Photography challenges are daily practices for strengthening your skills in photography. Every challenge encourages you to use new concepts and techniques that you have never tried before. By leaving your comfort zone, you will learn how to take pictures regardless of the situation.
Top 18 Photography Challenges to Repeat
In this article I’ve compiled a list of challenges suitable for monthly, seasonal and annual projects. They work ideally for beginners who want to improve their skills, get photo inspiration and find new creative ideas. Once the photo shooting is over, you will get lots of fantastic images that can serve as a basis for various photography website design ideas.
1. The Ugly Location Challenge
The ugly location photo challenges push you to find new places for taking pictures. Far from being picturesque, these locations should be ordinary and inconvenient for shooting.
The aim is to use your creative, composition and retouching skills to make a photo look great regardless of the location. Proper posing matters as well.
2. Recreating Iconic Photos Challenge
The easiest way to learn how to become a professional photographer and take amazing photos is to reproduce the works of great masters while training. You don’t need to come up with new ideas as the first step, just try to recreate the most iconic photos taken by famous photographers.
A deep analysis of a photo helps you understand what is great about it and why. Besides, such photography challenges for beginners help you find your own authentic style.
3. Cheap Props Challenge
This interesting challenge upgrades your creative photography skills. Its key point is to use props for your photo. However, you’re limited in budget and can purchase a restricted number of props, let’s say, for $5.
Basically, you can buy 5 different cheap photography props to use them for your photo. The challenge will make you think over all the details in advance. You can go one step further and try to create DIY photography props.
4. Single Color Challenge
One of the most interesting photography series ideas is to use one color for creating different pictures. This is a challenging photography task, as you need to think over your idea in detail. My recommendation is to choose the most fitting objects in terms of shapes and textures to neutralize the lack of colors and create a stunning composition.
5. A-Z Photography Challenge
The A-Z challenge photography is great both for your creativity and ingenuity. You need to find a subject corresponding to each letter. Use the entire alphabet from A to Z and pick all 26 subjects.
If you cannot find a physical object, try with an abstract one, such as Funny for F. The challenge helps you train a photographer’s eye while shooting. Besides, this challenge is quite helpful when you need to find photography ideas at home.
6. Cinemagraph Challenge
The next photography challenge is for those who like both photography and videoclips. Cinemagraph is a shot with the animated parts. The repeated motion looks like it is stuck in a loop. You can import the cinemagraph as a GIF or video.
First, record a video, but pay attention to the subject you want to animate, so that there are no moving elements in the backdrop. Once the video is ready, use cinemagraph software as a final step.
7. Light Painting Challenge
With the light painting technique, you will create a beautiful picture using one of the most challenging photography tricks. Light painting is an art of using artificial lights. As a rule, the shutter is wide open, which allows you to take a long exposure photography. To make your pictures great, decrease the shutter speed to 5 or 10 seconds, moving the light sources in front of the camera.
You can paint various patterns, from long stripes to curved swirls. I recommend wearing black clothes that make you invisible in the shot and focus all the attention on the subject.
8. Timelapse Photography Challenge
Timelapse photography is a great way to showcase a few hours of your life in just a couple of minutes. This way, you see all slow scenes at an accelerated rate, which is especially beneficial for creating photos and videos of cars, clouds or the sunrise.
These photography assignments for beginners will improve your landscape photography skills. To create the final video, use free timelapse software or time lapse apps. In case you don’t want to make a timelapse video, you can enhance a standalone landscape shot.
9. Photo Essay Challenge
Storytelling plays an important role in photography. Learning how to create a photo essay helps you share a story with the help of photos.
Besides, such photography challenges for beginners bring you closer to understanding how changing the camera’s perspective might result in creating various shots, for instance, close-up shots look more intimate than distant ones.
Your main mission is to create a photo series that describes a story without words. I recommend checking out these photo essay examples to take inspiration from them.
