50 Photography Ideas to Improve Your Photography

Are you stuck in a photographic rut? Are you looking to boost your creativity with new photography ideas?

There are so many different photography techniques out there. Where do you start?

Look no further. We have compiled a list of 50 of the most interesting photography ideas, ranging from simple post-production edits to day-long projects.

You’re sure to find something to whet your appetite, so join us as we run down our top 50 techniques.

1. Reflections

Reflections work because they can create symmetry in your photos. Photo by Franck CHARLES

The use of reflections in your photography can add gorgeous depth and structure to your images.

They can turn average landscapes and cityscapes into something extraordinary. Use a wide-angle lens to capture a wider field of view, for full effect.

But don’t limit yourself to photographing lakes or rivers; puddles in city streets, fountains or even small ponds can give great reflection results.

More information on reflections.

2. Look for Shadows

A man walking captured just with his shadow.
Add anonymity to an image by just showing the shadow of your subject.

Shadow photography is a great way to add drama, mystery, and emotion to your portrait photography.

You can add anonymity to an image if you isolate the shadow alone, without showing the subject (as in the image above). You can use shadows of any subject to create this kind of effect.

More information on shadow photography.

3. Shoot during the Golden Hour

Professionals shoot during the golden hour for a reason. You get the best lighting for your photography.

The golden hour is the hour after sunrise or before sunset.

Taking photos during this time adds a beautiful diffused warm hue to your images. It also extends shadows as the sun is at a lower point in the sky.

In addition, the golden hour allows a more even exposure, which enhances depth and detail in your subjects.

More information on golden hour photography.

4. Shoot a Self Portrait

A self-portrait taken in black and white
Use your camera creatively to shoot a self-portrait.

Achieving a quality self-portrait with a camera, not a smartphone, can be quite difficult.

However, there are various tips and tricks to taking good self-portraits. We often don’t get to see the person behind the camera, so it is great for the photographer to be able to present themselves in images.

5. Underwater Photography

An underwater photograph of a sea turtle - a lovely photography idea
Dive underwater to capture another world.

A beautiful way to capture a snapshot of another world is through underwater photography. It is is one of the most challenging photography ideas, however, it is also very rewarding.

The purchase of protective camera casing, or a specialist camera, is a must for this. Plus, you might consider purchasing color-corrective filters to enhance the vividness and color accuracy of the scene.

Related Article: Best waterproof underwater cameras

6. Catch a Sunset

A photo of a beautiful sunset over a city - another great photography idea
Cityscape at sunset has the perfect mix of shadowy foreground and colorful background.

Following on from the golden hour, a sunset offers some of the most beautiful photography. It works particularly well when dark silhouettes are in the foreground, such as a skyline, mountain or trees in a forest.

This photography idea enhances the overall structure of your image, as well as creating a stunning distinction between a vivid, colorful background and a darker, shadowy foreground.  

7. Water Droplets

A water droplet landing in a lake - a great photography idea
It takes patience to capture the perfect water droplet image. Photo by Arek Socha from Pixabay.

Water droplet photography is a stunning way to capture a single moment in time. The reflections, colors, ripples, and shapes that droplets create are unique and beautiful to look at.

Taking the perfect water droplet image takes a lot of patience, perseverance and waiting for the right moment. However, once captured, you have a one-of-a-kind image of suspended time.

8. Seek out Frames

Framing works because they can guide your viewer towards the subject.

Framing your subject with a natural frame in an image is a great way to create a subtle 3D effect. Natural frame photography works best when the ‘frame’ and the inner image differ greatly in color, texture, light, and tone. This draws the viewer’s eyes to both the frame and the central image.

Be creative; you can frame images with architecture, flora, landscape and even human hands.

More information on natural framing.

9. Steel Wool Photography

A man spins steel wool set alight to create light effects
Steel wool photography can create some amazing effects.

This long exposure technique creates such unique and interesting effects. But safety is key, as you will literally be playing with fire. The stark contrast between the dark shadowy background and the bright vivid colors from the steel wool are breathtaking.

10. Shallow Depth of Field

Creative use of aperture to create a shallow depth of field helps to isolate your subject from the background and foreground elements. You can also use it to create a beautiful bokeh effect. Use a lower f-number, from f1.8 to f5.6, to achieve this shallow depth of field. It gives a beautiful effect that is eye-catching to look at.

11. Creative Shutter Speed

Use a slower Shutter Speed to capture light trails.

Slowing down or increasing the shutter speed on your camera is a great way to add light trails or freeze action in your images.

