ideas you can try outdoors at the weekend and a series of ongoing photo projects that you can start now but keep topping up in the coming weeks and months.

We’ve also added a sprinkling of links to other project ideas and photo tips and techniques to try in 2015. Bookmark this page and you’ll never be short of inspiration…

SEE MORE: 77 photography techniques, tips and tricks for taking pictures of anything

Home photography projects

52 photo ideas: photography projects for 2015 - water drops
Photography project 01: water drop art
The basic idea with this project is to suspend a container of liquid and let drops fall through a small hole, then capture the resulting splash. Timing the shutter as the splash is created is everything. We achieved good results using two flashguns set to their lowest power (1/128th), an aperture of f/22 and water mixed with Xanthan gum to make a more viscous solution. We also used a SplashArtKit from phototrigger which helped to regulate the size and frequency of the drops.

SEE MORE: 5 cool water drop photography ideas and 1 really simple set-up

52 photo ideas: photography projects for 2015 - indoor splash shots
Photography project 02: indoor splash shots
For this project you’ll need a flashgun that you can fire remotely, a container with clear sides for your water, a coloured background and a tripod. Set up the container and backdrop, then position the flash over the container. With the camera on a tripod and set to manual focus and exposure – f/8, ISO 200 and the fastest shutter speed that will work with your flash – drop the object into the water and fire the shutter as it hits.

SEE MORE: Splash photography: how to freeze motion and capture split-second action

52 photo ideas: photography projects for 2015 - smoke art
Photography project 03: smoke art
Smoke trails are a firm favourite among still-life photographers. But how about taking it to the next level and using the shapes in a creative Photoshop project. Once you’ve taken a few good smoke art photos, make a blank document in Photoshop, then copy and paste one of the smoke images into it. Set the blending mode to Screen and use Warp Transform to reshape it. Continue the process to combine a range of smoke shots into a new image.

52 photo ideas: photography projects for 2015 - cross-polarisation
Photography project 04: cross-polarisation
This fun project exploits the effect that polarised light has on some plastics. You’ll need two polarising filters – ideally one of these should be a sheet of polarising film. You can pick up an A4 sheet of Lee 239 polarising film for £50 (try www.robertwhite.co.uk or www.pnta.com). The sheet of film should be placed on a lightbox or in front of the only light source. An iPad screen and most computer screens have a polarising filter built in, so if you don’t have a sheet of polarising film you can always experiment by creating a white document to fill the screen. Simply attach the circular polariser to the camera lens and rotate it to make the colours appear in clear plastic items.

52 photo ideas: photography projects for 2015 - food adventures
Photography project 05: food landscapes
Spice up your food photography! All you need is a set of model figures – Hornby 00 gauge figures are perfect, as they’re available in a wide range of poses. Preiser has a great range too. The most important aspect is to establish a sense of narrative. Here you can see that there’s a conversation between the characters, with the mountaineer on the ‘mash face’ being helped by his colleagues on the ground.

SEE MORE: DIY Photography Hacks: make a table-top studio for easy still life photography

52 photo ideas: photography projects for 2015 - fine-art food
Photography project 06: fine-art food
Try turning your dinner ingredients into photo art using just a lightbox and a very sharp knife. Slice fruit and vegetables as thinly and evenly as possible, then place them on the lightbox. With the camera positioned directly above, use Live View to focus manually on the details. Set an aperture of f/8 to give adequate depth of field, and dial in some exposure compensation of +1 to +3 stops as the bright light can fool the camera’s meter into underexposure.

SEE MORE: Fine art photography: what you need to shoot amazing photo projects at home

52 photo ideas: photography projects for 2015 - flowers in ice
Photography project 07: flowers in ice
A relatively inexpensive way of taking ‘kitchen sink’ close-ups that look great blown up as wall art. Freeze flowers in plastic containers of distilled or de-ionised water (available through your local auto or hardware store). The flowers will float, so try to weigh them down or fasten them in place so that they freeze under the water. Place the block of ice on top of a clear bowl or glass in a white sink or plate, so that the light can bounce through from below. Position a flashgun off to one side, angled down towards it, and shoot from the opposite side.

SEE MORE: Frozen flower photography: the perfect rainy day photo project

52 photo ideas: photography projects for 2015 - oil abstracts
Photography project 08: abstracts in oil
Oil floating on the surface of water is a great way to make striking abstracts. This table-top photo project exploits the refractive quality of oil and bubbles to accentuate and distort colours. All you need to do is place a few drops of cooking oil on the surface of water in a glass dish. Make sure the dish is supported about 25cm about the table top, then place coloured paper under it and use an anglepoise lamp or flashgun to light the paper.

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  • K33NY

    For the fine art-food, theres a better way to make it even pop more, use a coffee table of glas, put a white paper under, put the food on the table and use a flash from underneath and make the flash shoot through the white paper, you get the food so much better looking :)

  • Luis

    Fascinating indeed K33NY, thanks a lot for the advice, I’m trying this one for sure!

  • Excellent tip! Thanks for sharing.

  • jimphoto

    love the white background when you do that technique. Also good to use black background for contrast (with light from side or above of course!)

  • jimphoto

    lots of great projects ideas here! I personally just finished a Photo 52 with inspiration from the Learn Photo365 app, which is also full of great and creative ideas! Thanks for the inspiration! And good luck to anyone taking on the challenge!

  • disqus_ysqeyluCPB

    Can you provide an example with a lighting diagram K33NY?

  • Thanks for the cool ideas. And I particularly like that they don’t seem to come with many special equipment stuff that one needs to get before even thinking about starting… So I’ll definitively try a few of them over time.

  • my zoomlenses would all fall down and won’t keep hanging that way. I almost thought it could be something for me : only my 100mm macro won’t do that I think. I really miss my old 50mm macro for inside the house!

    (15-85 IS USM)

  • nice

  • Tm_kearney

    Can my son use your 52 project ideas and the information you have provided to do his senior project on photography. Of course the reason I am asking is we have to list references not to mention he is not a photographer which I guess is the reason they are suppose to choose something they are not familiar with and learn something. Your sight is great. I myself love photography and have learned a lot from your site.
    Thanks for sharing your project ideas !!! They are wonderful !!!

  • sunny

    Great ideas! I wish they were in a printable list so I could carry them with me…. :)

  • Brionix

    How do I get some of these articles in print?