Are you stuck for project idea's? Are you questioning if you shoot a project what will it mean to others? Trust me when I say I've been there.
There is a plethora of posts out there on some of the biggest photography websites about this subject but I still want to give my thoughts on it anyhow.
Where to start?.... If you don't already, get yourself a notebook and pen!.... Yes, in this day and age of smart phones and ipads, get a pen and notebook! I've found writing in a book it also etches itself into my brain, it helps!
I write all of the time in my notebook, it my be just a to do list for the week or more importantly idea's for possible future projects. If I have a new idea, it goes straight in the book... I'll put down on paper any details and specific idea's for the project... Gatekeepers that will allow me to shoot what I want to. Contact details... phone numbers, address and emails... Everything goes in it... Even sketches of what I have in my head. So that is my Step 1!
When you think about it.... It really is easy to think of an idea for a project. Just document what you love.... What you have a passion for.... Or something that may have concerned you and go with it!
I have two projects that I'm currently working on... The first is 'My Family' ... The name of the project gives a small clue as to what it is.... I'm a family man and I love my family so documenting every day life, the good & the bad has come very naturally, its more of a personal project that I don't know when to end but it continues.
My second project is planned to be a book and is basically about Motorcyclists, why they ride. I've loved motorcycles for as long as I can remember thanks to my dad and two uncles all riding themselves. I expect this project to take a few years to get it to where I want so we will see how it goes.
I also have a few more projects for the future, which I am currently researching and making contacts before they can begin.
So grab that notepad and write down things that you love, what do you love? ... Write down a list of your interests ... write down your passions in life and I can bet from that list you will be able to find a few projects.
Once you have decided on one or a few ideas you'd like to get on with, there is something you must do.... Visualize!
If you can visualize the photographs for a project before you even step foot out of the door then you are going to have so much more self belief that you will have potential to do it... You'll take better actions and you will see great results. Don't go into it with out having it clear in your head what you want to achieve.
For my motorcycle project I have it so clear in my head it irritates me because I haven't finished it already... But that same irritation is the fuel that adds to the fire inside that drives my passion for the project. I know it will be great...
One suggestion I do have when you are working on a project, don't share the odd photo here and there on social media. You will find that you may not get as many 'Likes' for them, you may not get the comments you expect. You may find it disheartening and feel like what you are doing isn't worth it, or not working out.
Rather than do that, why not share a selection of the photo's with family or friends... or if you are active in your local photographic community, then maybe share with some of them.... These people are more likely to give an honest critique on them... Photo's shown in a series rather than an individual images give the viewer a lot more perspective/context to what you are working on.
How long do you work on a project? That's a very hard question to answer.... How longs a piece of string? I've heard of people working on projects for 10 years.... I've also heard of others who completed bodies of work to present to Magnum in 2 days!... There are no rules for this one so it takes as longs it takes for you to feel its ready.
What do you plan to do with your body of work once it is complete? Do you plan on publishing it in a book? Maybe a small exhibition?
For either of the above, the best way to put it together is to print all of the work... just 6x4's from where ever is the cheapest.... tape them to a wall and study them... I can't imagine you'll have them in the order you want in a day so sit on it and look at them... Arrange them and re-arrange them over and over. Might also be a good idea to get others to take a look with you and offer their opinions.
You can of course do this on your computer but screens are only so big but for me... Prints.... Wall.... And think on it!
I hope this has given some insight and maybe even helped you in one way or another. Everything above is maybe not the correct way of doing it, but its the way I've gone about it and for me at least it works.
The hardest thing of all of this (if you have a family etc) is finding the time to actually get out and get the work done. To a certain extent you have to be a little selfish with your time... Its worth it in the end!
Until next time!