Altering your shutter speed adjusts the amount of time your subject is exposed to light. You can create light trails from moving subjects by slowing down the speed. Alternatively, increase the speed to freeze a shot with no blur–creating a suspended moment in time.

12. Try out Aerial Photography

Drone photography gives a unique perspective and is a sure way to reignite your photography passions.

Aerial photography is a great way to gain an entirely new perspective on a subject. It is perfect for travel, city and landscape photography. It is usually captured via a drone and takes a lot of practice to perfect. However, once achieved, the result is stunning and definitely worth the effort.

More information on aerial photography.

13. Shoot Wide Angle

From landscapes to architecture, wide-angle lenses are perfect for capturing vast sceneries.

Using a wide-angle lens for photography is particularly useful if you are shooting interiors, architecture, or vast landscapes. Make sure you have a clear subject in your framing to draw the viewer’s eye. Otherwise, you will be getting a dull photo.

Related Article: Best Canon Wide Angle Lenses

14. Focus on Fine Detail with Macro

A macro photograph of a butterfly sat on a pink flower - a great photography idea
Hone in on small details with macro photography. Photo by jggrz from Pixabay.

Macro photography is the art of taking extreme close-up photographs of small detail or subjects such as insects, small animals, raindrops or flower petals. You can buy specialist lenses for Macro but check if your current lens has a Macro focal range indicated.

15. Capture Stunning Seascapes

A seascape during sunset

Capturing the perfect seascape takes time, perseverance and patience. You’ll need to think about the type of lens you use, lighting, and the time of day you take the shot, plus any flora or fauna that may be included your scene.

16. Cityscape

The skyline of New York city

Stunning cityscape photography can convey the feel of a city; as soon as you see a famous skyline, a city is instantly recognizable. Try different viewpoints and plan to shoot during the golden hour for an impactful shot.

17. Street Photography

A man looking into the camera while taking a street photo.

Street photography differs from cityscapes, in that it focuses on the day-to-day life of the city itself. This can include the streets, residents, and even transport. It provides us with a unique first-person perspective and insight into the lives of those living in that city.

18. Add a Texture Overlay

A photo of a man with a leaf texture overlay
Use a texture overlay can add deep meaning to an image. Photo by David Beneš on Unsplash.

Overlay your images with textures at the post-processing stage to give your images an edge. It works best with an unusual texture, such as cracked concrete, paint dabs or even water ripples. The separate photo of the texture is added over the top of your original image using PhotoShop.

More information on texture overlays. More Photoshop tutorials.

19. Candid Photos

A black and white photo of people's legs on a subway train - a great  photography idea
Capture the natural story with candid documentary photography. Photo by engin akyurt from Pixabay.

Candid photography is a beautiful way to capture the lives of others from a unique and interesting perspective. It tells a natural story of subjects and their everyday lives, which can often go ignored.

20. Mirrors

A photo of a mirror illusion showing escalators in a shopping mall - another great photography idea
Reflections in mirrors can create fun illusions in photography. Photo by Ivy Barn on Unsplash.

Mirror reflection is a fun way to produce a unique perspective of your subjects. Look for unusual angles or symmetry to add impact.

More information on mirror illusions.

21. Selective Color Effect

A selective color selection of 2 people in yellow raincoats stood in front of a black and white waterfall - a great photography idea
Make colors pop in your photo with color selection. Photo by Pexels from Pixabay.

Color selection involves leaving a colorful subject and making the rest of the image black and white. The isolated subject in a bright color helps to draw the viewer’s attention

22. Artistic Filters

A photograph of an old man that has been edited with artistic filters
Add impact to images with filters in post-production. Photo by ArtTower from Pixabay.

A great way to add extra impact to your images is to use an artistic filter in post-production. There is a wide range of different filters available. You can take your pick from painting effects, sketching, oil pastels and ink work effects.

23. Time Slice

A time slice photo of Melbourne cityscape
Cityscapes are ideal subjects for time slice photography. Photo by nicmuller from Flickr.

Time composition photography, aka ‘time slice’ photography, is when you take multiple photos of the same subject, in the same location and angle, at varying times of the day. You then split the images into sections. These strips of photos are then combined together to create a gradient image of time.

More inspirational time composition photos.

24. Time Suspension

A man suspended mid air thanks to a fast shutter speed
Increase your shutter speed to freeze action. Photo by Harry Quan on Unsplash.