10. Photo Zine Challenge
The challenge is similar to creating a photography portfolio and comes in handy if you have a great collection of shots from past photo sessions. You can lay them out and add text descriptions to tell more about your works. Alternatively, try creating a photo layout without text, letting the pictures tell the story for you.
It will help you learn various methods of shooting the same subject, as well as define useful approaches for making your photography series look different.
11. Photo Walk Challenge
A photo walk is a great way of practicing photography, exchanging experiences and meeting new friends and colleagues. To attend such a walk, you need to find an event on the Internet and register.
As a rule, such meetings are free, so all that you need to do is to walk a lot. Such photography exercises help you find new locations, practice portrait and real estate photography, as well as learn new techniques.
12. Self Portrait Photography Challenge
If you are just starting your way in photography, you probably face the problem of finding models. In this case, I recommend you to try self-portrait photography.
Self portrait photography challenges are great for reflecting your inner state and showing your feelings in the shot. You can use these self-portrait ideas for a start. However, make sure to experiment instead of just smoothing your hair or trying to pose.
Aside from the artistic aspect, self-portrait photography will teach you how to recognize good poses for future models.
The only thing you need to have is a tripod with a remote to take the shots.
13. Disposable Camera Challenge
A disposable camera seems to be a nightmare for professional photographers who prefer high-end equipment with a lot of features and settings. Still, using a disposable camera is an excellent opportunity for entertainment.
These online photography challenges were started by Instagram photographers and also work for those who want to try themselves in film photography.
You may be surprised to learn that disposable cameras are available for a reasonable price at small kiosks, gas stations and even pharmacies.
14. Stranger Photography Challenge
Such photography challenges are for brave people, but if you are shy, it’s even more interesting. Come up to the stranger on the street and offer him to be your model. If the person doesn’t mind, you can even ask him to pose. Besides, you can follow the tips of the best street photographers to take pictures in a documentary style.
This challenge teaches you to deal with people. You will realize the importance of this skill when working with professional models. Taking candid pictures, you’ll learn to understand the surrounding atmosphere and find moments worth being captured.
15. Night Photography Challenge
It seems that shooting at night is a tricky process due to the lack of natural light. As it’s not an easy task, it requires patience and preparation. Still, it provides great opportunities, as there are many various interesting night photography ideas that you can use, as well as guides on how to photograph the Moon and city lights.
To overcome difficulties with the light, you can use a camera flash and additional sources of the light. A night photography app will help you to cope with this task as well.
16. Black and White Photography Challenge
Black and white photography is difficult to master, as a photographer needs to start visualizing everything in tones, ignoring colors. You can practice this by taking part in the black and white photography challenge.
Once you stop thinking about colors, you start paying attention to other aspects, such as composition, lighting, texture and contrast. This is where the emotional aspect of the shot comes to force.
17. Smartphone Photography Challenge
This challenge pushes you to put aside the professional camera for a while and take pictures with your phone. Due to the lack of advanced features, you will focus on more important aspects, such as lighting, composition and balance. Plus, you will get fresh photography inspiration ideas.
Over time, you’ll realize that you don’t need an expensive camera for good shots. Mobile photography will teach you to rely on your skills and senses, not the gear. Try using a Photoshop app to edit your photos.
18. 365 Photography Challenge
The 365 photography challenge involves taking different themed shots every day. I recommend writing ideas in advance or use the same theme during the year to see how your skills are improving.
Most photographers choose a simple option and take pictures of themselves every day. After taking 365 photos, it’s easier to notice the changes in your appearance. This method can be used to show the growth of small children. If 365 days is too long for you, start with a month or a week at first.
Freebies for Photography Challenges
Free LR Presets Package
View The Full Collection
The final moment of the photography challenges is photo editing. It can affect a photo for better or worse. To get a beautiful image, I recommend using Lightroom presets for portraits. These filters work for both street and studio photography, making colors look more natural.