Photography challenges are a great way to improve your photography skills, learn new techniques, and discover a whole new world outside of your comfort zone.
If you’re looking for photography challenges that will provide you with new knowledge and inspiration, you’re in the right place! Here are our top 15 photo challenge ideas that will inspire you to start taking photos again.
1. 365 Days of Photography Challenge
The 365 photography challenge encourages photographers to take a photo every single day for 365 days. Even though this project requires long-term commitment, it can completely transform your photography within a year.
Some photographers choose to focus on a specific theme or keyword every day. Others take photos of anything that looks interesting. The key is to capture something new every day. If you do this consistently, you’ll be able to learn something new every day.
If you need support in your 365 photography challenge, make sure to join our 365 Days of Photography Course. Ideal for beginners and intermediate photographers, this video course will introduce you to both technical and creative skills. You’ll learn something new every day for over a year.
2. 52 Week Project
In addition to being one of the most popular photography challenges in the world, the 52 Week Project is an easier alternative to the 365 Days of Photography challenge.
Instead of taking photos every day for a year, you’ll be encouraged to take photos every week for a year. If you’re a busy photographer who can spend only a few hours on photography every week, you might enjoy being a part of this challenge.
We have our own 52 Week Project that you can join today! Every week, we release a new challenge with an educational video. You’ll learn how to take amazing photos of food, people, landscapes, and more. You’ll also learn how to take creative photographs both indoors and outdoors.
In our group, we have an active community of people who love photography and submit their photos on a weekly basis. Join us today to make new friends, improve your creativity, and take your skills to the next level.
3. 30 Day Photo Challenge
If you can’t commit to a long-term project, you can challenge yourself to take a photo every day for 30 days. This is a simplified version of the 365 Days of Photography challenge that is perfect for photographers who feel stuck.
Before you start the 30 Day Photo Challenge, come up with a list of keywords that are relevant to your interests. You can use these keywords, or themes, as inspiration for your daily shoots.
Here are a few ideas:
Landscape photography – green, seasonal, sunshine, moody, black & white.
Pet photography – wide aperture, motion blur, self-portrait with a pet, fast shutter speed.
Street photography – wide shot, close-up, colourful, event, negative space.
4. Local Photo Walk
Photo walks are a fun and easy way to improve your skills, meet fellow photographers, and find inspiration in unexpected places. You can use Meetup or Worldwide Photo Walk to find groups in your area.
Photo walks are usually organized by other photographers, so you can comfortably focus on taking photos in beautiful locations without traveling far from your home. You can use this as an opportunity to teach others what you know and, consequently, strengthen the photography knowledge you already have.
5. No Editing
While there’s nothing wrong with editing images, you might find yourself spending too much time on your favourite editing software. If you often experience analysis paralysis, you might waste hours of your time in front of the computer screen.
For this photography challenge, don’t edit your pictures for a certain period of time. Take a photo of a beautiful landscape without thinking of how you’ll edit it. Try to capture its beauty as it is using your photography skills. Take photos of people without worrying about the retouching process.
Even a short-term commitment to this challenge can help you bring the fun back to photography.
6. Re-Create Famous Photos
There’s a lot we can learn from famous photographers. Instead of just looking at your favourite images, try to re-create them in your own style.
This isn’t about stealing someone’s idea and claiming it as your own. As you re-create other photographers’ pictures, you might discover new ways to capture a subject. You might develop a new appreciation for a shooting style or angle that you used to overlook.
To put it simply, this challenge is ideal for awakening creativity and indirectly learning from professional photographers.
7. Creative Self-Portraits
Self-portrait photography can help you improve your confidence, photography skills, and patience. As a model and photographer, you have to juggle many things during your shoot.
For this photo challenge, you need to focus on the artistic aspect of self-portraiture. Instead of taking a traditional photo in which you’re looking at the camera, capture a more creative side of yourself. This means making use of colourful foregrounds, shooting in an interesting location, or experimenting with different facial expressions.
To make shooting easier, you can purchase a remote that you can use as a shutter button. If your camera has WiFi or a WiFi adapter, you can download a camera app and control your camera settings remotely.
8. Smartphone Photography Challenge
You might not have the opportunity to bring your camera with you everywhere, but your smartphone is probably always with you. Many of today’s smartphone cameras are capable of producing high-quality images and videos. Use this challenge as an opportunity to improve your smartphone photography skills.
One of our Great Big Photography World Podcast guests, Adam Riemer, said that a smartphone camera could help you take unusual photographs and come up with new ideas for your photoshoots.
