Photography Farm Challenge
Our 2019 Photography Farm Challenge has begun. 52 weekly themes for you to build a personal project around. Join in whenever you want to, there are no hard and fast rules. Shoot one image, a series or explore the topic all week. Follow along with the weeks of the year or start in your own time. Join in on Instagram with the hashtag #photographyfarmchallenge or follow Farm on there to see some featured images. New themes will be posted here on Mondays mornings …
TIME TO GET
- Theme 1: ME
A tiny but complex word and usually the biggest fear for any photographer. But this is a challenge so it’s not meant to be easy. Let’s start our projects with ourselves. I very much look forward to seeing what you all come up with.
- Theme 2: HOME
You’ve introduced yourself, now show where or what Home means to you.
- Theme 3: SYMMETRY
Let’s dive into a more technical challenge. This week’s theme is the first to do with composition. A symmetrical composition is balanced and has an overall equality of size, shape, line and colour. You can divide it into equal parts and it uses the elements by repeating them. For inspiration look to cinematography.
- Theme 4: BLUR
- Theme 5 : WINDOW LIGHT
- Theme 6 : HANDS
- Theme 13: STREET
Interpret this one however you like, it could be a photo of the street you live in or one that is significant to you. It could be street photography, or a person you meet in the street. It could be architecture or even a self portrait out in a street. Let’s see what you’ve got.
- Theme 14: A FRIEND
Well we had a stranger so this seems natural, Plus if you came to FarmShop over the last few days, then the chances are that you probably made at least one new friend. So this week, let’s see a portrait of a friend, old or new.
- Theme 15: THREE THINGS
Take an image that has three elements in it. This could be two subjects and a background; one subject, foreground and background; subject, prop, background; For inspiration look at the work of Fer Juaristi as he often employs this technique.
- Theme 19: THE CLOSE UP
Yes, you knew this one was coming next right? Another classic movie tool is the close shot. Eliminating all other clutter from a scene to focus on a particular gesture, emotion or feature. This week get close for us.
- Theme 20: THE EXTREME CLOSE UP
- Theme 21: FRAME WITHIN A FRAME
Theme 25: MOMENTThis week, set out to achieve some shots that represent a Moment. Not something that you have deliberately orchestrated but that you managed to place yourself into the right physical and emotional space to capture.
Theme 26: GROUPA lot of our themes have been more suitable to single subjects but of course as a wedding photographer, you are going to need to be great at shooting groups of people. Yes there are family lineups but also groups of friends, the bridal party and groups of guests. Weddings are all about relationships and it’s quite a skill to be able to show these dynamics in a group shot. When I’m sometimes feeling a little uninspired for them, I look at music photographers and how they shoot bands.
Theme 27: SOUNDCan you take an image that provokes another sense? Purposefully set out to take a shot that expresses a particular sound. Absorb and assess what sounds are dominant when you are taking an image and try to highlight them.
- Theme 31: WIDE OPEN
- Theme 32: CLOSED DOWN
- Theme 33: SLOW SHUTTER
Theme 37: TOUCH
Let’s see an image from you that expresses the word ‘touch’. This is a topic with plenty of scope and another one that is connecting the visual to another sense.
Theme 38: POCKET OF LIGHT
How many times have you commented on a photo saying “Love that Pocket Of Light”. A pocket can mean a Small Patch Of Something so for this week’s challenge find yourself a small patch of light and play with it.
Theme 39: RAINI think we are all guaranteed to have some rain this week. So create an image that features it. Get out in it and get full on drenched, stay indoors and shoot it through a window, play with shutter speeds to see what happens, play with flash, with backlight, with close ups. This is a lovely broad brief for you this week.
Image : Lee Allen
- Theme 7: RULE OF THIRDS
Consciously take an image that is based on the Rule of Thirds. It’s a simple technique that allows breathing space in a frame and lets the important elements sit where it feels comfortable to the eye. It creates a sense of balance. Try using it portrait as well as landscape and try putting key parts of the image on the intersection of both.
- Theme 8: WATER
There is so much that can be done with this one. Shoot someone in water, indoors or out in the elements, experiment with water droplets on the lens, shoot water at low or fast shutter speeds, interpret the theme in a more ethereal way with use of motion, colour or reflections. Have fun with this one.
Theme 9: GOLDEN HOUR
It’s suddenly sunny and at this time of year, sunset is still nice and early so shooting in Golden Hour is super easy. Explore ways to use the warm light, either direct or as backlight or rim light. Try using it indoors or in ways you might not have thought of before.
