As summer break begins, it’s already time to start thinking about those super hot days in July and August when our teenagers will want nothing to do but screen time in the air conditioning. If your teenagers get bored in the summer months, this teen photography challenge is a great way to help teenagers improve valuable skills and enjoy learning in a different way.
Teenagers thrive when they are given an interesting and engaging challenge. If your student is already interested in photography, or you spent some time teaching photography in your homeschool, summer is a great time to explore this skill and have fun a the same time.
30-Day Photography Challenge for Teens
I’ve created a free printable your teens can use to keep track of the challenge (you’ll find out how to get it at the end of this post). Our teen photography challenge has thirty photography prompts, divided into six categories (5 prompts in each category. The challenge can be done every day for 30 days, six days a week for five weeks, or five days a week for six weeks if you want a specific time frame. You can also spread the challenges out over ten weeks or the entire summer vacation. If you or your teen have an Instagram account, we hope you’ll tag us in challenge photos!
Equipment for the Teen Photography Challenge
Your teen will need the free printable included in this post and a camera of some kind. Extra equipment is recommended if you want to invest but is not required. A good phone camera will work just fine. I’ve shot some pretty amazing photos just with my iPhone 11 Pro Max. If your student does not have access to a phone camera, they will need access to a digital camera of some type.
A Light Kit for extra fun.
An expensive DSLR Camera with a kit. If you already know your child will be going into a field where photography classes will be required in college, you might want to go ahead and invest in a DSLR. It’s not necessary for this teen photography challenge, but it would be good for your student to start getting used to the camera now. I’ve linked you to the one I personally use. I’ve used a previous generation of this camera for fun photography as well as paid photo shoots. It’s a great beginning camera for any budding photographer.
Macro Lens Kit for an iPhone. This makes it easy and fun to shoot macro photography everywhere you go.
Techniques for the Teen Photography Challenge
Each of these techniques will be used for five different photographs in the challenge. The first page of the printable will provide the information in this section to take with you. The second page of the printable is a checklist with each of the thirty challenge subjects.
Architectural photography is all about lines when photographing structures such as buildings, bridges, barns, or the ruins of any structure. Pay special attention to the lines and angles in your photograph. Read this article on architectural photography for more information and ideas.
Portrait photography is all about people and focuses on the face, individual, or group. Your portrait photography can be formal, informal, or lifestyle. A formal portrait is usually taken in front of a plain backdrop of some kind. Informal portraits can be taken in a more natural setting such as outdoors. Lifestyle portraits are taken in personal spaces. Read all about portrait photography here.
This technique is all about capturing movement. Use a fast shutter speed to capture the movement and showcase life happening in motion. Read Ten Tips for Better Action Photography.
Black and White Photography
This technique is all about contrast. Having well-lite subjects with significant contrast works best for beginners. If you do not have a black and white setting on your camera, you can achieve this technique by taking high contrast photography and using post-processing. Read more about black and white photography.
Macro photography is all about close-up focus. Sometimes in macro shots, a single point is in focus and the remaining area is blurred. You can use the macro lens kit for phone photography and get stunning results. Read more about macro photography.
Light techniques in photography use lights in a variety of different ways to change the style and effect of a photograph. Here are two articles to read about the techniques used for this challenge.
The Teen Photography Challenge Subjects
Downtown Street Shot. Photograph a group of buildings in a downtown area with special attention to lines.
Single Building of Interest. Take a picture of a church, school, home, Federal building, museum, or any interesting building.
Bridge. Photograph a bridge. Try different perspectives and angles.
Building Remains. Find an older building in bad condition or ruins to photograph. Be careful not to trespass. For instance, throughout the National parks in Virginia, you can find chimneys standing in the forest where cabins used to be.
Architectural Detail. Photograph close-up details of an arch, column, roofline, window, or any artistic feature of a building.
Child. Capture an informal portrait of a child. An informal portrait does not require the subject to look directly at the camera, so you can have the child look at something in the distance if you like. Consider using favorite toys or candy as a prop to make the experience more fun for the child.
Adult. Photograph an adult with a more formal backdrop. You can use a wall, a curtain, or anything that gives a more formal theme to the photo. Traditional a formal portrait has a plain background and the subject looks directly at the camera.
Elderly. Take a picture of an older person in their natural setting. Whether this is a table, in a favorite chair, or standing at the stove, keep your focus on the person’s face. Stage a shot that speaks to who they are as a person. This is called a lifestyle portrait.
Group. Photograph a family, team, or small group.
Animal. Find an animal or pet to photograph with an uncluttered background in a still position.
Action Shot Photography
Car. Take a picture of a moving car. If you like, you can use light trails photography for some really interesting photos at night.
Sports Event. Photograph competitors and/or sports equipment in motion.
Backyard Fun. Capture a playful moment of activity in the backyard.
Water. Photograph moving water. This could be naturally moving water such as a creek or river. It could also be water from a hose or sprinkler or faucet.
Pet or Animal. Capture an animal in motion.
Black and White Photography
Stained Glass. Photograph stained glass from inside or outside a building in black and white. Try to pick a time of day when light is shining through the glass.
Pattern. Find an interesting pattern to photograph. It could be anything from a really cool fabric pattern to the pattern in a pathway or the pattern on a computer case.
Light Fixture. Capture a lightbulb or light fixture of some kind. Turn the light on for really beautiful black and white photography. For instance, you could photograph a chandelier, a street lamp, or a porch light.
Iconic. Photograph something iconic from your life such as a Starbucks® cup, a Mustang emblem, or a cartoon character.
Collage. Take a picture of a group of objects arranged in an interesting way. Make sure your objects have high contrast for the black and white effect to shine.
Outdoors. Photograph close-up details of an insect, flower, plant, rock, or anything natural. Mushrooms work really well.
Water Droplets. Capture rain or dew droplets on a leaf, spiderweb, or any other object. You can even spray something if you need to. Windshields or windows work really well for this technique.
Personal Accessory. Choose something with personal meaning to photograph with the macro technique. It could be jewelry, a keychain, sunglasses, or anything with special meaning.
Texture. Find an interesting textural element to photograph.
Food. Take a photo of food on a plate or in a spoon using macro photography.
Light Techniques in Photography
Lights at Night. Capture lights shining in the darkness. You can turn on a porch light, go into the city for streetlights, or just explore at night and find interesting lights to photograph. You might also find stars to photograph.
Fire. Photograph a flame from a fire in a firepit, candle flame, gas lamp, or any fire.
Bokeh. Use Christmas lights or a different artificial light source to photograph any subject with this effect.
Light Trails. Create an interesting and compelling photograph with light trails.
Sunrise or Sunset. Take a picture of a sunrise or sunset in a beautiful location.
Teen Photography Challenge Printable
Grab the Teen Photography Challenge printable below, download it and print one copy for each of your teens taking the challenge. It has the complete challenge checklist and a description of each technique. To make things more fun, you can get a group of teens involved in your local area and set up prizes or field trip days.
Share with Us!
Show us what you’ve done! Tag @BenAndMeHomeschool on Instagram with your photos if you participate in the photography challenge. We’d love to see them!