ideas: naff ideas

Naff ideas

A few naff ideas - not an exhaustive list.

Done too many times; so if you decide to do any of these, make it really good!

a drawing of a tree

  • Churches
  • Trees
  • Water
  • Bare blank walls
  • Doors and windows
  • Rubbish

Too naff to talk about; if you do any of these, don't show your photography tutor;

  • Sunsets
  • Pets
  • Babies

cartoon: boy and girl holding hands

  • Boyfriends + Girlfriends
  • Local tourist attractions, eg. Glastonbury Tor if you live in Somerset
  • My car, motorbike, or bicycle
  • My bedroom

Too difficult for various reasons;

cartoon: a baby

  • Children - they move too quickly, or else look posed if you make them keep still.
  • People in action, especially indoors or under low light - sports photography is too specialised for most beginners and usually involves complicated and expensive equipment.
  • Formal portraits - unless you have specialist studio equipment and know what you're doing.
  • Wildlife - again, too specialised.

Too vague; but may work ok if a focused approach is taken.

  • Relationships
  • People in their environment
  • Leisure
  • Work

Too conceptual or abstract; these tend to be based on non-visual ideas and there is a struggle to illustrate something which does not lend itself to photography;

  • Time
  • Mankind
  • Life

And here are a few suggestions, hopefully not so naff: Most of these naff ideas could be done in a new and interesting way, but it is useful to know the clichés. A theme like Rubbish or Decay could create photographs of flaking paint or rotting wood with wonderful texture and colour. There are a number of great photographers who have tackled this theme - Aaron Siskind (i), Edward Weston (ii), etc...

The theme Cars could be treated in many different ways, for example a black and white photo documentary on their environmental impact / a glossy colour project concentrating on details of vintage cars / an action project on stock car racing, and so on.

Two more tips

  • It's not what you photograph but how that's important
  • Go for quality, not quantity


  1. Aaron Siskind
  2. Edward Weston