Photography Project: 13 Ideas to Practice in 2022 (Step by Step)

Have you ever considered doing a photographic project and don’t know where to start? When a person has been “trapped” in the photographic ocean for some time, past the initial fear, the first learnings and the first frustrations and begins to feel comfortable with his camera, the bug begins to bite him to carry out his own project.

If you are one of these people who has already been stung, be it the bug or the bot πŸ˜‰ , you are interested in staying, because today I am going to tell you the steps you must take to carry out your first photographic project.

Before launching into telling you how to carry out your first photographic project, I think I have to make a small paragraph to explain what it is and how to differentiate it from a series. A photographic project is a set of images that have a beginning and an end, dealing with a specific theme.

The images will be influenced by the personality, culture and way of understanding the world of the person carrying out the project, in this case you. It must have a narrative and aesthetic coherence, and each image must fulfill an objective within it. A photographic project implies effort, patience and dedication.

How is it different from a series? Well, in the complexity, in the preparation, in the message… A series is simply a set of photographs with the same theme. You can use photographs that you had from three years ago and those that you take in four years, to give an example.

It occurs to you to make a series of lampposts, because you collect your photos or every time you go out with your camera you dedicate yourself to photographing them. A project requires much more, planning, methodology, timing…

But don’t get overwhelmed, I’ll tell you and you’ll see that it’s very easy to understand πŸ˜‰

Steps to make a photographic project

1. When

When you feel you need to tell something, share something. It is not about doing a project just because, but because you need to carry it out. Also to wear it as a practical exercise with the intention of improving your technique. To play around, it is simply worth starting with a photographic series, that is, choosing a theme and taking several photographs of the same theme following more or less aesthetic and format coherence. A project requires involvement, time and effort, so you must be clear about what you want to do so as not to throw in the towel at the first opportunity.

2. The Idea

The idea of ​​the project may already be in your head for a while because you are thinking about a specific topic. If so, it is because that topic motivates you enough. If you have to start from scratch, the first and most important thing is that you find a topic that not only motivates you, but with which you want or need to get involved, that is something that touches your heart, that you want to defend, share or denounce, especially especially if it is a social project. But whatever the topic, it has to move you inside so you don’t get discouraged.

For the first project I recommend that you start with something you have on hand. If you intend to photograph the way of life of the North African tribes when you live in Spain and you don’t have a euro to travel, then you will hardly achieve your purpose. Better start by photographing the life of your neighborhood or the urban tribes of your city πŸ˜‰

When it comes to practice, there are several well-known projects, such as 365 days, or 52 weeks. Especially the first one requires a lot of dedication. If it’s your time and he calls you… go ahead! If not, here are some other ideas. And if you feel like you need to tell something but you don’t know what, it may help to think about your favorite books, songs and/or movies, it is very likely that you will find a recurring theme among them. Dig around πŸ˜‰ You can make a project about anything that comes to mind and motivates you!

The origin of the project

3. Documentation and research

You’re not going to get rid of this part. A good photographic project requires that you investigate about it, that you delve into the subject, that you document yourself and know everything (or almost) everything related to it. To be able to tell it you must know it well, it is also the only way to be honest, if you talk (even through your camera) about a subject, you will have to stick as much as possible to its reality, unless your photographic project is a fantasy project that you work between your imagination and your favorite editing program πŸ˜‰ In that case you will have to think if the project is for you or if you want to share it and arouse interest. If you are looking for the latter, before moving on, think about whether there will really be an audience to target.

If the topic is very close to you, such as a self-portrait a day, then you still don’t have to do much research, however, if you want to show “A day in the life of a circus” or “Customs of town X”, to put two examples, yes you should dig a little.

4. Project script and planning

You already have the idea, what the theme of your project is about and what you want to tell. Now it’s time to script it, that is, give the project a title and organize the ideas, define how you are going to tell it, more or less in how many photographs, if the purpose is for an exhibition or a book (these details will mark the way of carrying out the work ), what is the purpose of each photo or the work as a whole. It can help you to make some sketches, it is not necessary that you draw very well, simply that it helps you to establish in advance what and how you want to photograph it. For example, if you want to photograph a day in the life of a singer, it would be good if you first spend a day with her, get to know her habits and then define what scenes and how you want to tell her “her day” of her.

