What is a self assignment? Why would you do it?
A self assignment is a way to improve your photography by forcing yourself to shoot an image a day for a week, a month, even a year. Last year and into this year I gave myself a one year assignment: shoot an image a day for 365 days…I was very difficult, it probably gave me OCD and lingering effects, but it was a challenge to me as a photographer…some images sucked but others were very good…and it made me really look at the world every day with a unique vision. Now, I am not suggesting that you try a one year challenge, but an image a day for a week, or an image per week for 52 weeks, or one per day for a month…it will challenge you, and by forcing yourself to photograph, you improve and push toward being a better photographer.
Or you could choose a certain subject and shoot it for a week: a ball that you carry around and flip into the air in different areas of the state, your pet at different moments, even kitchen utensils in weird unexpected areas…be a kid again…use your imagination. But remember to always do your best when trying this project. There were a couple of times I had to take a hiatus from the 365 project before I went crazy because the images were not good. Don’t shoot for the sake of getting an image for that day: shoot until the image is what you wanted to achieve artistically and technically.
A few years ago, on a David Middleton workshop, he challenged us to photograph with a lens that we seldom used. For me, it was my 24-70mm F2.8: it was my primary night photography lens; never used during the day…After a meltdown, I was forced to use it all day in Galilee and the results surprised me. Many images were good after I got the hang of moving around closer to my subject and being more creative with that lens…so try a lens you never use often and learn to use it.
Many of us are busy and don’t have time…but sometimes in your life, it is important to make time for what you love…If you enjoy photography, why not make a small effort toward being more creative and having fun, too.