Photography Projects: How To (Realistically) Choose Your Subject
September 3, 2013
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Whether you're brainstorming ideas for a weekly assignment or for a graduate-level installation, picking the perfect photography projects to tackle takes more than passion and interest. Be practical! Here are five realistic concerns that you should contemplate before you stock your camera bag.
1. Subject Availability
You've fallen in love with a concept, an idea, or a vision. Now you need to make sure it's available to photograph on your schedule. If you're documenting starry skies over the desert, are you willing to be up all night for your art? If you're capturing the life of a high school cheerleader, can you be at her school during practices, games and other cheerleading events often enough to tell the entire visual story?
2. Lighting Concerns
Some photography projects are greatly enhanced—or diminished—based on the lighting that's available. If you're photographing the rise of a local rock band, you'll be shooting in dim bars and under unpredictable stage lighting. Are you technically capable of pulling it off? Challenging yourself is fine; just don't set yourself up to fail.
3. Overall Expense
You've got the gear—you even splurged on a new telephoto lens—and you have a budget for printing your final project. But have you considered the cost of travel and fuel, as well as the time you'll be absent from your day job in order to present your project? If you'll be showcasing your work at a gallery, you'll need to budget for hall rental, catering of hors d'oeuvres and the cost of a new outfit for your big debut.
4. Realistic Timeline
It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of an interesting long-term project. The impact! The results! The creativity! But can you really get the work done by the specified due date? The world of paid career photography revolves around deadlines, whether you work for a local newspaper, a global magazine or a nationally renowned greeting card company. Choose photography projects that you know you can complete on time, whether that means in five days or five months.
5. Technical Challenges
Dream big, but within the confines of your gear. If you're dying to showcase the best surfers along the Pacific Coast Highway, you'll need waterproof housings and underwater lighting gear to get the intimate images you're hoping to create. And you can only get one perspective with a 600 f2.8 while perched on the safety of a nearby lifeguard stand.
Now, go do it! Preparing for a substantial photography project doesn't have to be intimidating or difficult; it simply requires planning and organization. Pick the subject that fits your schedule, your abilities and your budget to be successful.
Image Source: SXC.HU