General, Personal, Photography

My 2016 Photography Challenge

Something I decided as part of my 2016 New Years resolutions is that this year I want to improve my photography skills. I love photography, but in reality I have to admit I know next to nothing about it. We live in a day and age where all you need to own is a point and shoot or even a half decent camera phone, and hey presto, it’s easy to shoot good pictures. I love this and am thankful for it. All of the pictures currently on this blog have been taken in just this way. But I think to get standout pictures, you need to know a bit more.

Since myself and Nick have recently got two new cameras to play with, it’s time to see what they can do!

The first is a Panasonic Lumix TZ60, it’s a point and shoot, but a good one at that with lots of adjustable settings and good specs. The other is a GoPro Hero4 Silver. More of a video camera obviously, but with the super wide angle lens and awesome night photo settings even capable of capturing the Milky Way, I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can get from it. Plus, since we are off to Iceland in April, I can’t think of a better place to take some jaw-droppingly beautiful pictures, and see some stars! I’m particularly interested in astrophotography, so this trip couldn’t have come at a better time.

The main thing I’ve decided to do this year in order to push myself to practice photography regularly, and really think about what I’m taking pictures of and how I can be creative with it, is to do the DogWood 52 Week Photography challenge, #DogWood52.

The 52 challenges are below, along with my photo for week 1, the selfie! I’ve not decided yet how frequently I’ll post the results of my challenge here on the blog, perhaps monthly, but either way you can definitely keep up with how I’m doing by checking my Instagram feed. Also, if you decide to join in the challenge, let me know!

Happy snapping!



The DogWood 52 Week Photography Challenge:

WEEK 1 Portrait: Self Portrait Start things off right with a “selfie”! Explore the self-timer setting on your camera.

I’m sure the last time I sat around taking pictures of myself was when I owned a MySpace account (i.e. a long time ago), and I’m not sure my technique has much progressed since then, but there you go, this is my selfie. The final challenge on week 52 is another self portrait, and I’m looking forward to seeing how I’ve progressed between now and then.



WEEK 2 Landscape: Traditional Shoot a beautiful landscape and share it with the world. Find a nice foreground and don’t forget the sky.

WEEK 3 Artistic: Red Shoot whatever inspires you. Red should be the focus of the image. Don’t be afraid to be creative.

WEEK 4 Portrait: Headshot You shot a selfie, now shoot a “selfie” of someone else!

WEEK 5 Landscape: Black and White Look for a scene with great contrast that will make a great black and white.

WEEK 6 Artistic: Candy Your artistic interpretation this week should be inspired by something sweet. A great chance to play with macro photography.

WEEK 7 Portrait: Faceless Tell someone’s story without showing their face.

WEEK 8 Landscape: Panorama This is a great opportunity to explore panorama stitching and create a wide sweeping landscape.

WEEK 9 Artistic: Shadows The opposite of light is dark, the absence of light is shadow. Interpret this into a masterpiece.

WEEK 10 Portrait: Environmental. Show a subject in their natural habitat. Their place of work or hobby is a great start. Tell their story with the environment

WEEK 11 Landscape: Reflection Find a way to show your landscape/natural beauty in reflection. The mirror world revealed.

WEEK 12 Artistic: Transportation Our world is one defined by how we get around. Literal or interpretative, find inspiration in transportation.

WEEK 13 Portrait: High Key Expose to the right and create a light, airy high key portrait.

WEEK 14 Landscape: Zoomed in Most landscapes are wide sweeping images. Try an alternative and zoom in instead.

WEEK 15 Artistic: Metal Cold, hard steel. Shiny Aluminum. Or even rusted and broken down. Find your inspiration in metal this week.

WEEK 16 Portrait: Movement Most portraits are stationary, so this week explore adding some movement. Dancing, twirling, or even hair flips.

WEEK 17 Landscape: Urbanscape Most Landscapes are wide open spaces of natural beauty… this week find the beauty of the urbanscape/cityscape.

WEEK 18 Artistic: Texture The artistic inspiration this week is texture. You should almost be able to feel the image.

WEEK 19 Portrait: Messy Take an amazing portrait of someone, make a mess while you are doing it.

WEEK 20 Landscape: Night Owl A tripod is going to be handy this week… time to shoot a night landscape. Look for some light for the scene! Car lights, city lights, or maybe just moonlight.