Time suspension, or freeze-framing, an image can be easily achieved by simply using faster shutter speed. This can also freeze any action; minimizing blur and movement. It is a great way to capture brief, fleeting moments that may otherwise be missed.

More information on time suspension.

25. Capture the Joys of Motherhood

A black and white photo of a mother holding her baby's feet
Capture the joys of motherhood with your camera. Photo by one_life from Pixabay.

The subject of motherhood is such a beautiful theme for photography. Capturing the trials and tribulations of this special time is a fabulous way to convey raw emotion and feelings. Maternity, newborn and kids’ photography all play a part in this genre.

26. Create the Perfect Panorama

A panoramic photography view of a city and bay area
Cityscapes or landscapes make perfect panoramas. Photo by Ralph Nas from Pixabay.

Panoramic photography is a great way to capture sweeping vistas. You can include as much of your surroundings as possible with the use of specialized photography equipment or by stitching photos in post-processing.

27. Silhouette

A silhouette photo of a person stood on a beach at sunset - a great photography idea
Shoot silhouettes on vivid backgrounds so they stand out. Photo by Public Co from Pixabay.

Silhouettes are the perfect way to add anonymity, drama, and mystery to an image. Similar to shadows, silhouette photography works best with vivid, colorful backgrounds so that the silhouette stands out. To take a silhouette shot, expose your camera to a bright area in your scene and re-compose to take the shot. The camera will then properly expose for the bright area, leaving the silhouette subject in dark.

28. Seek out Symmetry

Symmetry is one of the basic photography composition tools that help to simplify the scene. You can either aim for vertical or horizontal symmetry.

29. Juxtaposition

An aerial photo of sea and sand next to each other
Add story to a shot by juxtaposing 2 subjects in one image. Photo by Micha Sager from Pixabay.

Juxtaposition is when you capture two contrasting subjects in the same frame. Which helps to highlight the differences between those subjects.

Juxtapositions can include social themes such as young and old, rich and poor, or healthy and ill. However, simple topics work too, for example; dark and light, bright and dull, or smooth curves and sharp edges.

30. Smoke Bomb Photography

A woman smiles holding red and a green smoke plumes

Smoke bomb photography is becoming very popular these days. The colored smoke can be used to create mood, atmosphere, or to add mystery to your photos.

More information on photobomb photography

31. Picception

A photo of a woman's head on a plate next to wooden cutlery
Picception is supposed to confuse the viewer. Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash.

One of the main purposes of ‘picception’ is to playfully confuse the viewer. It encourages them to look closer at your image. There are various forms of picception, some can be created in the shot itself, for example by using reflective surfaces, while others are created at the editing stage.

32. Paint with Light

A photo of 6 people who have spelled out the word smile with light
A torch and a long exposure are all you need to paint with light. Photo by Jill Wellington from Pixabay.

Light art and painting with light, is a creative way to add words, light bursts, shapes, or capture fireworks in your images.

This photography idea works best with a dark background so that the illumination is more vivid. All you need is a torch or different colored lights, and long exposure.

33. Panning

A panning photo of a speeding cyclist at night
Pan with your subject to create background motion blur while freezing your subject in motion. Photo by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay.

Panning is a photography technique that creates the illusion of motion in your shot. Simply set a slow shutter speed and sweep your hand steadily to follow the subject as you take the shot.

This will create a sharp subject and a blurred background.

34. Focus on Different Age Ranges

A black and white photograph of an elderly woman with her hands over her face
Add emotion to your images by capturing subjects at different stages in their lives. Photo by Pexels from Pixabay.

Capturing people at key ages and stages in their lives is a great photographic idea. It adds depth and emotion to your images. One idea would be to focus on the elderly, babies or children. You can tell stories of your subject’s life through this imagery.

35. Delve into Duotone

An pink example of duotone photography using flowers and bottles
Make your image stand out using duotone editing. Photo by monicore from Pixabay.

Duotone is a great way to bring up the mid-tones of an image. It involves post-production edits to superimpose two contrasting color halftones on top of each other.

36. Capture Humanity

A photo of a soldier talking to young children in a  war zone
Showing humanity in all its forms is an important photographic concept. Photo by skeeze from Pixabay

The theme of humanity, social or economic climates, and the world we live in today is an important photographic concept. You can present subjects in ways that could potentially influence your viewer’s opinion for both good or bad. This is a powerful skill to master.

37. Still Life Photography

Still life photographs are a great way to take everyday items and make them look beautiful and interesting. Your arrangement of subjects, lighting, and angles are very important in this genre.