A smartphone camera’s perspective can help you take photographs that are truly unique. When you master this genre, you’ll be able to take creative photographs no matter what equipment you have!
9. Disposable Film Camera
This is one of the most popular photography challenge ideas that can be a great introduction to film photography. Disposable film cameras are preloaded with film and are meant to be used once. (Although there are ways to reuse them.)
Most disposable cameras are limited to 27 exposures. In addition to being challenged by the photo limit, you’ll also be challenged by the simplicity of disposable cameras. With no preview and very few settings, you’ll be forced to rely on your instincts to take great photographs. Then, it’s just a matter of developing the film and (hopefully) being impressed with your results!
10. One Photo A Day
Compared to the other photo challenges, this one might seem too simple. However, it can significantly improve your patience and help you stay focused during your photoshoots.
One Photo A Day limits you to one photograph. You can only take one image every day. The point of this challenge is to help you stay present for every photograph you take. Instead of taking hundreds of photos mindlessly, you’ll need to make the most of one image.
11. 100 Strangers Challenge
The 100 Strangers Challenge pushes photographers to meet new people in uncontrolled environments. The goal is to photograph 100 strangers on the street.
Many photographers start this project with an intense fear of rejection. The more they photograph, the more fearless they become. When you face your fear of rejection, you’ll find it easier to face other challenges in your life as a photographer. This might include speaking in front of a large audience, starting a new project, or trying a new shooting style.
If you need extra inspiration, check out our interview with Dani Oshi, a professional photographer who took photos of 1,400 strangers in Belgium.
We also have a book written by one of our lead photography instructors about photographing people, which you may find very interesting.
12. The Ugly Location Challenge
The Ugly Location Challenge encourages photographers to approach “ugly” locations in a creative way. There are probably many places in your area that might not look appealing at first sight. If you shoot from the right angle or use the right props, you can make any location look interesting.
For this challenge, make sure to post the following photos side by side:
The location where you had your photoshoot
The results of the photoshoot
This is the perfect challenge for anyone who wants to make the most of their surroundings and find beauty everywhere.
13. Timelapse Video
To create a timelapse video, you need to take a series of photographs at regular intervals. For example, you can take one photo of a busy street every second. You can then put these images together in an editing program to create a timelapse video. (LR Timelapse and Adobe Premiere Pro are great for this.)
Timelapse photography relies on moving elements to work well. If you want to create a striking video, don’t shoot in an empty space. Make sure that you have a main subject, like a building, to focus on. Also, be mindful of changing light. If the weather suddenly changes, you might need to adjust your settings manually to avoid overexposed or underexposed shots.
14. Same Subject, Different Angles
This is a versatile photography challenge that you can work on at any time. Pick one subject to photograph from different angles and in different ways. Make it your goal to take at least 20 unique photos of the same subject, whether it’s a person, an object, or a location.
Here are a few extra photography challenge ideas to keep you inspired:
Use a slow shutter speed to create a motion blur effect. If your subject isn’t moving, intentionally move your camera as you press the shutter.
Get creative with manual mode. Experiment with different filters in your camera. Don’t be afraid to break the rules!
Highlight details by taking close-up shots.
If possible, experiment with different types of light. Natural and artificial light can make a big difference in your work.
Make use of unusual angles. Shoot from high and low angles. Shoot through objects.
15. Photo Essay Series
If you like documentary-style photographs, you’ll love this challenge! Taking pictures is challenging enough. What if you created a series of photos that told a story?
Photo essays are very popular in wedding photography. When you have thousands of event photos, you might find it easier to create a photo series that tells a clear story.
You don’t need to be a wedding photographer to join this challenge, though. Other events with a clear beginning and end are suitable for this photo challenge. Birthday parties, meet-ups, and celebrations can all help you create an unforgettable photo essay of your own.
Learning photography is a journey that you can enjoy every day. Even a little bit of progress is progress. If you commit to any of these projects today, imagine how much more skilled you’ll be a week, a month, or even a year from now.
Most photo challenges can be tweaked and changed according to your preferences. Even if you’re a hobbyist photographer, you can make adjustments based on your interests. Don’t be afraid to experiment, ask for constructive criticism, and challenge yourself to learn something new every day.
Our community has fun projects, such as the 365 Project and the 52 Week Project, that you can join right now. You’ll find all the resources you need to successfully complete your project there. Discover a whole new world of photography challenge ideas and inspiration with us!