If you’ve been into photography for a long time, you may have noticed yourself getting into a creative rut once in a while.
Maybe you get a little uninspired or burnt out. It could be that you just need a break, but there is a way to get yourself fired up again when you want to get back at it sooner rather than later.
That way is to give yourself a photography theme, which brings up a few questions we can explore here. The usual what, why and how type of questions.
Let’s start at the very beginning, get through the middle, and hopefully end with you having some photo themes you can go and get creative with.
What is a photography theme?
A photography theme is something that links the single pictures that make up a set. What that is is entirely up to you, and it could be almost anything.
Think of a noun, or an adjective, or a verb. Any words that are in your head are likely to be a viable candidate for a photography theme. The possibilities are endless.
Photography theme ideas can be grouped into different types.
Yours could be something physical, like:
It could also be based on a more abstract concept, such as:
- a shape
- things in twos, or threes
- old & new
- a colour
- a feeling
The technical composition of your shots could also be your theme:
- natural frames
- diagonal lines
- negative space
- repeating patterns
Why choose a photography theme?
Photography themes focus the mind.
I guarantee, if you choose circles as your theme, you will see circles everywhere. Hundreds of them, in places you probably would never have looked at twice, and in objects you never would have thought of shooting before.
There’s an instant injection of motivation, and a reason to shoot what before was probably nondescript.
That doesn’t mean shooting anything and everything that fits your theme though.
You still need the pictures to be good, and so still need to be selective and think about composition, but this is what helps you to refine your eye and improve your standalone shots too.
How to shoot a good set of photographs
Consistency is key, but so is variety.
Mixing monochrome with colour isn’t a good idea, and neither is having both daytime and nighttime shots; unless of course your theme is based on this premise.
Your theme shouldn’t be the main subject in every photograph either. Mix it up. Make it the centrepiece of one image and in the background of another.
Another piece of advice: if you’re struggling to think of a theme that interests you, choose a theme that interests you. You might be into classic cars, or street fashion, or Asian typography.
Choosing a theme that people know is connected to you will help you to connect with your photographs, and for your audience to later connect them to you too.
A good set of photographs, with a common theme running through them, is greater than the sum of its parts. A good set of photographs also needs every single image to work by itself as well as in the group.
Giving yourself a theme and trying to achieve this can only make you a better photographer.
And that’s what we all want really, isn’t it?
When can I give myself a theme photography?
Today, and you can keep it for life, or give it up tomorrow.
Once you have one ingrained in your mind, you’ll never stop noticing scenes that could go into your set. You could limit yourself to a single day out with your theme, or you could build your set for years, or forever.
It’s really up to you.
But if you’re struggling to find inspiration, want to develop a keener eye for specific details, or just come up with a set of connected pictures rather than a collection of unrelated ones, the next time you go out shooting… just give yourself a theme.
My themes so far:
(I know. I need more 🙂 )
What about you, though? Do you have any pictures sets centred on a theme?
Let us know in the comments below. 🙂