Creating Your Personal Photography Project || A Guide to Photography Inspiration | Lynsey Weatherspoon | Skillshare

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Creating Your Personal Photography Project || A Guide to Photography Inspiration

teacher avatar Lynsey Weatherspoon, Photographer + Filmmaker + Educator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (15m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Where to find ideas and inspiration

    • 3. Personal project timeframe

    • 4. Establishing rapport before your shoot

    • 5. Bonus tips for building rapport

    • 6. Photographing your project

    • 7. Editing your personal project

    • 8. Recap and Course Goals

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About This Class

The goal of this class is for you to develop a personal photography project. This class is helpful to those who would like to have your work considered by magazines, art and creative directors, and ad agencies. Students will learn the importance of building rapport with their subjects before the shoot, as well as deciding on the timeframe of their project after the course.

Students will create, photograph, and edit a personal project within one month. Each course will guide them on how to complete each step of their project.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Lynsey Weatherspoon

Photographer + Filmmaker + Educator


Lynsey Weatherspoon is a commercial, portrait, and editorial photographer based in both Atlanta and Birmingham. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, NPR, ESPN The Undefeated, and Sierra magazine. Commercial commissions include Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, Google, and Cox Communications. The fingerprint of heritage can be found on personal projects featuring Gullah Geechee culture, unsung players in the Negro Baseball League, and the last of dying breed - a shoe cobbler.