Help yourself with sketches

You can also use an outline of what position the sun will be in at different times of the day in a certain place, the postures you want your model to have or where in the scene you want to place the props you have prepared.

The planning It is the most important thing in a project. Leaving aspects to chance can ruin your work just when you are about to finish it. Tie all the details into this phase of the project.


Another of the most important aspects, which is why I have left it for last, is the timing. You must define how long this project will take you. Be careful not to embark on projects that are too long the first few times, ideally 1-3 months, because the energy ends up being lost and you lose motivation. Little by little you will be able to plan more ambitious projects, there are those who embark on projects that last almost a lifetime! But as I said, to start it is not the most recommended πŸ˜‰

5. Team

You already have the idea, the script of what you want to tell and the plan of how you are going to execute it. With this information, you will need to decide what equipment you need apart from your camera: lenses, lighting, tripod, etc. If you lack some material for what you need to transmit and your economy allows it, take the opportunity to acquire it. If this is not the case, you can try renting, borrowing or readjusting your plan and think about how you can carry it out with the equipment you have. The last thing you need to do is realize all of this the moment you shoot a photo. You must have planned it in advance. Remember that it is not an isolated photo with which you have a wide margin of improvisation, that image is part of a whole, a piece of the puzzle that must fit perfectly with the rest, otherwise it will be incomplete or worse, with a misplaced piece πŸ˜‰

Choose the team

6. Resources

Depending on how ambitious your project is, it is likely that you will have to use certain resources such as models, props, transportation… This is not something that should stop you, however, for a first experience, I recommend that you simplify as much as possible . Once you start, you know what everything is about and you find your own mistakes to be able to correct them, you will be able to set more complex goals for yourself. Step by step the roads are built better πŸ˜‰

7. Capture the idea

Now comes the most exciting part of the project, the one that excites us the most as photography lovers. Shoot, capture the idea that you have in mind and that you have captured on paper. Surely it is the one you enjoy the most, especially if you have done the previous planning work. Otherwise, setbacks can spoil the party πŸ˜‰

8. Selection and editing

This part is usually quite tedious which does not mean that it is less important. In fact, a poor selection can turn what would be a brilliant project into work that goes unnoticed. It’s very important select the images that best convey the idea, that have a Unit, a continuity. Imagine a novel, very well written, fluid, with wonderful descriptions and prose that hooks and yet, on the whole, makes no sense. The images of the project must follow a narrative thread, at the same time that they must have enough strength and history by themselves. They should all fit perfectly, if one doesn’t quite fit and tempts you because you especially like it, don’t risk it. And, if you have doubts, you can always ask for an external opinion. Sometimes we are so immersed that it is difficult for us to see objectively.

Refering to editionsince all the images are part of a set, it is better that you edit them at the same time so that they are as homogeneous possible.

9. Sample

And after all this effort, it’s time to show your work! Perhaps the project was born with a clear idea of ​​how it was going to be shown, or maybe it is something that you have been deciding along the way. If you haven’t already, think about how it will show off the most and where. If you want to publish a book, publish them in an online gallery or mount an exhibition, for example. In this last case you also have to think about what support and size you want to print them to show them. You can also make a video with him, as this man did with his daily self-portraits between 1987-2010:


You dare?

Photo Project Ideas

Come on… so you don’t have excuses, here I propose 13 different ideas to create your first photographic project.

1. One a day for a year

This is a classic. And I think that the most complicated because it can be done too long and maintaining motivation is not always easy. If you are one of those who throw in the towel at the minimum or get tired quickly because they need news, it may not be your best project. Yes it is if you are constant and you like great challenges. Of course, although it requires perseverance, it is a brutal exercise, every day you have to exercise the creative “muscle”. Do you have time? Well go ahead!

2. One a week for a year

This one is somewhat softer and lighter than the previous one. It is also long in time and requires perseverance but you have a whole week to take your photo. It is more relaxed but also exercises creativity and keeps you active. You can set one day a week so as not to get carried away, even if you have room later.

3. Photograph…