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A Dozen Creative Ideas to Inspire Your Next Photo Shoot

Speaking of creativity, design and color, there's another medium we turn to for inspiration on a daily basis: the art of the photo series. Some photo series take years and years to create, some a month, and some just a day. There's a reason the well-propped and decorated photo booth has became standard at weddings and events of all kinds. It's basically a photo series! And when we say "photo shoot" we mean any event where you take lots and lots of photos. :)

Whether you're a professional photographer capturing neon colors in the sky or a creative dad taking crazy photos of your daughters, the act of committing to a series lends itself to all sorts of creative expression. It's like giving yourself a homework assignment. Try to fit this specific thing into your daily, weekly, or monthly creative practice and see what happens. As is our nature, we've taken it upon ourselves to round up 12 of the most creative photo series seen around the web today, as well as a few bonus ideas for creative inspiration and participation. 

1. The Flying Baby Series: No better way to kick things off than with a flying baby. We adore this series. It's creative, playful, and seems to defy physics. Photographer Rachel Hulin stumbled into this shot while simply taking a photo of her son when he looked as if was floating in midair. 

2. Underwater Dogs: From infants in the air to dogs underwater, this next series takes man's best friend into the big blue. Photographer Seth Casteel is a professional pet photographer whose dedication to animals is pretty incredible. In fact, he's got a whole side non-profit business taking gorgeous photos of dogs in shelter with the hope of finding them good homes. Keep your eyes on Amazon for Underwater Dogs in print.

3. Same Hill, Different Day: This series by Paul Octavious captures, as the name suggests, the same hill throughout the changing seasons. The hill in question is in Lincoln Park, Chicago, and is a popular, comforting, iconic spot for Chicagoans, whether the season calls for sledding, stargazing, napping, or kite-flying. Love this hill so much you want it in your home? Snag a print or two at 20×200

4. People as Snowflakes: Known for utilizing the human form in unusual ways, we love this whimsical pair of snowflake photographs by Gregoire Alexandre. Adding it to the list of inspiration for the Brit team photo!

5. Photo Drips: Color! Manipulating photos might not quite count as a photo series, but you won't tell anyone, will you? ;) These beautiful wood panels by Markus Linnenbrink allow the viewer to catch a glimpse of a moment that was captured, and have the effect of memories fading in and out. 

6. Everyday by Noah Kalina: This photo series never ceases to amaze us. Starting in 2000, photographer Noah Kalina has photographed himself every single day from the exact same angle in the exact same position. It creates a super interesting chronicle of how ones face is always changing depending on time, place, and age, but those eyes are just the same! Want to see Noah as a fresh-faced undergrad? Check out the Everyday video here

7. Sky Series: These excruciatingly gorgeous photographs by Eric Cahan definitely make us want to spend more time waking up and/or going to bed at odd hours to try to capture the brilliant hues found in the sky. Most of the work for this project has been created during Cahan's extensive travels, and each photograph's title includes the place and time of day. 

8. Kristin and Kayla: What started as a creative way for wedding photographer Jason Lee and his daughters to keep in touch with his mom who had recently been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, has become a full-blown internet photog sensation. We love the playfulness and creativity in each of these photos.

9. Maddie on Things: Reminiscent of William Wegman and his Weimeraners, Theron Humphrey's charming Maddie on Things series catalogs what he describes as "A Super Serious Project about Dogs and Physics." Humphrey will spend this year road tripping around the states, capture his supermodel coonhound ON things. Come to SF Maddie! 

10. High Speed Coffee: No, we're not talking about a super caffeinated cup of coffee. ;) By using an extremely high speed, high resolution camera, photographer Jack Long has mastered the art of capturing fluid in movement. The coffee series is one we can relate to, but be sure to check out his personal photo stream on Flickr for more creative uses of everyday liquids and speedy settings. 

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11. Stellar Series: That's right. Animated gifs are not just for Deal WIth It dogs with sunglasses. In the past year or two, we've seen more and more artful uses of the gif popping up, sometimes called wiggles or cinemagraphs. This series by Ignacio Torres employs dust and reflective confetti (!!!) to create galaxies to illustrate the theory that humans are made of cosmic matter as a result of stars death. Whoa. 

12. Instaxgrams: Instax and Instagram. Sworn enemies or would-be allies just waiting to unite in the form of a creative photo series? We love this series by Kyle Steed who takes the vintage quality of Instagram and combines it with the analog awesomeness of Fuji Instax Instant photos. 

Want to be part of a crowdsourced photo series? Here are two we love:

Young Me / Now Me: Not a recent photo series but one that we always love to check out, ZeFrank's Young Me / Now Me asks for photos where you pose as your younger self. Every image is user submitted, so the photography is less polished but more personal. Personal stories are included on the blog, including the holiday one above submitted by none other than yours truly!

Jump Because: Jumping photos are awesome! They infuse life into any photo shoot, and always come out completely different. Submit jumping photos to this site, and keep on jumping. 

No matter what, you don't need professional photography equipment to have fun with photo series. Grab your point and shoot or your smartphone, and get creative with props, backdrops, daily captures, etc. Check out two examples from my personal snapshot collection: 

A Day at Alameda Antiques Faire in Mirrors: Taken with an iPhone, this was a one day project inspired by all the gorgeous and unusual antique and vintage mirrors at the Alameda Antiques Faire just east of San Francisco.

Superimpose Yourself Everywhere: Take a silly picture of you and your significant other and drop it into ridiculous backgrounds. This was a fun project we did for our holiday party. The original photograph was taken on a Thanksgiving trip to Mexico. With a little help from photoshop, our brightly colored selves have really been getting around. 

And just because it's so silly and so well done, an honorable mention goes out to this guy who is crazily masterful at Photoshopping celebrities into his holiday party photos

Have you seen any incredible photo series we should know about? Want to try your hand at a personal series inspired by one of the projects above? Send us links and photos via the comments below or on Twitter and we'll feature the best ones on your blog. 

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