Photograph an avocado to challenge yourself and push your photography skills

Jan 25, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Photograph an avocado to challenge yourself and push your photography skills

Jan 25, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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With such a varied world around us, it’s quite straightforward to find new and interesting subjects to shoot. But is this really pushing our abilities as photographers? Is it the subject that makes our new images interesting or how we photograph them? Getting a decent photograph of an interesting subject is easy, but what about a boring subject?

That’s the challenge posed in this video from the folks at COOPH. To photograph a rather boring and mundane object – in this case, an avocado – in as many different ways as possible to try to make some interesting images. Are you up to the challenge?

They do offer some tips and suggestions for the challenge, to help get you going…

  • Get texture – What textures and surfaces does the object have that make it unique? How can you capture them in a way that people might not immediately recognise?
  • Play with colour – Placing your subject in differently coloured environments of complementary or contrasting colours can make a massive difference to the mood and feeling of the image. Gels on your lights can also drastically change the appearance of your subject.
  • Shoot black & white – Get rid of the colour completely. This can often produce some very unexpected results. Colour creates contrast, and converting to black and white can either lessen or enhance it to great effect.
  • Shoot silhouettes – Silhouettes can be very fun to experiment with. Many items have an instantly recognisable silhouette and can be quickly identified. Others can completely hide what the object really is and make your viewer wonder what’s in those strange and interesting shapes.
  • Cut and peel it – In a literal sense, this one might be a bit more specific to fruit. But you can use the same principle with just about anything. Open items up and take them apart to show what they’re made of. Just make sure you know how to put it back together again afterwards if you need to.
  • Shape it – This one is something of an extension of the previous tip, and can be difficult with objects that aren’t easily cut up or taken apart. But consider the shape of an object, and how you can complement or contrast it with the background elements.

These aren’t the only ways to approach the many different ways you can photograph the same object, but they’re a few to get you started. Once you start experimenting and trying new things, you’ll quickly pick up some new ideas of your own, too. Perhaps something that could become your “signature look” for that type of subject, or become the start of a series on a particular style or theme.

Fruit and other types of food are great for this type of experimentation. We’re offered so many colours and textures that there are infinite photographic possibilities.

If you want to challenge yourself even further, try regular everyday products. The more boring the better. Because that’s the challenge. To make the boring, look interesting.

Have you tried something like this before? How did it go? Share your images in the comments.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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3 responses to “Photograph an avocado to challenge yourself and push your photography skills”

  1. Dunja0712 Avatar
    Dunja0712

    In one of my periods of life when I had a flu/cold every two weeks, I photographed lemons (since I was drinking lemonade every freakin’ day).
    When life gives you lemons… ;)

  2. Burt Johnson Avatar
    Burt Johnson

    Excellent video with lots of intriguing ideas!

    Here is one of my favorites from a session with an avocado a few years ago — https://www.dropbox.com/s/bu0mp0a2eewi87s/blj_20110824_avacado.jpg?dl=0

  3. Raphael Ben Dor Avatar
    Raphael Ben Dor

    Very cool