If you want to make your photography outings more productive, there's no better way than to have a predetermined reason for taking photos. If you go out to take pictures just for the sake of taking pictures, you may end up getting a few keepers out of the random collection you've gathered. Not only that, but if I go shooting without a specific purpose, I feel kind of empty when I get done — like I didn't really accomplish anything.
I'm talking about having a specific theme or idea to center your photo shoot around. Maybe things like: red objects, circles, signs, minimalism, blue, people, water, squares, birds, orange, cars, dogs, macro, zig-zags, yellow, neon, reflections, windows, parking meters, green, trash cans, curves, shoes, chaos, wind, sun, happy, sad, angry, statues, weathered objects, food, stickers, graffiti, patterns, yada yada yada — the list goes on and on.
You'll find that if you have something specific to look for, you'll start seeing photos in places you would have never otherwise noticed. It's not to say you should limit yourself from shooting whatever comes your way, but don't rely on “whatever” to get you a great collection of images. I bring this up because my recent Experiment with Minimalism really drove this idea home for me.
Also, my buddy Trevor Carpenter is taking this concept to a higher level, and he's called it the “October Challenge”. Trevor is going to focus on black & white photos for the entire month of October as a means to improve his photography skills. The idea is that “limiting yourself can actually unlock creativity that youâ€™ve never had before“, and I think he's probably right. Anybody else going to join in? Be sure to read up on these black and white photography tips. If you do, remember to tag your Flickr and Zooomr photos with “OctoberChallenge” so we can all keep up on each other's progress. I've signed up for minimalism — so we'll see how this goes.