You won't grow as a photographer if you only photograph family events and trips.
Yes, you want family and trip photographs.
Yes, you also want to do self-assignments.
"No," some say.
"I'll wait until I see something."
You usually won't see something unless you're looking for something.
If you go out to photograph the color red, you'll get better photographs than if you having nothing in mind.
"No," others say.
"I'll wait for inspiration."
Photographers can learn from writers.
Typically, writers sit down at a certain time every day and write no matter what.
Do the same with your camera.
How do you generate a self-assignment?
Jot down some ideas in one or more of the boxes below.
A self-assignment need not be big and complicated.
One student's self-assignment generator was to buy something photographic once a month.
Keep it simple at first.
You'll end up at a great ending as your self-assignment evolves.
Jot down your ideas about locations.
Jot down your ideas about genres, such as nudes, landscapes, still lifes, portraits, macro, and so forth.
Jot down your ideas about possible subjects.
Jot down your ideas about a purpose for your photographs.
Who are you working for?
Who will be seeing your photographs?
Jot down your ideas about which sense may be prominent in your photographs.
Or, which feeling will be expressed by your photographs.
Which tools and techniques do you need to learn more about?
For ideas, scan the topics in Beecher's Handouts.
For example, go out and try different vantage points for your camera.
What's a prominent theme in your life?
If you photograph with a certain point-of-view, your photographs will be different.
Do you want to tell a story?
Photography need not be expensive.
Pinhole photographers use cameras made from cardboard boxes.
But, buying something can be a self-assignment.
For example, buying a flash will improve your indoor photography lighting.
Classic art education includes copying the masters.
Who would you like to pay homage to?
Go to Tips.
Look at photographs, such as Over 300 Master Photographers.
You can also get ideas by looking at photographs anywhere: papers, magazines, garage sales, and online.
Learn more about some aspect of the self-assignment you're doing.
For example, if you're photographing coyotes, you have to know their lifestyle.
Most photography books, classes, blogs, and websites, are about equipment and techniques.
What about the person behind the camera?
Go to PATH.
Many photographers are isolated.
Get connected to other photographers.
You'll get feedback.