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1. Introduction: I'm Lindsay Weatherspoon, a commercial editorial and portrait photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia. In this skill share class, you'll learn House, create your personal project. When I was starting my photography career, I didn't have enough photos in my portfolio to show off to any editors or creative directors. So I gave myself personal projects, just self assignments to keep myself shooting. And in that process, I learned how to visualize the concepts that I had. I also learned how to shoot better, and I also learned what type of subjects and what type of ideas would be attractive to editors and creative directors. And these are some of the things that you learned in this course. You will also learn house who create that personal project from start to finish, as well as how to research your inspiration and establish report with your subject. This course is for any photographer at any level, is also available for any creative who just wants to start that personal project, and their personal project will hopefully lead you toe more paid assignments. I look forward to teaching you some of these things in this course season 2. Where to find ideas and inspiration: ideas, Inspiration are everywhere. It really just depends on where you look. You can find it at. You're a local museum. You can find a while walking through your neighborhood. I find a lot of my ideas by talking to friends and family or flipping through some of these books that's on my bookshelf. And most of my projects have been about people that I know personally or topics that I just have a general interest in. So when an idea hits me, I typically do a quick and there's just a very basic Google search on the idea. And not only do I search for articles or stories, I also look for images because I try my best to be as creative as possible. And I don't want my images to look like, you know, another person that may have taken on the same topic. So doing a little bit of research goes a long way. Look at topics that's on your list that you made from Lesson one. Look at those topics and see which project which idea can be shot within 30 days. That's the overall goal of this course just to get you going, so I don't want you to become overwhelmed with the process about you know just how deep of a dive you need to do with your research. The overall goal of this less is to develop one complete idea, because that put you one step closer actually shooting it. So in the next lesson, we'll talk about just how long you should consider shooting your project. 3. Personal project timeframe: the length of your personal project is up to you. It really depends on the idea whether subject that you decided to shoot. I know that there are photographers, including myself, who who shot projects, Um, that last over years or months, whatever the case may be. But for you know, of course, for this course, you're only choosing one type of that you can actually create, develop, shoot and edit within 30 days. I recommend giving yourself around 4 to 6 months to develop the entire project. And that's from shoot to Prince to development. Teoh delivery to an editor or creative director. This course is just to get you going. And by all means, you know. Please, please, please shoot as long as you want. That's the whole purpose of any personal project. The ideas around your personal project just may evolve. They may take, you know, another route. You may see yourself traveling to other states to complete your project. So just because this course is, you know, kind of limited to 30 days as it mean that you can't go outside off that time span with your project later on. So by all means, please take your idea. Run with it and see just how far it can take you. Though I encourage you to create, shoot and edit and show off your work within the next 30 days. What I want you to focus on is just actually doing the project. 4. Establishing rapport before your shoot: after deciding on your project. Now it's time to start getting in touch with the people who you will be shooting or the people that may be helping you on this project and a quick call or an email will help in this process. I honestly suggest calling. Just make sure you, you know, establish some type of relationship through their voice or whatever the case may be. I know it sounds weird, but being able to hear someone is excited or or, you know, anxious about the project definitely helped and how you prepare for everything. Make sure you find out the details of issue like the location on the time, and this is where schedule will be helpful. A schedule will definitely help in, you know, not wasting anyone's time while you shoot this project. One thing to keep in mind as you're building report is the storyline of the project. If you go into the situation without any plan without a theme or a story line, then you won't find any success in your shoot. So take take some time to consider just what the most important part of this project in the story is when you When we think about building report, we think about building relationships and as you see your project evolved, you understand the value of those relationship in those friendships. Over time, you start to see what other ideas will be developed around this one Friday. It allows you to build something so much deeper, so much, uh, so much gratitude around the idea that someone has given their precious time to you. We all notice how how intimate that time is, how we spend it with anything that we do. So building that relationship, building that rapport as you shoot is going to be important is going to allow a person to open up to you in ways that they have never done with anyone else. They will tell you stories that you've never heard. They will show you pictures. They would give you more ideas. They were open themselves up to you in so many ways. So be grateful that they're spending their time with you and be be aware and be cognizant all the time that you spend with them. It's going to be very valuable to you when you get into the process of editing your photos and staying in touch and, you know, being sure that you are creating the type of stories that you want and one that conveys, you know, something great about their person. 5. Bonus tips for building rapport: It's trying to find something that's super interesting about that person or, um, the people that you are about to photograph. You know, a little bit of research goes a long way. I know that if I find something that you know just really jumps out to me about a person, I may bring it up in a conversation, and those conversations lead to so much more about that person. So I would definitely say, Find something that's going to be, you know, Ah, major conversation piece. Please make sure that you have permission to shoot whatever project that you decide on, um, whether that's going to be no different locations, different still life and things of that nature. If anything, make sure you have a moderately so that everyone will be on the same page as to what the overall goal for your project is. You don't want to leave anybody out of your process, so make sure you let everyone know just how these images may be used. After the project is complete, whether it's going to be on books flyers, you want to use a stock imagery. Whatever the case may be, just make sure you have all your I's dotted and your T's cross, so make sure you have them model release 6. Photographing your project: All right, So now you're at the stage where you're about to start shooting your project, and one thing I want you to focus on is actually taking the pictures and not being, you know, hindered by the gear that you have. I usually try to stay very, very nimble with what I use. I know my gear pretty will. So I know just what Linds will do. The thing that had needed to do, I typically issue with, you know, DSLR along with a 24 to 70. Linds, just because I know that I like to capture a lot of the wide shots of the atmosphere. So I go for lens that will not only have you know the subject in focus, but also have the direct bad driving focuses well, and that's just my personal preference. But don't allow, you know what you may not have right now they hinder you from actually doing the project. So while you're on set, you know, be aware of the atmosphere and be aware of the setting that you're in just to keep your, you know, ideas fresh. You know, you may have come in with one place to shoot and that didn't work. And you have to, you know, maneuver to somewhere else. So always go into the situation. You know, with the person in mind not so much the gear. I would suggest that you focus on the story, focus on what you're hearing, focus on what you're seeing. At that moment, there will be little Sprinkles, a little pockets of time where you see another story beginning to develop, especially if you're having you know, a conversation with the person while you're taking their pictures. So the storyline is going to be the main priority. While you are photographing your subject, be aware of your surrounding. Be aware where you are. Um, use whatever atmosphere that you have as your inspiration just to keep the project going. Just keep the emotions going. Whatever. Um, whatever is going on in your sitting, use that to your advantage. Just make sure that you get the shots that you are looking for 7. Editing your personal project: Okay, Now that you've photographed your project, you're now at the stage where you want to start editing your images. And my favorite software to use for this process is light room, adobe light room. And it allows me to categorize and organize my photos by whatever the project is. And I wanted to just briefly show you, you know, my process when I am editing photos. So what I typically do is, after I've imported all of my images, I will then put them in their appropriate ah folder. I'll also, you know, tagged the images with important information. You know, get the metadata and stuff out of the way are also at key words. You know, that would be relevant to, um, this project and also the type of work that I typically shoot. So after I have gone through that process, you know how Look over the images, um, you know, one by one or either as a group to see which images are the strongest. And after I've chosen those images, then I begin editing. I'm I like to do a lot of batch editing, especially with the colors, and the exposures are similar. Then I have something you know to pretty much start off with. So after I have, you know, kind of cold through, you know, just gone through the images, then I will then edit them accordingly. So since this is an older project, just, you know, just give you are an idea of what I do, Since this is an older project have already gone through and chosen the images that are the strongest, that will be, um, you know, good to show in my portfolio. And I've already edited those images. Um, as I said, I typically just just, you know, chase exposure may change the saturation. The Hughes. Just to get an idea of what? How I want the images to toe. Look, unfortunately, with this this project about the Mardi Gras Indians. Um, As you can see, this was a very lively and vibrant group. There are a lot of colors. There are a lot of you know, different characteristics in each person, even from the adults to Children. So I had a lot of images to play with, and I will be honest. It was hard to choose the best images, but I did my best as to you know my my interpretation of this group. So after you've gone through the images, just do Ah, you know, a little bit of light work as far as choosing the strongest images, the ones that will evoke some type of emotion or the one that you just you can't take your eyes off of, or the one that has the deepest meaning or story to you. So go through your images that you shot for your project. Choose the strongest winds do a little bit of light editing. You know, you may come back, come back and walk away and come back with a different idea as to how to edit. But just make sure that you are choosing those images that will be attractive to either magazine editors or creative directors. 8. Recap and Course Goals: So to recap, we've talked about how to find your inspiration how to establish for poor. But let's look at some of those goals that you can complete for this course. First, make a list of up to 10 personal project ideas, then select one idea that could be completed within 30 days. Began doing your research. Determine your project, start date and then complete your shoot within one week. After selecting your project idea, start reviewing and editing your photos and once you're done, share your class project in the Project gallery. Thanks for sharing this class with me, and I look forward to seeing what you create.