Generate Photo Ideas For Your Portfolio

Photo IdeaWhat are you going to shoot tomorrow? What about next week? Are you planning to create you own portfolio? Do you have enough ideas on what to include in the portfolio?

Take some time today to think about your portfolio and your long term plan. No matter how much experience you have or what is your skill-level, it is good to start thinking about your photography plan.

I assume that you have some level of interest in creating your portfolio and in couple of months you will be interested in having an online portfolio. Take some time to think about types of photos that you would like to include in your portfolio.

What Type of Photos

Start thinking about what type of photos would you like to shoot? Are there any specific type of photos you would like to specialize in?

Think About Food – What type of photo would you like to focus on? Would you like to take appetizer photos more than desserts? Would you like to focus on snacks to start with? Or all of them?

Type of Lighting – What type of lighting would you like to use? Would you focus on natural lighting or would like to use artificial lighting? Or would you like both?

Type of Cuisine – Is there a certain cuisine that you would like to focus on?

Take a look at these questions and kick start your brainstorming

Two Exercises to Generate Ideas

Each on of us generates ideas in a different way. While you are trying to find subjects to shoot, try two exercises below:

Using Mind Maps

Mindmap is an amazing brainstorming tool. “Tony Buzan claims to have invented the modern mind map”, Wikipedia says. He also wrote a book on how to effectively use mind maps to brainstorm and generate ideas.

I have used it over and over. From clearing my brain to find all things to do that I have to creating list of photos that I would like to shoot. Authors use it to brainstorm book material. Project Managers use it to brainstorm project tasks.

Its an amazingly effective tool to put your thoughts on paper. Read more about mind mapping by visiting wikipedia or by reading the Mind Map book.

Get Inspiration from Flickr

Flickr is not only a photo uploading/sharing site, its also an amazing place for generating photography ideas.

Search using some common word that comes to mind. Take a look at the photos that appear and note down any ideas that are generated. Start searching the first word that comes to mind and look at the photos that show in the results.

Make a List of Ideas

Now that you have used mind map and explored flickr, make a list of at least 5 photos that you would like to take in the next 30 days. Create a plan to take these photos and execute it. Once done with these five photos, list 10 more and execute the idea.

Now that you have few portfolio worthy photos, upload them to your portfolio. In the next post, we will look at the technical details that you should decide for creating your portfolio.

Suggested Reading


What type of photographs would you like to focus on? Have you used mindmaps before? How have you used it?

Photo by Cayusa

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  1. Since I am a stock photographer (or better, would like to integrate/ learn more about food photography for stock purposes), I’d like to focus more on simplistic food images of very generic foods instead of shooting specific dishes. I have not used a mindmap before, but it is something I need to learn about too, because mindmapping is a technique one can use for many areas, I’d like to integrate it into group work for my teaching.

    • Hi Melli,

      I started using Mind Maps about 4-5 years ago and have used in almost every aspect of life. Starting from planning my to dos to planning my travels. I have found the book to be absolutely amazing – it takes you from absolutely basics to all the way to group discussions… Highly recommend it.

  2. That’s a nice post. Very helpful. I have been a fan of this site since couple of weeks of joining. Great informative threads.

    By the way,

    What type of lighting would you like to use? Would you focus on artificial lighting or would like to use artificial lighting? Or would you like both?

    You meant Artifical or Natural, am I correct.

  3. I’ve added it to my book list. Thanks for the hint.

  4. Nusi Hariadi says:

    Its really an interesting idea for a new start like me..
    Thank you..

  5. Adriana D. Greer says:

    “Start thinking about what type of photos would you like to shoot? Are there any specific type of photos you would like to specialize in?”

    I agree that a photographer should choose a specific kind of photography to specialize in. Just like with doctors, you will want to go to an Optometrist if you have an eye problem, or to a dentist if you have an aching tooth. Most people would apply this to photgraphers as well.

    So, if you are into food photography, then stick to it and continue learning ways to improve your skills in photography.

    Adriana D. Greer

  6. You always give me an idea! even its only an old post it help me a lot.
    so interesting.

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