Everyone that shoots Street knows that passion and drive alone are not enough to keep one going for years and years. There are times when the will is not enough because of lack of purpose. This is something that is apparent in many things in life.
Our brains need goals in order to make our life experiences interesting. In Street Photography there comes a point when just hitting the streets and shooting random photos, is not enough no matter how good the photographs. Without purpose the experienced Street Photographer’s eyes can’t see interesting situations.
Why is that?
All three reasons stated below are mine and mine alone. That means that you might not agree with them or find them somewhat not to your liking. Then again, you might agree with them 100%. What is important to me is to explain to you the reasons why I Street Photographers stop “seeing” as they used to when they initially started practicing the art. So, in my opinion:
- The experienced Street Photographer isn’t attracted to the cliches any more, so naturally fewer shots are fired aimed towards simple everyday situations that offer nothing new. This makes the daily image count decrease significantly. Sometimes this is misconceived as a lack of inspiration, but it is not. It is just the natural evolution of the Street Photographer who is now in search for more unique images. Photos that stand out and can never be repeated.
- The experienced Street Photographer is no longer ecstatic about clicking the shutter button from the minute he/she steps out into the streets. The Street Photographer doesn’t shoot without being sure of why he/she is doing so anymore. The period of taking 1000 photographs per photo walk is over. If a shot isn’t worth capturing the Street Photographer doesn’t bother with it. His/her natural evolution has made him/her count on skill and patience to make images and not so much on just blind luck and a trigger happy finger.
- The experienced Street Photographer needs more out of each photo walk. He/she has the need for something bigger, something that will make him/her go out again the next day and the next. Something that grows and evolves, something with a continuum. Something that will help him/her grow his/her body of work in a meaningful way. What the experienced Street Photographer needs is a purpose and for one to have a purpose, one must have projects.
What is this post about?
In this post I will not examine the reasons why projects in Street Photography are an important stepping stone in a Street Photographer’s path. What I will be sharing with you is the big fat list of 45 Street Photography project ideas that I have made for myself and which I think you will enjoy too. I have been working on this list for months and I think it is now ready to share but there is always room for more ideas!
List of Street Photography project ideas
All ideas are presented in random order, just as they came to me. I have added some short descriptions to help you understand the nature of each idea.
Photos of people enjoying their food as freely as possible. The sloppier the better.
- Looking down
Photos of people looking down from balconies and windows.
Photos of interesting corners shot with a wide angle lens, revealing life as it unfolds in the streets on both sides of the corner.
- People on the job
People doing their everyday jobs.
Photos of peoples faces mainly. The photos can be posed.
Photos of moving subjects shot at medium to slow shutter speeds with low ISO that give a sense of movement.
- High speed freeze
The opposite of Panning, shoot people at very high shutter speeds and try and freeze split seconds in time.
- Hands full
Photos of hands full of anything. For example hands with coins, hands with dirt, hands with a tablet, a smartphone, etc.
- Project 365 or Project 52
A 365 project is to add 1 Street Photo to your collection every day. A 52 project is the same thing but on a weekly basis.
- 30 Day Project One Camera & One Lens
For 30 days, use only One Camera & One Lens to make photographs.
- Smiles with Braces
Capture people wearing braces smiling.
- Motion Blur crowds
Set up your cameras on tripods (sorry there is no other way around this, unless you have solid, motionless hands) and shoot crowded places with very slow shutter speeds.
- Behind glass
Make photos of people and situations behind glass. That glass can be coloured, shattered, anything.
- Shoot the same corner of your town every day for 1 year
Every day shoot a corner of your choice and document the different happenings that occur there and make a collection of photos.
- 30 days of B&W only
Make black and white photographs for 30 days. No colour allowed. If you shoot digital, shoot B&W jpgs, not RAW because RAW retains colour information. If you shoot film, just use B&W film.
- 30 days of a specific colour
Pick a colour, any colour and focus on making photos that include it as the main focal point. Do this for 30 days.
- Project 28 (28 days, 28 photos, 28mm lens)
I read about this somewhere and I liked the idea. For 28 days, shoot 28 photographs using a 28mm lens.
- Project 35 (35 days, 35 photos, 35mm lens)
For 35 days, shoot 35 photographs using a 35mm lens.
- Project 50 (50 days, 50 photos, 50mm lens)
For 50 days, shoot 50 photographs using a 50mm lens.
- Reflections (in Puddles, glass, water)
Make a collection of photographs from reflections in puddles, glass, water, cars, anything.
Make a collection of photographs of Silhouettes.
- Only Shadows
Make a collection of photographs of just human Shadows without any visible people.
- Hand gestures
Make a collection of photographs of people’s hands gesturing. Things like pointing, waving etc.
Use Saul Leiter’s condensation tricks to make a collection of similarly shot photographs.
- Angry people
Make a collection of photographs of angry people. This might be a hard one!
- Bald heads
Make a collection of photographs of bald headed people.
- Things in front of peoples faces
Make a collection of photographs of people with things in front of their faces. So for example you might place a flower in front on someone’s face and make him appear as if they have a flower for a head.
- Disappearing Professions
Try and seek people doing jobs that are going extinct and make a collection of photographs of them on the job. This project will also have historical value.
Take photographs of people embracing each other.
Take photographs of people kissing each other.
Make a collection of photographs about femininity. Capture the essence of women.
Make a collection of photographs about masculinity. Capture the essence of men.
Make a collection of photographs of smokers. People smoking.
Make a collection of photographs of people with tattoos.
- Sunrise Street Photography
Make a collection of Street photographs shot during sunrise.
- Sunset Street Photography
Make a collection of Street photographs shot during sunset.
- People taking a piss
Capture people relieving themselves of their bodily fluids, that is urinating.
- 100 Strangers
Make a collection of 100 strangers you don’t know anything about. This is like the portraits project but the 100 Strangers projects has to be 100% candid shots.
Photograph people looking bored and make a nice collection of photos of bored people. How boring!
- Money exchange
Make a collection of people exchanging money. You can do hand closeups or shoot from slightly further away, as long as the exchange is visible.
Make a collection of photos that include opposite things. For example a cat looking at a dog, or a tall man sitting next to a short man, etc.
- Dogs and their people
Take low POV shots of dogs and their people.
- In the rain
Make a collection of photos shot in the rain.
Make a collection of photographs with people and umbrellas.
- Beachwear & Beach photos
Make a collection of photographs of people in their swimming costumes shot at the beach.
If you would like to share any more Street Photography project ideas, please do so in the comments below. If you have any questions about the project ideas, please ask them in the comments below. I would appreciate it if all discussions were on this page and not on various Social Channels, since I think that most of us, if not all of us will benefit from the exchange of ideas and it will be nice to have everything neat and tidy on one page.
Stay Sharp & Keep Shooting!