38. Food Photography

A food photo showing a platter of crackers and fruit on a table with herbs and cutlery

The essence of good food photography is to make the subject of your photo look appetizing. This genre is highly sought after in restaurants and bars across the world.

39. Star Trails

A photo of star trails over a field
Stunning star trails will add the wow factor to your shots. Photo by Free-Photos from Pixabay.

Star trails are a stunning way to make your photography stand out from the crowd. To create them, you’ll need a long exposure and avoid light pollution. You have to track the movement of stars in relation to the rotation of the earth.

40. Photograph Seasons

A photo of of an Autumnal forest road
Tracking the changing seasons is a good way o show the passage of time. Photo by Valentin Sabau from Pixabay.

Incorporate the changing seasons into your photography to add some color. Spring, summer, autumn, and winter offer great opportunities for photography

41. Pet Photography

A white puppy sat on the beach with a white, adult Boxer dog

Pet photography is a great way to showcase the cheeky characteristics of our fluffy friends. It can tell their stories and provide insight into their lives.

More information on pet photography.

42. Create Beautiful Bokeh

Light bokeh effect achieved behind a fence - another great photography idea

Bokeh is basically how your lens perceives out of focus points of light. This sought after effect is a favorite of portrait photographers because it helps to get rid of unwanted background distractions and is visually pleasing.

43. Play with Light Prisms

A photo of a woman near a neon street sign, with a light prism creating a strobing effect - a great photography idea
Prisms can add unique effects to your images. Photo by Tan Kaninthanond on Unsplash.

Use a prism to bend light in your images to create unique effects. They can be used to create a subtle color, blur and shape effects across your images. Prism photography is quite a simple process, but the results can be beautiful.

44. Tell a Story

A photo of a pair of glasses looking at a book with only the text in the lenses in focus
Use your photography to tell a story. Photo by Free-Photos from Pixabay.

One can argue that photography is storytelling. Your main objective in telling stories through photography is to visually convey a story to your viewers. You can tell stories of people, landscapes or even hidden worlds.

More information on storytelling.

45. Dabble in Double Exposure

A double exposure photo of a man's silhouette with a cityscape inside his head
Use double exposure to tell two sides of one story. Photo by Alex wong on Unsplash.

Double exposure is an editing technique that combines 2 different images into one. You can tell two sides of one story in a single image. The end results are beautiful and unique.

More information on double exposure.

46. Mini Globe Panoramas

A cityscape turned into a mini globe panorama
See a scene in a whole new way with a mini globe panorama. Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

Mini globe panorama photography is the perfect way to contain an entire vista into one image. Panoramic globes are created through the use of a panorama setting or specialized equipment. It is a unique way of seeing the world and quite simple to create.

More information on mini globe panoramas.

47. Dazzle with the Droste Effect

The Droste effect on a photo of a computer within a computer
Confuse your viewers with the Droste Effect. Photo by R.J. Hertling from Pixabay.

The Droste Effect is a really exciting way to present a subject.

It is simple to achieve in post-production and is an easy way to make a mundane image pop. The Droste Effect applies a repetitive photographic sequence of the same image, to confuse the viewer.

More information on the Droste Effect.

48. Time-Lapse Photography

A time-lapse photo of a beach at sunset - a great photography idea
Shoot time-lapse photography to show both stillness and movement simultaneously. Photo by Pexels from Pixabay.

Time-lapse photography is a great way of showing continuous movement in a single shot. Simply shoot a range of photos of the same subject, at the same angle over a period of time, then fit them together at the post-processing stage.

The finished image will show a scene that is simultaneously at a standstill, while also appearing to move quickly.

49. Get Creative with Filters

A grayscale filter used on a photo of a lighthouse - a great photography idea
Use creative filters like grayscale to add interest to your shots. Photo by Tony Naccarato on Unsplash.

Photography post-production doesn’t just have to be about adjusting contrast, brightness or saturation; you can add filters too. Creative filters such as grayscale, pop art, paint, cartoon or sketch can add a unique flair to your images.

More information on creative filters.

50. Try Hyperfocal Distance

A photo of a man sitting on a hill looking out at a mountain range
Hyperfocal distance helps you achieve the maximum depth of field for a given focal length. A very helpful tool to master in landscape photography.

The hyperfocal distance is the distance at which you focus your camera to maximize the depth of field, e.g. to get both the background and foreground in focus.

More information on hyperfocal distance.

Conclusion

We hope that this article has inspired you to go out, experiment and create your own spectacular photography.

Have you tried any of these techniques? What were the results? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

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