I have always had one if not several theme’s going on throughout my photographic career. Sometimes my theme’s last for several weeks, “shoot nothing but macro abstracts of peeling paint!” or several years, “shoot nothing but people over the age of 60 years old”. It is my belief, and not just in photography, but in life, that having a theme or a goal out there in front of your gives your life not only more meaning but also greater focus; pun intended!
We live in a huge world filled with so much photographic opportunity that at times it is really and truly overwhelming. So much so, that we don’t go out and shoot because we don’t even know where to begin. But with a theme in your mind, amazing things begin to happen. You feel focused, alive and enthused. You’re on a mission and you’re unstoppable.
The choice in themes are as vast as there are stars in the sky. (See what I mean? There is a theme right there; the stars and the galaxies. Choose this theme and soon you will be labeled as that astronomical photographer.)
If simple themes such as lifestyle, architecture, business, industry or sports sound to broad, its because they are! Make it a point to really, really define the theme; reflections, eyes, shoes, tools, windows, smiles, flowers, old growth forests, barns, birds, steelworkers, carnival people, castles, three year olds, feathers, fruits, amusement parks, auto-junk yards, bridges, lighthouses, famous cities, taxi cab drivers, wind surfers, cowboys, librarians, gas stations, fast food restaurants, churches, the information age, rainbows, inclement weather, skateboarders, orchards, clowns, teenagers at leisure, nudes, bears, waterfalls, volcanoes, airplanes, crosswalks and doorknobs to name but a few.
If nothing else, shooting images centered around your theme will always lead to other discoveries. And these same discoveries often translate into images that are quickly added to your existing library of winning images.
And in case you are wondering, I have been shooting this red ball with white stripes for more than ten years now. Who knows where this project may end up!
If your photographic passion seems to have turned luke warm, consider a theme, if not several theme. It may be just what you need to get your passion for image making back on track.
You Keep Shooting!
Bryan F Peterson/Founder BPSOP.com