I have been kinda/sorta doing an instagram photo challenge.

I have some problems with it.

  1. some people use pictures that other people took (like ads) in order to describe the scene. I think that’s kind of like cheating
  2. Some people take pictures of words to describe the prompt- I’m iffy about this one. While a word does tell you the prompt, it’s kind if boring

The we come along my greatest problem with insta challenges:

I am not good at staging scenes.

In fact, I am horrible at staging scenes.

And I am just not creative or clever when it comes to photos.

It’s odd that I scheduled this post for this week. On Sunday I had a crisis of faith regarding my insta phot challenge. The prompt was “swing”.

How do you portray “swing”?

Of course, as I am blazingly literal, I thought about an actual swing at the park.

And I also realized that I could not go to the park and take a picture of the children’s playground. On one level that’s just weird. And on the other level it could get me beat up or arrested.

And then I didn’t know what to do. I did not feel like getting up before the park opened to take a picture…

Then I got lazy.

I didn’t do any of the prompts this week.

Yesterday as I sat in Barnes and Noble and enjoyed by iced tea, I looked at the prompt list. One of them was “mood”. I saw a mural of Oscar Wilde looking quite moody so I snapped it. But I was 100% phoning it in.

Another prompt was “picture”, so I glanced through my camera role and saw a picture of a picture I saw at the Whitney the other day. So I shared that one.




Here are my missing prompts:


a beautiful sight



water drops


Admittedly, some of these are easy, but it’s still hard for me to think about the picture that I want to get…

I know I can take a picture of a vehicle, but how do I make it fun? How do I make it stand out? How do I make it good?

How do I express these ideas clearly without resorting to words, or worse, having to make sure the description is clear enough to show my intention without explanation?

And it all comes down to creativity and set up.

Can you get more creative with photography? Is it a learned skill? If I keep practicing will I get better? Or will I always be blatantly average at it?

Same questions for staging. Some people are genius at it. Others, like me, are not…

I wonder if I’m just too impatient. Do I look at a word and expect some brilliant thought to shoot out of my head thus making it easy? Does some part of me think, well, you just take a picture of something…duh…

I think I’m going to start by doing the prompts a day before they are due. If I give myself a day to think about it, instead of rushing to take the picture and post it, maybe the creativity will start to take space.


But for now, I think I’ll make sure I take the donut picture today, you know, because, donuts…

And I’ll think about how I can creatively portray the others…

86 thoughts on “Insta-Challenge

  1. This is an amazing idea! I’m a semi-pro photographer (an amateur who’s occasionally been paid) so this sounds like so much fun! I don’t know about staging scenes, but ideas popped into my head for each of your prompts.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. See! That’s a gift/skill that I need to work on. The pictures people come up with are amazing. The person I use is FatMumSlim….the photo thing is #fmspad2021


      1. I may have to check that out. Like I need to take more pictures!
        Partly it’s a gift, you either have a “good eye” or you don’t, but it’s also something that you can improve with thought and practice. Just keep taking pictures, think about the angles, the lighting, the background, and you’ll get there.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I love taking pictures. A lot of pictures. Always have. I love to journal. Sometimes there are moments I can’t capture sitting down Because what I’ve realized about pictures I can pull out a picture and immediately e transported back to that time and place. With that comes a flurry of feelings and even more memories. Basically I would just snap away. Now with everything digital it’s easy to go through and discard. I am talking to back in the day where digital cameras just began but I still would make double prints out of every picture I took. I never went through and filtered before I had then developed, which is silly now. But some of the candid, off the wall moments I captured were priceless. I’d say don’t overthink the scene, but sometimes a little staging complete it

