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Five Photo Challenges to Improve Your Digital Photography Skills

written by: Larry M. Lynch•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 12/29/2008

Are you truly serious about improving your digital photography skills? Then the five challenges in this article will help to point you in the right direction for expanding the depth and range of your digital images portfolio.

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    How to Improve Your Digital Photography Skills with Photo Challenges

    In the first part of this article series entitled, “How to Improve Your Digital Photography Skills with Photo Challenges" we introduced ways to start improving your photography using self-imposed challenges. Now we’ll continue this theme with five additional digital photography challenges to help fine-hone your professional digital images portfolio and stretch your skills even further.

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    1. Special Effects Digital Imagery

    Whether in the latest James Bond flick or slick sci-fi television program, we almost all love special effects of different types. Have you ever tried “morphing" any scenes in your home-produced videos? Okay then, how about adding a few eye-catching special effects to your digital photography repertoire? No, you won’t necessarily need a ton of specialized accessories and equipment. Just a few simple “tricks" can get you up and running. Do you know the special effects technique using ladies’ panty hose (without the lady in them, please)? How about using a spray bottle of water and a mirror?

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    2. Animal and Pet Digital Photos

    CU crab IMG 2557 Do you have any professional-quality, saleable digital photos of Bowser, Kitty, Spidey or Iggy (the pet Iguana) in your porfolio? Now would be a good time to bone up your animal photography skills. After all, pet photography is a big, booming business. Pet photography is also a frequently-offered category in photography contests as well. So it’s a genre well worth galloping into. No pet at home? All right then, check with the neighbors and other family members or co-workers. Don’t forget the wee ones either. No, no, not Leprechauns – I mean the smaller animals and insects too. They’ll make tremendous additions to your portfolio. (Not the Leprechauns, the animal images) Hey now, hop to it.

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    3. Digital Photography of Food and Drink

    sobrebarriga meal IMG 3113 You DO eat, don’t you? Look around for the next day or so. Notice how many food, drink and related images you see all around. From hot, thick, juicy burgers with melted cheese oozing down the sides of a nicely-browned all-beef tenderloin patty while nestled on a bed of thick-sliced, sun-ripened tomato and crisp, iceberg lettuce on a gently-toasted sesame seed bun dripping with secret sauce to a stand of golden brown french fries steaming with goodness, food images literally surround you. Get yourself in on the act – food photography, not eating (OK, OK, you can eat too). It’ll be well worth the time trouble and taste.

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    4. Low-Light Digital Imagery without Using a Flash

    storefront at night IMG 4401 Now any shutter button puncher can snap on a flash unit or use auto-flash to take snapshots. But with you being or aspiring to be a professional-quality digital photographer, you’ll strive for more and better pictures, now isn't that true? The best way to learn to work with and manipulate light is to have a minimum of it yet still produce digital images with visual impact. This store front image was shot after dark using only the existing illumination. Challenge yourself to produce the best images you possibly can without using a flash, no matter what the lighting conditions. You’ll learn lots about lighting.

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    5. Entering Digital Photography Contests

    flower and pistil If you want to truly challenge your digital photography skills against other digital photographers, both amateur and professional, world wide, try entering a few digital photography contests. Choose a favorite photo category or better yet, stretch yourself into newer and deeper realms. Put forth your best shots and what your skills grow with each round of entries. This is truly a great way to improve on your digital photography skills fast. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s education and it can be profitable too, once you start winning.

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    Improve Your Skills as a Digital Photographer

    So, to really improve your skills as a digital photographer, why not challenge yourself with these improvement-based assignments? These and other photo challenges are a sure-fire way to improve your digital photography skills or develop new skills in the shortest possible amount of time.

Improve Your Digital Photography Skills series

This series of articles will help you to improve your digital photography skills through the use of a sequence of photo challenges or assignments in distinct areas of digital photography.
  1. How to Improve Your Digital Photography Skills with Photo Challenges
  2. Five Photo Challenges to Improve Your Digital Photography Skills