5 Ideas for Labor Day Photo Projects

Looking for some ideas to work on your photography skills in addition to enjoying the last weekend of summer? Here are some Labor Day photography projects that will help get your creativity going this weekend.

Labor Theme

Labor Day was established to recognize the worker (https://www.dol.gov/laborday/history.htm). In keeping with the holiday, use “work” or “labor” as a theme for your photos. Try showing the workers from many angles – a wide angle showing the overall scope of the work, a tighter shot showing the faces, or an even tighter shot showing hands at work.

Hands at work. Photo Credit: Gina Gallagher
Hands at work. Photo Credit: Gina Gallagher

Find a Race to Photograph

Many cities have fun runs or other races over Labor Day Weekend. Use these as an opportunity to practice photographing athletes in motion. Check out runningintheusa.com for events in your area. You might also find information on the websites of your local news channels. Use this as an opportunity to try techniques that you might not have tried before or compositions that are outside the standard “race shots” provided by event photographers. Try highlighting the movement by panning a runner to get a blurred background. Shoot from a low vantage point to give the runners a more powerful appearance. Look for runners wearing fun clothing – you will likely find some interesting costumes or team tee shirts in some of the shorter family fun runs.

If you need advice on how to photograph sports, you can find some great tips in this compilation of articles: (https://improvephotography.com/category/photography-subjects/sports-photography/. Remember that there may be hired photographers at the event or family and friends trying to photograph their favorite runners, so be considerate of fellow photographers and share the shooting space. You should also respect the space of the runners. It’s easy to forget how long that telephoto zoom lens is when you are holding it up and looking through the camera, so be mindful to keep all parts of the camera on the spectator side of any barrier

One Last Time to the Water

My social media feed contained so many great photos shot underwater, at the beach or poolside this past summer. If you didn’t get any photos of your kiddos, take this last weekend of the summer to hit the pool or the beach and take your camera. If the beach is your water fun of choice, remember to use caution around the sand with your camera. Resist changing lenses on the beach, and keep your gear protected in a bag when not in use. Although not usually recommended, this may be a good time to install a UV filter on the front of your lens so that the sand doesn't scratch the front element – just make sure you buy a good one. It’s much better to get scratches on a UV filter than the front lens element but a cheap one can add color casts or degrade the image quality of your photos.

Check out an underwater housing for your gear if you plan to take it into the water with you. Make sure the housing is appropriate for your camera model, and test the housing according to the manual before use. Another option is purchasing a waterproof camera to get those fun shots without risking the “good gear”. And, although a camera phone is not my camera of choice, you can get a waterproof cover for your phone, rendering it safe to take in the water. Remember to make sure your phone is backed up back up – data and photos – before heading into the water. Even if the case has a warranty that will cover the cost to replace your phone, that back up will make sure you still have all your photos and data stored if you need to use that warranty.

Street Photography at Local Festivities

Your community likely has some events planned for Labor Day. Look for a parade or a festival as an opportunity to practice street photography. Check out smartdestinations.com for festivities in some major US cities. For some quick tips on street photography, listen to this recent episode of Photo Taco: https://improvephotography.com/34161/photo-taco-braving-the-streets/

Make a “Back to School” Themed Collage

Ok, this one doesn't really have to be on Labor Day, but this is a good time to think about making a back to school photo collage since your kids have already returned or will be returning on Tuesday. Locate your back to school photos from years past, and create a collage from them along with this year’s back to school photo. It’s a fun way to celebrate how your kids have changed and grown over the years.

Bonus Idea: Take a Video Course!

Photography Start video course for only $90!If as you go out to shoot this Labor Day weekend you are at a point where you aren't completely comfortable using manual mode on your camera, or you need some help getting better composition in your shots, it is the perfect time to get some professional help from Jim's new Photography Start video course!  The course offers 22 hours of HD video that you can stream and/or download to your computer, tablet, or smartphone forever!  It is an amazing value.

Have a great Labor Day weekend and get out there to shoot!

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