If I can’t seem to find a photography idea to shoot, I’ll fall back on the many themes that I consistently photograph. Many photographers shoot different themes to build up a large portfolio of images on particular subjects. It is a kind of photography subject specialization. Personally, my themes include:
- desert scenic
- flower close-ups
- covered bridges
- water-powered mills
- and sunrises/sunsets.
And because of these themes, I’m always on the lookout for these subjects wherever I go or regardless of the purpose of the trip. So, over the course of my travels, I have acquired a large portfolio of images around each of these specific photography ideas. This comes in handy if or when you decide to start marketing your images for micro-stock photography, as you can give clients a wide range of images to choose from on a particular topic or theme.
After you have shot a theme for awhile, you develop a knack or specific procedure for photographing each theme. For example, if I run across a water-powered mill, I’ll photograph the type of driver it uses to turn the main driveshaft driver, whether that is a vortex turbine or overshot wheel. Next, I’ll work my way over to the crown wheel driven by the main driveshaft. Before I leave, I’ll also photograph the outside of the mill, mill race and mill pond.
By taking the same type of shots at all the mills, I have built up an image library of the same basic shots, but of different water-powered mills; I also have used this same theme thought pattern to photograph my other theme topics.
Themes can be divided into sub-themes. For example, earlier I had said one of my themes was flower close-ups. But one sub-theme under that general category is orchids and well as wild cactus flower close-ups.
Themes can also be about the format orientation of a photograph. Some subjects look better shot in one format verses another. For example, an orchid photographed from the side at flower level, and including the stem, falls into the orchid flower category and also the vertical format category.
By default, through your theme photography and your massive image collection of your themes, you suddenly have an aura as being an expert in each category. Once that word gets out, people needing images in those themes will come to you.
As you can see with theme shooting, the photography ideas are endless. You are bound only by the amount of time you have to travel to and shoot your themes. And if you do saturate a theme, which isn’t likely, just select a new theme or two and start all over again.