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I think I’ve only ever done 1 challenge sort of thing. A month long something or other here on WP and it became tiresome and difficult and a chore to actually complete. I can see the point of a challenge as a means to improve on or explore something new but I always wonder if it’s worth doing when it becomes such an onerous task to complete. Overall, it should be fun, shouldn’t it, and not a struggle? And isn’t it okay just to be done if it really becomes that? I know many would say that quitting isn’t okay, but why? You try something…it doesn’t work out…move on.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Here’s my problem. 1) I have that odd personality quirk (ok….one if several odd personality quirks) that I feel the need to finish something like this. I bailed last year cause if pandemic related angst and I still feel bad 2) I really do want to get better. But I don’t know how 3) sone challenges trip me up….like clean. How do I photograph clean?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I get the quirk, but I think I have finally come to a point that I realize I don’t necessarily owe myself or anyone else a responsibility to stick things out in a situation that began as a fun diversion but has turned into “work”! As to a photo of clean my actual first thought was assemble a random group of cleaning supplies next the tub or toilet and snap a picture. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. See? I never would think of that. Which is part of the reason I’m trying this…so I can stop being so literal and open up my creativity side

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I just take a photo of whatever is in my line of vision that happens to look unique and interesting. Sometimes the composition is slightly off but that’s what cropping is invented for.

    I like your New York images best. I don’t need IG posts to be of something trendy or following prompts. I just like the personal glimpses.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I think practice will make you better at anything but I think some people will always be better due to an innate natural ability. Keep practicing and it will get easier. I need to find a challenge like this. I need prompts to help my creativity sometimes

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Practice. Practice, practice, practice. Having the gear and knowing the terminology is one thing, but that’s only going to take you so far. The rest is practice and fully seeing things instead of just looking at them.

    Also, light. Light is the single most important thing in photography– what kind of light you have, where it’s coming from, how it’s reflecting, how it’s filling the space. Pay attention to what light is dong, what color it is, what it’s highlighting, what sort of shadows the absence of it makes. That takes practice, too.

    Take a look at photographs by Saul Leiter, Fan Ho, Cindy Sherman, and Joel Meyerowitz. Also, look up David duChemin’s blog on his site, http://www.davidduchemin.com His blog posts are full of advice for people at all levels of skill who are wanting to learn more about photography.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I think my biggest challenge, of many, is that I do the insta challenge with my phone camera, which is easier to upload to insta, but far inferior if I want to actually take pictures. I just need to commit to using my camera and going through the motions


  6. I’m not into those IG challenges. I get the idea of being creative and needing prompts, but after I did a couple of those challenges I felt like I used my time trying to do what someone else wanted me to do, rather than seeking my own path to creativity. 🤷‍♀️

    Liked by 5 people

  7. I like challenges at times but at others it becomes a chore and although I will finish them I stop learning or enjoying them. I understand your desire to get better at photography but not every prompt will speak to you and maybe the challenge is going on too long?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’ve always been big on photographs and aesthetics. It’s how it feels rather than the logic behind it all, for the most part.
    Maybe try closing your eyes and focus on how the word makes you feel, what it reminds you off, what time in your life do you go back to and try to capture that in photographs.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. lol (I’m not laughing at you; I’m laughing with you…are you laughing). I think planning ahead is a good idea. If you have a bit of anxiety, then having to create at the (seemingly) last minute/spur of the moment, creates its own form of stress, so yeah. Plan ahead.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Alright, so I’ve never participated in any of these challenges, and don’t foresee doing so, however, there is a strategy I use when wanting to convey something without using the actual word, or an actual picture of what the word portrays, such as a car for a car. I look up the definition and then will go with a different concept that points to what I am describing (in my writing) and then use that photo. For instance, writing about human connectivity, and then using the word cosmos as an associative word, which, if you look it up on Unsplash, will give you pictures of flowers. Here is what I would do with the word vehicle. Define it. Here’s the second part of the definition: a thing used to express, embody, or fulfill something. Then go find something that encapsulates this definition. FYI. When you search vehicle on Unsplash, one of the photos is of someone sitting in a hammock. Perfectly creative.

