Travel photography enthralls both amateur and professional photographers. What’s not to love about capturing special moments on your adventures? Whether you want to take some pictures that will remind you of blissful vacation memories or take professional-quality photographs that can get you started as a photojournalist, it’s important to work on your skills and challenge yourself to learn new things.
Consider these photo challenges that may inspire you to get out there with your camera and try something different. Here’s a secret. The point of a challenge isn’t all about taking a beautiful photo that represents the challenge. It’s more about learning more about your camera, developing a new skill and discovering more about your own interests in photography.
Don’t stop here, either. Once you make it through this list, you may want to create your own list of fun photo challenges that will help continue to help you hone your skills as a photographer.
Photograph a reflection
Alaska has so much natural beauty — Photo courtesy of Robin Raven
Take a photograph of a reflection that you think is pretty or interesting. This can be as simple or complex as you’d like. For example, you may want to go to a local body of water and capture a reflection in it. Alternately, you can simply take a photograph of something being reflected in a mirror in your house.
As part of this challenge, concentrate on an aspect of taking this photograph that will make it more fun for you. Consider how you can best capture symmetrical reflections. Focus on telling a story or simply creating contrasts. It’s up to you.
Find a rainbow
A rainbow in Hawaii catches travelers’ attention — Photo courtesy of Robin Raven
Take a photograph of a rainbow. You don’t have to wait around and try to find one after a local thunderstorm. You may instead take a photo of a rainbow image in your home or community. Alternately, look for prisms or glass objects that might filter light in a way that creates a rainbow of color.
The point of this challenge is simple. Try to find the best way to represent the rainbow. Pay attention to how you capture color and how you experience different colors through your lens.
Focus on something interesting to you
A darkly comedic sign on a cemetery bench — Photo courtesy of Robin Raven
What you focus on in a photograph will determine the story that it tells. For example, in this picture that was taken in a cemetery, the focus is on the quirky, darkly humorous bench that displays a message for drivers passing by. However, if the focus of the image was on something else, the writing on the bench might be obscured, and the photo would tell an entirely different story.
Try to take a photograph that tells a unique story based on the precise thing that you choose to focus on. This is an everyday challenge that you will have if you aim to be a professional travel photographer. You’ll find yourself in a situation with awe-inspiring scenes, and you have to choose what to focus on and which story to tell.
Capture a scene through a window
Sometimes it’s best to have a window seat — Photo courtesy of Robin Raven
Tell a story by photographing a scene through an open window. Windows hold a certain mystique. Think of films like “Rear Window” and even episodes of the sitcom “Friends” that rely on fascinating observations through a window. Think of your camera as a voyeur as you try to photograph a story or special image through a window.
For this challenge, experiment with taking a photograph through an open window. This could be a car window if you’re a passenger, a plane window or simply your bedroom window. Be sure to get the window itself in the photograph since it’s a part of the story for this challenge.
Take a creative selfie
Selfies can be fun to take — Photo courtesy of Robin Raven
For this challenge, think about how you usually present yourself to the world. How might you prefer to be seen instead? For this challenge, try to take a selfie that makes you feel good about yourself.
Get as creative as you’d like with this selfie. You may choose to sit beneath a high-set tripod for a certain perspective, or you may even choose to just take a photograph of your eyes. It’s up to you. The point is to creatively capture an aspect of yourself in a way that gives you joy.
Photograph a still object that strikes you as special
The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac supports Pride month — Photo courtesy of Robin Raven
Try to pay attention to things surrounding you at home and elsewhere. Look for something that strikes you as significant or special. It doesn’t have to be something that holds significance to anyone else. It can be as simple as a favorite dish in the kitchen or a doll from childhood.
As you take the photo of the still object, think carefully of the story that you want to tell with how you photograph it. For example, you may choose to pose a beloved doll from childhood in the center of things that are an essential part of your adulthood. Put as much or as little time as you’d like into capturing a still object.
Take a photograph in rainy weather
A long and winding road looks different in the rain — Photo courtesy of Robin Raven
The landscapes around you will take on a different mood in the rain. If you have adequate equipment to protect your camera in inclement weather, step outside and take photographs during the rain, or take your photograph for this challenge just after the rain.
Think about how weather informs your photography. Beyond lighting, how big of a role does the weather have in travel photography? After careful consideration during this challenge, you may realize that you will need to get used to looking at weather apps to plan for the right photographs in any location.
Capture an image of something you created
Vegan caramel apples are delectable — Photo courtesy of Robin Raven
Here’s the opportunity to bridge two of your creative passions together. In this challenge, you will need to take a photograph of something that you created. This can be anything at all, including a sweet treat that you baked or a cross-stitch design.
Think about how the meaning of your original creation may change through the lens of the camera. How can you best showcase the thing you created? Can you tell a story about it through the image you take, or can you show how loved it has been? This challenge is all about appreciating your talents and what matters to you. Showcase it in a way that’s meaningful to you.
Showcase a key moment of a sunrise or sunset
Diamond Head in Hawaii looks extra special at sunrise — Photo courtesy of Robin Raven
This challenge is simple. Capture a lovely moment at sunrise or sunset. It’s no secret that the sky often takes on a colorful, dreamy look as the sun rises and sets. Make an effort to wake up before dawn to capture a sunrise at an ideal spot in your hometown or go out at dusk to capture the setting sun.
It’s fairly easy to get a pretty shot of a landscape at the very start of the day or as the day turns into night. What you want to focus on with this challenge is what you want to capture and how you want to take the photo. Try to go to a location where you’ve never seen the sun rise or set before.
Capture the personality of an animal you love
Sheriff the Donkey is one of a kind — Photo courtesy of Robin Raven
Human and non-human animals have a lot more in common than many people realize. If you have a companion animal, you have no doubt noticed that they have strong personalities, desires and feelings just like you do. For this challenge, try to capture the personality of the animal you love the most in a photograph.
You can have fun with this one. Simply spend an hour or so with your companion animal and take frequent photographs as you go about other activities. You may try to capture them in a game of catch or take a photo of them as they nap. The goal is to try to tell a story about their own special personality.