Prime Subjects of Photography
Challenge series hosted by Mark Scott Abeln. Challenges start on Thursdays.
This series examines the many popular subjects of photography. Each challenge will provide hints and common techniques for taking good photographs of that subject. -- The challenges in this series start easier and get more difficult, and they generally alternate between photos of people and photos of things.
Finished (24 challenges)
Winners announced: 17th November, 2011 GMT
Submit a photograph of the interior of a building. This is often a challenging subject because of the great contrast between daylight coming through windows and dim artificial lighting within. This is a subject that usually demands great technical quality: use low ISO, a tripod, careful framing, great depth of field, sharpness, precise white balance, and good optics without barrel distortion....
Winners announced: 10th November, 2011 GMT
Winner: Dancer's Circle
Submit a photograph of actors or dancers performing. The best time to do this is during a rehearsal, with permission.
Winners announced: 3rd November, 2011 GMT
Submit a photograph of a small wild animal. This may be a frog, insect, spider, mouse, squirrel, snake, or other small animal. I will have an upcoming challenge for birds, so no bird photos at this time, please.
Winners announced: 27th October, 2011 GMT
Submit a photograph at a party or celebration, where people are nicely dressed, happy, and full of good cheer.
20. Still Life
Winners announced: 6th October, 2011 GMT
Winner: bourgeois opulence
Submit a photograph of a small constructed scene. Submit a strongly-composed photograph of a collection of small inanimate ordinary objects, such as flowers, fruit, household items, things found in a business or trade, items you might have in your pocket, rocks, sea-shells, or food and drink. ---- Still life painting has a long history, going back thousands of years, and has often been an...
Winners announced: 29th September, 2011 GMT
Winner: Talacre Lighthouse
Submit a photograph of a beautiful landscape. Your purpose here is not documentation: rather, you are producing a work of art, which evokes mood, a sense of beauty or sublimity, even spirituality. Be inspired by the Pictorialist photographers of a century ago, who heavily manipulated their photographs. Aim for art and aesthetics rather than technical proficiency.
Winners announced: 22nd September, 2011 GMT
Winner: Watching the Fireworks
Submit a photograph of an event, a number of people gathered together in one place: a party, convention, concert, or meeting.
Winners announced: 15th September, 2011 GMT
Submit a photograph of a car, train, boat, plane, bicycle, or any form of transportation. Not merely machines, these represent nearly the summit of human ingenuity and are often thought important enough to be named. Transport machines are very often works of art, and so take artful photographs of them.
Winners announced: 8th September, 2011 GMT
Submit a photograph of fashion. According to Jesse Alexander, fashion photography is "photographing the garments in such a way as to convey a sense of their physical quality as well as their formal appearance, as opposed to simply illustrating the object." Although your photo will have a fashion model in it, be aware that the subject of your photograph will be either clothing, cosmetics,...
15. Pet Portraits
Winners announced: 1st September, 2011 GMT
Submit a photograph of a domestic or pet animal.
Winners announced: 25th August, 2011 GMT
Submit a photograph of a building.
Winners announced: 18th August, 2011 GMT
Submit a photograph of musicians performing on a stage.
Winners announced: 11th August, 2011 GMT
Winner: The Crossing
Submit a photograph of a large animal in the wild. These will typically be taken with long telephoto lenses.
Winners announced: 4th August, 2011 GMT
Submit a photographic portrait of a baby, child, or youth. --- Photos of children can be very appealing, but it can be particularly challenging because they probably won't follow your directions. Having experience with child psychology is very helpful here.
Winners announced: 28th July, 2011 GMT
Submit a photograph of patterns, forms, textures, or colors; without much of any particularly discernible subject. -- This can be the texture of sand on a beach, the pattern of windows on a skyscraper, tree bark, the curve of a figure, or any subject that lacks much detail. Abstraction can be interesting as a pure exercise in composition or expression, or, abstract textures can be used to...
Winners announced: 21st July, 2011 GMT
Winner: The Palouse, Washington
Submit a photograph of a natural landscape using the principles of Photographic Modernism. Be inspired by the works of the famed Group f.64, which had as members Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, and others. A Modern landscape ought to be sharp, deep-focused, well-exposed, carefully framed, simply composed, and are processed to bring out contrast and detail.
Winners announced: 14th July, 2011 GMT
Submit a candid photograph of people taken on the street in an urban area. Street photography is documentary in nature and is said to "hold up a mirror" to society, illustrating a moment of life, or plunging the viewer into unfamiliar places.
Winners announced: 7th July, 2011 GMT
Submit a photograph of food. Your goal is to take a photograph of food in a way that it appears appetizing. Take a look at some quality cookbooks for examples of this kind of photography.
Winners announced: 30th June, 2011 GMT
Winner: Fourtyfive Years Behind the Lathe
Submit a photograph of a person in their daily environment. -- While the main subject is a person, the secondary subject is their environment. For example, you can photograph a pilot in the cockpit, a chef in the kitchen, an artist in the studio, a mechanic in the garage, or anyone at their home.
Winners announced: 23rd June, 2011 GMT
Submit a photograph of an outdoors scene at night. -- There are two basic approaches you can use to photograph this difficult subject. Traditionally, you use a camera mounted on a tripod with long exposure times. Alternatively, you can use a fast lens and high ISO to hand-hold an image. These trade off convenience and equipment cost versus image quality.
Winners announced: 16th June, 2011 GMT
Winner: Dusk Over San Francisco
Submit a photograph of an urban landscape. Cityscapes are broad vistas of a city or town, showing mainly buildings.
Winners announced: 9th June, 2011 GMT
Winner: In The Air
Submit a photograph of athletes in action: running, jumping, competing, cycling, hitting a ball, shooting a goal, taking aim, what have you. -- Location is the most important consideration: get as close to the action as is prudent, and use a zoom lens to get even closer. You want to freeze the action, but you may want not freeze it too much, so as to imply motion. You may get better results if...
Winners announced: 2nd June, 2011 GMT
Submit a photograph of flora in the wild. This may be a photograph of a leaf, flower, mushroom, or a whole plant. Unlike a landscape photograph, which shows sweeping vistas, your photograph shows a detail of nature.
Winners announced: 26th May, 2011 GMT
Winner: unconventional portrait
Submit a portrait that breaks the rules. -- There are many highly-regarded principles of portrait photography. If you master them, you are nearly guaranteed to produce a fine portrait. However, learning and mastering all these principles can be difficult, and you risk turning out mediocre and bland images. -- Rather, for this challenge, disregard or modify the rules of portraiture. You may come...