As any photographer knows, the only way to learn and continuously grow in your craft is with practice. And many photographers even take to daily challenges, like a 365 day photo challenge to help keep consistently shooting and improving. It's a simple idea, yet absolutely brilliant.
Recently, I decided I needed to really focus on shooting more with my camera, and figured a challenge would be perfect. So, I turned to my phone to look for an inspirational tool to keep me at it. For years, I have used word generator apps for inspiration, and they work fantastic. But, I thought there must be something more specific for photography challenges...and, of course, there is!
Learn Photo 365 is a photography assignment generator that's actually been around for several years now, but it is still very relevant, and very cool. It's not a flashy app, but it does what it's meant to and goes a bit beyond.
As soon as you open the app, you can choose from a list of assignments, have the app pick one, or choose from one of the challenges. For the challenges, you can go with the 365 day challenge, with plenty of prompts to keep you engaged and on track, or choose another option, like 30 days. There are also Portrait, Scavenger Hunt, and even Selfie challenges.
What I found cool was the subject challenge, where you can get a randomly generated subject and shooting ideas. Here, you are shooting the same subject for 30 days, which will definitely help show your progress in that time.
As far as the assignment categories, there are nine assignment categories to choose from, with subcategories of those as well. In the assignments throughout the app, you will find example shots for the assignment, as well as tips, tricks, and even camera settings.
The Randomizer category is incredible, as it brings you to 9 random assignment generators. If you're lacking inspiration, this will certainly help, and is the best part of the app, in my opinion. Being able to randomly generate some assignments will really keep you inspired...and learning!
I spoke briefly with the creator of the app, Noel Chenier, an educator with many years of experience in photo-journalism. Asking about how he conceived of the app, he says "I’ve been a photography educator since 2000, and have always looked at ways to help inspire people with their photography. Back in 2012 I got the idea to create an app that does just that.
I came up with a variety of assignments and categories, as well as various random-style options. And then I also realized that there were lots of people who tried completing a Photo365/Photo A Day and ended up failing, so I added the ability to create a list of assignments to keep them on track.
The iOS version of my app I completed myself, using a hybrid HTML/iOS platform called PhoneGap. However, I couldn’t get it to really work with Android, so I hired a developer for that version."
You can learn more about Noel and get some great photography education at his website: www.learnphoto365.com
Noel has created an incredibly helpful, inspirational app for photographers, and it's easy to use, as well as a lot of fun. There is a limited free version available, but I highly recommend the small purchase (currently $2.99 USD) that opens all assignments. It is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Learn Photo 365 will certainly be my go to for quite some time.
Nick C Sorbin (Nick Charles) is a former Managing Editor of 9 years for Renderosity's CG Industry News. By day, a mild-mannered Certified Pharmacy Technician working in both home infusion and a hospital ER, contrasting creative outlets as a digital artist, sculptor, musician, singer/songwriter, and Staff Writer for Renderosity Magazine. Read his articles