I'm a beginner photographer and I've been going out and taking pictures of things to get a sense for the controls of my camera. I've also been getting a grasp on the exposure triangle and messing around to see what happens when I set the camera in different ways.
The issue is that I've just gone out and taken pictures of... whatever. Sometimes I'm just out in my backyard at different times of day to see how light affects my exposure. So I'm getting the technical aspect down, but it's everything else that I'm lacking.
I know that it's a good idea to go somewhere with purpose and to have an idea of what you want to photograph ahead of time. This is a dumb question but, what's a good 'assignment' for a beginner photographer? What should I be concentrating on as my subjects? I don't think I have a complete grasp on everything to the point where I'd feel comfortable shooting street photography, but I think I need something more concrete than "just go out and take pictures".
What are some of the things you started off taking pictures of?
I think your ready to develop a watermark, put an ad on Craigslist and take pictures of halfnaked girls so they can post the pictures on Facebook and pretend they are models.
This seems like to be the way things work nowadays.
As a fellow beginner I found taking photos of anything and everything to be helpful. I learnt a lot by looking at my own photos; as I saw hundreds of photos that looked like shit in various ways I slowly learned what I liked and not just how to take a better pic but also how to advoid a shit one. Go out there and make mistakes my freind.
Have you ever read that book? It's got loads. Even the most mundane ones can be good for you if you put some effort into them.
Or, you can just come up with your own "project". Even if it isn't ultra sophisticated, it'll be good for you. If you find it difficult or even impossible, that can teach you something. Maybe your project is just a bad (or incomplete) idea, or the way you're looking at it is what's making it difficult. A recent one I came up with when I was roaming the streets was to take pictures of snowprints. I found a lot, and that was good, but it made me more interested in capturing unusual snow prints, or more quirky ones such as those from a person taking a shortcut over a bench or people walking through an art sculpture. Even though it was a simple idea, to me it had something in-depth to it: the fact that we humans are able to read a narrative with not much more than footprints. Even if that isn't groundbreaking, if I work off of that I can go deeper.
In general you ought to go to museums or art websites and learn about photography as an art more. You'll find plenty of inspiration in the world of art. You'll be able to witness the versatility of the medium. I just went to MoCP's latest exhibition and saw an artwork aptly named: "Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts)". http://www.mocp.org/detail.php?type=related&kv=3219&t=people
The idea that art is about making "interesting" photos can mislead many novices into thinking that they need to come up with some super difficult project to get meaning, but we don't. And for some reason we don't look far beyond documentary photography, and on /p/ the little things are looked down upon.
It's all about how we use the medium. Photography is making images with a sensor or photo-sensitive film or paper. There's SO many different things you can do with that. If you only have one simple idea, you can use that and build off of it.
Also check out this website: http://www.ahornmagazine.com/home.html
You'll find interviews with contemporary art photographers along with some photo series, and like a museum you'll be able to find plenty of inspiration.
I took at look at some of the samples but they seemed a little too... complex or weighty for my ability level it felt like.
Though maybe that's part of what's restricting me at the moment, feeling like I can't successfully portray a complex assignment.
Thanks for the tips so far.