I believe it is a good idea to shoot if each day were your last day.
Which made me wonder; instead of working on these epic long-term photo projects, why not just work on daily photo projects?
1. A ‘day in the life’ photo project
For example, do a ‘day in the life’ of you as a photo project. And only use your smartphone.
Photograph your entire day— from the moment you wake up, to the moment you sleep.
So the night before you sleep tonight, put your smartphone on your bedside. Wake up, and photograph your daily routine.
So let’s say you wake up, you turn off the alarm on your smartphone, and before checking your email — use your smartphone to photograph your ceiling. Photograph your feet. Photograph your partner (if they sleep next to you).
Then photograph your kitchen, or your morning coffee.
Photograph your walk to your car, and take photos while you’re stuck in traffic.
Photograph your office desk, your co-workers, and photograph during your lunch break.
Photograph your computer screen, your cubicle, or anything in your environment.
Then photograph your commute on the way home. Maybe photograph some strangers too.
Then photograph you coming home— and photograph your children, your partner, your roommates, or maybe just photograph yourself in the mirror. Photograph your dinner, and evening routine.
Then compile your entire photo project into 10 images. 10 images which distill your entire day.
2. Photograph just one color for an entire day
This is a good photo project to train your eyes to see in color— to improve your color photography.
Take any color — red, green, yellow, blue, whatever. Only photograph that one color for a day.
By the end of the day, you will probably be shocked to see how many of that color you will see. And it will train you to perceive colors more selectively.
3. Photograph one square block
For an entire day, only photograph one square block (both sides). Keep walking around the block, and see what you can cover in that tiny little area.
4. Photograph only hands
For an entire day, only photograph hands. Capture all the interesting hand gestures you see.
5. Only photograph stuff on the ground
For an entire day, you’re only allowed to look down — and photograph stuff on the ground. You will be surprised to see how many interesting things you will see on the ground in the course of a day.
6. Only shoot selfies for an entire day
This sounds vain; but only shoot selfies for an entire day. Do it ‘artistically’ — photograph your reflection in a puddle or a glass of water, your shadow, your reflection through a mirror, or by rotating your camera and photographing yourself in a back drop.
This assignment will teach you that even if you have nothing to photograph — you can always photograph yourself.
7. Shoot a roll of film
For the analogue lovers out there— shoot 36 photos (a roll of film) in a day. You have to finish the roll of film by the end of the day— so you will force yourself to find interesting things to shoot; even though your life might be ‘boring.’
8. Imitate another photographer
For 24 hours, imitate the style of another photographer for an entire day. Copy Cartier-Bresson, and shoot black and white ‘decisive moment’ photos. Copy Bruce Gilden, and shoot all your photos with a flash. Copy William Eggleston, and only photograph boring stuff around your house in color. Copy Daido Moriyama, and shoot all your photos with a grainy black and white preset.
My suggestion: copy a photographer for an entire day who is totally unlike you. If you like shooting people, shoot like Stephen Shore and shoot urban landscapes. If you are timid, shoot confidently like William Klein. If you prefer shooting color, shoot black and white like Anders Petersen. This will be the best growth opportunity for you.
9. Shoot only looking up
I’m surprised that when I walk, I never look up. So make a daily photo project of only shooting stuff, looking up.
10. Only take 1 photo
This is the ultimate zen photo project— in an entire day; you are only allowed to take 1 photograph. What would that photograph be? Your loved one? A stranger you meet? A sunset?
In 24 hours, take only 1 photograph or 1 scene or person. This will really show you the precious value, and the joy of photography.
Re-inspire yourself in street photography
If you want more practical street photography assignments, pick up a copy of Street Notes — which can easily fit in your back or front pocket, and can help you break out of your ‘photographer’s block.’