WEEK 21 Artistic: Fantasy Is this real life, or is this just fantasy… Your artistic inspiration this week is fantasy.

WEEK 22 Portrait: Hands Usually the face is the strongest element in the frame; with the hands being second. Make the hands the most important element in your image this week.

WEEK 23 Landscape: Weather This week should be as unpredictable as the weather! Feature the weather in this week’s landscape.

WEEK 24 Artistic: Sparkle! Shoot what inspires you this week, just make sure it sparkles.

WEEK 25 Portrait: Silhouette Expose for the background and let your subject fall into shadow. Shape is important this week.

WEEK 26 Landscape: Simplify. Simply the scene to make your primary subject stand out.

WEEK 27 Artistic: Blue You were inspired by the fiery red earlier, now be inspired by calming blue.

WEEK 28 Portrait: Family Whether it’s the family you are born with or the one you choose, show the world what family is to you.

WEEK 29 Landscape: Waterscape Ocean, lake, river, pond, or puddle. Make water the primary subject of this landscape.

WEEK 30 Artistic: Patterns Get inspired by the rhythm that patterns bring to your images.

WEEK 31 Portrait: Street Candid. Candids on the street, show us life in your town through the lens.

WEEK 32 Landscape: Colorful Shoot a landscape that packs as much color as you can find into the scene.

WEEK 33 Artistic: Collaboration Doesn’t matter what you shoot, just do with another artist. Share vision and ideas. Collaborate.

WEEK 34 Portrait: Child Candid or posed, capture an image of a child. Try getting down on their level for a unique perspective.

WEEK 35 Landscape: Nature up Close Get up close and personal with nature in this natural beauty shot. Flowers, bees, bugs and spiders might all make great shots

WEEK 36 Artistic: Food Take your food photography to the next level. It’s not lunch, its art.

WEEK 37 Portrait: Fashion Avant-garde to commercial to traditional, and everything in between. The focus is the clothes this week.

WEEK 38 Landscape: Get Low Time to look at the world from a different angle. Shoot a landscape from a low point of view.

WEEK 39 Art: Handmade Your artistic interpretation should be inspired by another artisan’s handmade work. Literal or interpreted.

WEEK 40 Portrait: Sitting in a Chair Either a formal sitting portrait or a re-interpretation of this classic. Photography your subject sitting in a chair.

WEEK 41 Landscape: Get High Everything looks different when you are high. Find a high perspective to shoot this landscape.

WEEK 42 Artistic: Minimalist. Isolate your subject using the minimalist approach. Inspire someone with your art.

WEEK 43 Portrait: The Elderly Tell the story of an elderly person through the power of your camera. Capture the lines of their life.

WEEK 44 Landscape: A Tree Some of the most famous landscapes in the world feature a tree. Time to see what you can do.

WEEK 45 Artistic: Nostalgic Use nostalgic as your inspiration this week. Long for the moments we want recapture. The good times.

WEEK 46 Portrait: Backlit The sun makes a great back light, as well as a flash. Don’t forget the fill light. A flash or reflector can be used to fill in the subject.

WEEK 47 Landscape: Abandoned Capture an image of that which others have forgotten. It may be the last image before it’s gone from us forever.

WEEK 48 Artistic: Bokeh A shallow depth of field is often used to isolate the subject. Create an artistic interpretation using shallow depth of field.

WEEK 49 Portrait: Dancing Whether it’s a professional dancer, or just some kids in the street. Try experimenting with slow and fast shutter speed to both blur and freeze the subject.

WEEK 50 Landscape: Symmetrical Often considered one of the hardest compositions to pull off, Symmetry. Challenge yourself this week by shooting a symmetrical landscape/urbanscape.

WEEK 51 Artistic: Art It is time to really challenge yourself. Your artistic interpretation should be art, about art. So meta.

WEEK 52 Portrait: Another Self Portrait For your final challenge, we end where we started. Take one last self-portrait, and be amazed at how far you have come in a year.


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  • Reply Ruth January 3, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Great idea! I’m doing something similar and really going to crack on with getting better at photography. I know about 3 styles of shot I can pull off and tend to stick to them, even when I feel frustrated with their limitations.

    Looking forward to seeing your photos, and to hearing about Iceland :)

    • Reply Amy January 3, 2016 at 7:23 pm

      Your food photography is already fantastic so I’m looking forward to seeing your pictures this year too! :-)

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