How to create photography project ideas

Lunch Stop MyvatnPlease look at the picture full size against a grey background.

I have been thinking about how the ideas for a potential photography project are formed in the mind.

The following is a jumbled list of how the creative process works in my mind. It may not be correct or complete but it’s where I am at with my understanding of the creative process.

Probably the first thing to say is – photography is not about photography, it is about life in all its wonderful diversity. So look to engage with the world.

And secondly to quote John Barry (Composer) – the worst thing you can do is, fall in love with the first idea you have.

Notice the word “process”, ideas do not spring to life in a creative vacuum. You need to allow time and effort if you want to achieve your highest potential. Who or what inspires you to make photographs?

I could start thinking about my project at the beginning, middle or the end. Lots of people start in the middle of the process and end up at the beginning in a very circuitous route. I try to start at the end of the project and plan the stages in small manageable chunks. This means you may want to think about and write down your objectives. This is where most projects of any kind go a miss because the objectives where not fully detailed, described and understood.

So I would start by deciding when the project has been completed – what needs to have happened. It may be that you plan to take a set of photographs that are exhibited in a certain exhibition, or the end may less tangible like the project raised your self-esteem and self-confidence and allowed you to diversify in other creative directions. You need to decide what success looks like for you.

Now you can think about potential ideas for your project the who, what why, when etc. May be start a scrapbook of ideas for those things that interest you, that you find significant and have something to say photographically about. At this stage it will just be a jumble of unconnected fragments of ideas. After say a months of collecting scraps of ideas, start to think about the relationships between the things that fill your scrapbook.What combination of ideas found in your scrapbook has the greatest potential to meet your objectives? At this stage it still may just be a fog with no strong crux of an idea leaping out at you, that’s fine and normal.

The next stage in the creative process is to do nothing for a while – let the subconscious mind take over it will provide a solution at some point in the future when you are least expecting it.

The next step in the process is to think about the idea that your subconscious mind created and fine tune it again to relate back to your objectives.

The last stage is to test your idea in a safe environment with friends who will tell constructively if you have the answer or not.

With thanks to James Webb Young and others.

In the picture above this strange arrangement of buildings were in the middle of no where as most places are in Iceland. Surprisingly there was an open empty cafe there which sold hot chocolate I seem to remember. This supply of vitals was just what was required as it was extremely cold outside.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog the week.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012

4 responses to How to create photography project ideas

  1. Lesley says:

    Well timed Andy, I am flailing around for the ‘F’ so thank you for these words 🙂 Happy New Year!


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Lesley

      I am just about to start facilitating an F Group. There is plenty more where that came from. You only live 200 miles to far south west which is a pity. Keep me posted I will help if I can. Happy new year. Andy


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