There is only one true antidote to complacency and boredom in photography, and it is FUN. The games I’m about to show you have been around since the beginning of photography, but they’re getting even better with social media tools like Facebook and Flickr. The next time you want to give yourself a challenge, or at least do something different, give these fun photography games a try.
How to find photography game groups on Flickr
Photography games have really exploded ever since Flickr arrived on the scene. These days, there are tons of Flickr groups you can join, each dedicated to a specific photography game you can play. To find them, you simply need to create a Flickr account and know what to search for.
Try searching for the following, and you’re more than likely to find at least a few groups dedicated to each game:
- Mission 24
- Guess Where [Your City]
- Guess What
Guess What’s In The Photo
This one’s been around for a long time. The premise is pretty simple. You take a really obscure photo of something, post it to the group, and then have everyone guess what it is. This one’s really fun because it forces you to see your world in a totally different way. The best challenges are the ones that take ordinary everyday objects out of context and make them unrecognizable except to the trained eye. Can you guess what's in the image at the top of this tip? Answer at the end.
Guess what is best played with a macro lens, although it can be played with a telephoto lens if you zoom in really far on a life-sized object (perhaps a section of a suspension bridge?). The macro lens allows you to get in really close and blur out the background. With no background, your subject becomes even more difficult to recognize because it has been completely ripped out of its normal context.
Guess Where The Photo Was Taken
If you type “guess where” into Flickr’s group search, you’ll get a ton of different Guess Where groups for different cities all over the world. Type in your own city after you type Guess Where, and chances are you’ll find the Guess Where group closest to you.
Guess Where is played by taking a photo of a local landmark and leaving enough information out of it so as to slightly obscure its location. You might, for example, take a picture of the top of a church steeple without including the rest of the church. If you really know your local area well, you should be able to get most of them right. If you don’t know your area very well, you’ll learn about all of the great places to take photos.
While Guess What and Guess Where are a blast to play, they only engage your creativity to a limited extent. Mission 24 was designed to encourage photographers to find new ways to express different photographic themes. Every week, the moderator of the group (sometimes known as the “dungeon master”) picks a theme, and everyone has to come up with a unique way to express that theme through photography.
Here a few sample themes taken from the Flickr group “Mission 24”:
- New Year’s resolution
I’ve talked about this before, but when you have a random theme, it forces you to get creative and take pictures you wouldn’t ordinarily take. The problem with most of us is that we simply get stuck taking the same types of pictures. Eventually, we put down the camera because we don’t feel like there is anything new or exciting to capture. Mission 24 gives us that new and exciting thing. Suddenly photography is fun again.
Play with your family and friends too
It’s cool that you can play photography games online with a huge community, but it’s also a lot of fun to play them with your family and friends. Nobody else is closer to you than they are, so the drive to get more creative will be that much more intense.
And these games are just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty more to play, and they’ll all force to start thinking outside of your box. Good luck, and as always, have fun!
[So, what is the photo at the top of? A vase!]
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