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Creativity boosting with this once-a-week photography challenge

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“Why, Carol, what’s this new spew of super creative dog photography I’m seeing come up on your socials lately?” you may be asking. 

First! Thanks for noticing! Second, as a way to keep my shutter-button-finger in shape, I’m doing a year long project: 52 Frames.

Who the what now?

The 52 Frames Project! It’s a world-wide group of photographers, pro and less so, that submit a weekly photo. Not just pet photographers either. Each week we submit a photo based on a specific theme or technique. There are also weekly bonus challenges, which are completely optional.

BONUS! I’ve joined lovely group of pet photographers doing it too (shoutout to Heidi at Heidi Adler Photography for the nudge to join! Eh hem…I also helped design her logo…pretty cool, right?!). We have our own private Facebook group. We can ask for feedback, help on deciding on what to submit and just share support and inspiration. That extra bit of community and motivation alone is worth it to me. 

Browse #hounds on the 52 Frames site if you’d like to see our submissions.

It’s a way for me to make my pet portraits extra unique and take them to the next level.  

What kind of themes are there in this project?

Well! All sorts! They did have to come up with 52 completely different ideas, so naturally there’s lot of variety. 

Here’s a list of some of my favorites from 2023:

  • black and white
  • shot from above
  • line from a  song
  • motion blur
  • panning
  • a chair
  • reflections
  • bokeh
  • backlit
  • red, etc.

And some of the bonus, add-on challenges:

  • use a stranger
  • product photography
  • shoot on real film
  • use drone
  • use a mirror
  • long exposure….

The Rules:

Each submission must be taken within the challenge week. No dipping into those archives! Go easy on the post-processing. Submit before midnight NYC time on Sunday evening, otherwise you turn into a Gremlin, probably.

The Prize:

Better photos! Well, each week when the album of all 3,000+ participants’ images gets posted, the creators pick their top 3. Major street cred. Then at the end of the week they tag their top 52. Have I gotten such props yet? No, but then again I’m only on week 7! And I’m not doing it for cred. Just for creativity.

Why bother?

Well, it’s an excuse to go out there, camera in hand, and play! No pressure to win the Internets, no clients to impress, no restrictions on creativity! 

It’s a personal project – for me! And my only goal is to get out there and capture SOMETHING. One shutter click per week, for the entire year. If it’s an amazing portrait of a dog, bonus. 

But what usually ends up happening is as follows:
  • “Sheesh, me, it’s been a busy week hasn’t it?” 
  • “Yes. And our 52 Frames image is due tomorrow. EEK!”
  • “Is it Saturday already? Well, let’s go for simplicity this week and do something easy.”
  • ::4 hours pass and I have 300 images to choose from::
  • “HOW WILL I DECIDE?!!”

That’s where the group comes in handy. And I’m not the only one hustling over the weekend to get images in before the Sunday, midnight deadline. 

The idea is to create space to let new forms of inspiration to take form. When you’ve been doing pet photography for as long as I have, it’s easy to fall into a creative rhythm or stick to trends. This is a way to detach and PLAY! 

All of these images were inspired by a weekly challenge. Not bad, right? Playing is when the magic happens. 

I always say now is the time to get on with capturing magical memories of your beloved furry besties. What are you waiting for? Them to be old and tired and bleh…? NO! Plus there are 44 more weeks of this…

Can my dog play in front of your camera too?

Yes! Let’s make art!

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9 Comments
  1. Sharon

    I love the idea of having a group to help with your creative dog photography. You definitely have taken some beautiful, unique dog portraits. I would love to see more images from your personal projects.

    Reply
    • THE Carol Mudra

      Thanks Sharon! It also helps to have at least 1 willing dog model (I have two dogs, but the other costs more cheese and is a bit harder to work with…ha!).

      Reply
  2. Terri

    Wow these are great – it’s amazing to be able to get involved with personal projects that inspire creative dog photography!
    Enjoy and keep the unique dog portraits coming!

    Reply
    • THE Carol Mudra

      Thanks, Terri! It’s a lot of fun to just go play and see where it takes me. And if it’s a flop I don’t feel too bad either.

      Reply
  3. Kim Hollis

    I’m participating in Unleashed Education’s 6 month challenge called Empower which starts on March 1. Like the 52 week project, mine helps me think outside the box with my dog photography and get creative. I think personal dog photography projects can be so rewarding.

    Reply
    • THE Carol Mudra

      Oh that’s great! I”m just starting with Embark in May. I think I really need challenges like this to step outside of my normal routines. I’m excited to start and can’t wait to see what you come up with for Empower, Kim!

      Reply
  4. Cahlean Klenke

    A weekly photography challenge is a great way to grow in your skills and keep your shutter button from growing rusty (though your shutter may stick from tons of use instead haha!). Looks like tons of fun doing different weekly photography themes with merely procrastination pressure!

    Reply
    • THE Carol Mudra

      The procrastination pressure is REAL!!! Haha and my shutter button’s already a little sticky from Peanut Butter Finger. It’s a real problem. Haha!

      Reply
  5. Nicole

    I love that you’re doing a weekly challenge as a personal project to feed your creative dog photography! Have fun with it!

    Reply
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