    Lots to say…😆

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ooooh….I could work with that… though I just took a picture of a bike that I’m using fir vehicle, but yeah…I like the idea of looking for the non obviois

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I think you’re entering a space of “what will people think of this?” on Instagram. I mean isn’t that what Insta is all about? Maybe you’re trying too hard to be creative? I took photo journalism in college as a journalism major. I learned so much in the dark room developing my film and making prints. It’s an experience I treasured. I had all sorts of assignments that pushed me. I have a digital camera that I hardly ever use because the phone is so darn handy. I was going to take a class at our local community college on digital photography but the pandemic ended that opportunity. I’ll have to look for a class in my new town.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. It’s refreshing to get outside and take pictures. I do everyday on my walks around the neighborhood. I’d like to refresh my brain with F stops and all that stuff I learned in college. I will look into a class.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. A few things. First of all, your photos for your weekly recaps are amazing. Don’t sell yourself short. Second, it is okay to take a pause in a challenge like this otherwise you’re stressing yourself out over it. Third, I participated a couple of years ago in the Fat Mom Slim challenge but got called out for using a picture that I took of a map of our town. The prompt was heart and we have a street in our city that is in the shape of a heart. I took a picture of that map and she said it wasn’t valid because I didn’t take the picture. That turned me off. I mean, to me that was a creative use of the word heart. Anyone can take a picture of a heart, not everyone has a street in the shape of one in their town and I didn’t just copy and paste the map, I took a picture of it. Finally, if you want to take a class, don’t forget about CreativeLive. They have a TON of stuff on photography. Here’s my affiliate link. https://www.creativelive.com/design?sscid=41k5_dg2f0&utm_source=1272846&utm_campaign=SASoffer&utm_content=795749&utm_medium=affiliate

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t believe they called you out! I’ve seen some great photos and I’ve seen things I don’t even consider challenge worthy! I guess I want to get better but I don’t see myself getting better…it’s all the perception

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She was kind of rude about it too. Like, “Okay this time but if you ever do it again you can’t post anymore” or some rubbish like that. Really? Instagram is kinda for everyone isn’t it?

        Liked by 3 people

  13. Think outside the box vehicle could be a child’s toy car, an horse, anything that can take you from one place to another. Water drops what about an icicle, it’s a drop of water, just a frozen one. Good luck

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s part of the problem I think…I think the pics I’m doing aren’t really representative of me….and it’s making me mad


      1. I want to become a better photographer which means going out if my comfort zone and not relying on using the auto function on my camera. But it’s not like writing where I always have an idea. I need a push

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What if you walked around nyc and took pics of what insipires you or touches your heart? I would love to see this. what do you mean by better photographer. Do you want to take better pics? Pics that have meaning? What is your end goal?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The end goal is to look at a picture and think it’s really good. But then I wonder if I’ll ever think it’s great. But with writing, I may not think it’s great, but I’m satisfied. With photography o keep thinking I could do better. With writing I almost feel I’m doing the best I can. Does that make sense?


      4. Yes, but why are you looking for great? Why dont you give yourself time to grow and learn and find who you are behind the lense. I feel you are looking for perfection and losing out on the joy of taking a picture. Your pictures are amazing.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I think I would struggle with this. As much as I love to take pictures, I prefer to take pictures of things that are interesting to me and following someone else’s prompts, especially ones that take me outside of my preferred subject area of nature, would be incredibly difficult. If I don’t like the subject, I’m not going to enjoy any part of trying to photography it, so I’m not going to put much energy into being creative with it. I’m very much an advocate of “do what you love” when it comes to being creative. I’m good with stepping outside my comfort zone, but it still has to be interesting to me to do so.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t do writing prompts at all. I feel stifled by them. But with photos I’m trying to get better, so I need to go out if my comfort zone and explore. But yeah…some prompts lock me up a bit too much

      Liked by 1 person

  15. LA, you already do take wonderful photos that I’ve seen on your Sunday blogs. I understand you want to improve, but maybe a challenge prompt isn’t the right “vehicle” for that. BTW, I am also a very literal person (writing metaphors? Fuggetaboudit). It sounds like you really want to compare your ideas and pics to those of other people when it might be better to compare to your own earlier work. Someone out there will always be more talented, clever, witty, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

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