- Theme 10: A STRANGER
- Theme 11: REFLECTION
- Theme 12: EMOTION
- Theme 16: AVAILABLE LIGHT
For this challenge, photograph a scene paying special attention to the available light and try to use it in a non obvious way. Be conscious of what light is around you and put thought into how you can purposely light a subject with it.
- Theme 17: AVAILABLE DARK
This week we are flipping it from light to dark. Be conscious of the shadows or darkness in a scene. Use it to add drama or to draw attention to your subject or to frame them. Instead of starting by looking for the light, look for the dark.
Theme 18: THE WIDE SHOT
Thinking about movies and how they tell the story. The Wide Shot is a standard way to set a scene and to establish a character within it. They can give context or begin a narrative. They are often shot on wide angle lenses but don’t have to be.
Theme 22: LEADING LINESPerhaps one of the easiest visual clues. Leading lines can be found in many forms and are all around us. Use roads, fences, a line of lamp posts, a bridge, trees, floorboards, anything that you can find. Become aware of what can be used within your frame to draw the eye and then place your subject at the end point.
Theme 23: MOVEMENTYou have a few options for expressing movement in a still image. Might be slow shutter speed or maybe you will freeze an action with a fast shutter speed. Maybe you will shoot a series of images or have a still subject and it’s the camera that moves. Let’s see you have some fun.
Theme 24: STILLYou have two ways to interpret this one. Either as the opposite to movement and you are using your frame to express a still moment, solitude or lack of motion. Or you can translate it as a movie still. Make an image that looks as if it is a slice of a longer film.
Theme 28: ANGLE
Do you get stuck in a rut with angles? Always shooting from the same position? Next time you are shooting, notice what your default angle is and go somewhere else. Is it eye level, shoulder level? Go higher or lower.. maybe even as high as you can or as low as you can. Just break out of your comfort zone with where you hold a camera.
Theme 29: EYESWhen shooting portraits, the eyes are such an important element. When I’m shooting a magazine cover I always have to nail an eyes-direct-to-camera shot. For this part of the challenge I want you to be intentional when it comes to where you ask your subject to look. What are you trying to convey in the shot?
Theme 30: COVER SHOTNailing the cover shot for a magazine is super tricky. It must be in portrait mode, and traditionally the eyes are direct to camera. So this is a good follow up to the last theme. Deliberately shoot a subject as if you know it’s for the cover of a magazine. Could be a bridal magazine, a fashion magazine or a trendy kids magazine. For research pop into your local newsagent or look in the magazine aisle at the supermarket.
- Theme 34: BLACK & WHITE
For this week, I want you to figure out how to change your camera’s viewfinder to B&W so you can only see the scene in grayscale. Spend some time on this one, so maybe not while you are on a job. Consider how the tones and contrast make up the frame and shoot without colour playing a part. When you upload your raws, you will have the colour version of what you shot. How do you feel about the frames now? Are they stronger in colour or B&W? Upload them to Instagram showing us both versions please.
Theme 35: CONTRASTLook for a scene where you can play with contrast. This might be between shadow and full sun, between indoors and outdoors, using colours or textures. Create an image that has an element which is strikingly different to whatever it is juxtaposed with. This is not about post production, it’s about looking for visually interesting subjects.
Theme 36: BLOCK COLOURChoose a colour and shoot an image where it is dominant or the only colour. I’ve just shot an editorial for Rock n Roll Bride magazine that is all pink and it was super fun to do. It might be a challenge to do your own without a studio and a team of helpers but simplifying things down might help. Look at the colours in your home or the environment around you. It could be all green or if you are shooting a wedding this week, it could be all white. Or this could be your chance to control all the elements in an image.
Theme 40: DIRECT FLASH
I actually love the effect from using direct flash. The hardness can create definition and give your images an edgy feel. For this week try using it at night, in the daytime, zoomed in or close up. Get friendly with your flashgun.
Theme 41: BOUNCED FLASHUse flash this time for softness. Try balancing it as much as you can with the available light; Try bouncing on different coloured surfaces, dark and light, matt and shiny. Try bouncing on a wall as well as the ceiling.
Theme 42: SHOOT THROUGHAs we have just returned from Farmers Market where our very special guest mentor Sam Hurd led two shoot masterclasses, I feel that we should take some inspo from him this week. Sam regularly uses and creates objects to shoot through or incorporate into the frame somehow. From mirrors and prisms to tubes and even wine pourers. For inspiration look to Sam’s Insta (@iamthesam) or sign up to his Patreon where he regularly posts breakdowns of how he achieves shots.