One of the best things about the online photo community is that, no matter what idea you want to try, there is probably someone who can show you how to do it. In fact, chances are really good there’s a free online tutorial video for it.

Want to put together a composite in minutes? Check out this short video. Never tried focus stacking? This Phlearn video has you covered; and this post shows you how to do it for landscape shots!

I could go on, but by now you get my point.

So let’s experiment! Let’s take out our camera, get out of that creative rut, and try out a style of photography you’ve always found fascinating, but never actually done. Here are 5 of our favorites:

1. Powder Play

Your first try at playing with powder—be it flour or chalk or some sort of colored powder—probably won’t look like Alexander Yakovlev‘s incredible portrait above, but don’t let that stop you!

Our co-founder, Evgeny Tchebotarev, tried his hand (literally) at this form of photography for the very first time this past week and captured this photo:

It’s not anything crazy, but it’s something totally different than his ‘status quo’ as a photographer. In other words: it helped to expand his horizons and get him excited about photography again. It’s what’s so cool about experimentation.

Not sure how to go about doing a shoot like this? Here’s a great tutorial from 500px user CEB Imagery:

One final word about gear. As you can see, these shoots are best done with a really solid lighting setup, but if you’re not there yet, experiment with a single speedlight and a smaller setup. Do what Evgeny did and shoot just your hand instead of a dancer.

In other words: don’t let ‘I don’t have enough gear’ be an excuse—worst case scenario: RENT IT (you’ll hear this a lot in this post…)

2. Steel Wool Spinnin’

WARNING: Any time you’re dealing with fire you must be very careful! Protect yourself, your equipment, your subject, and your surroundings. And ALWAYS have a fire-extinguisher handy.

Spinning steel wool is one of the simpler ideas you can try, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to get a cool photo even if it’s just your first time.

We won’t go into the details of setting up a shot like this because there are a lot of tutorials | out | there. Suffice it to say you have no excuse NOT to try this some night this week or weekend.

Grab a friend or two, your camera, a tripod, some steel wool, and a fire extinguisher, and get to spinnin’. And if you need inspiration, check out these 21 kick-ass steel wool shots we featured on ISO earlier this week.

3. Underwater Portrait Session

Ellie by Jenna Martin on

Underwater photography might seem out of reach for you. Excuses like “it’s too expensive” or “I don’t live near a body of water” or whatever abound. But there’s a saying: excuses are like a-holes… everyone has one and they all stink.

Don’t have an underwater housing? Rent one. Or, if you’re feeling frisky, buy a waterproof ‘tough’ camera that you can reuse every time you go on vacation with your family! They’re not the best quality, but they’ll do the job.

As for not living close to a body of water, there is a good chance you have a friend with a pool, or a friend of a friend with a pool, somewhere out there. If you can’t think of anyone, blast out a Facebook status about how you want to try a cool photo shoot idea and need a pool: someone will probably come through.

There are some tutorials and tips posts/videos online—here and here, for example—that will help you get started, but the best way to start is to just start.

Rent a housing, grab a friend, find a pool, and give it a shot!

4. Get Aerial

The world looks very different from above; if you’ve never photographed something from the air, you’re missing out on some perception-shifting magic. And while it won’t be cheap to hire an aircraft, it’s definitely doable.

Assuming you’re on a budget, we’d recommend staying away from helicopters because they’re usually more expensive to rent than a light aircraft like a Cessna.

Do a quick Google search, make some calls, and put up a status on Facebook. They say you’re only 5 degrees of separation from anybody on Earth… if only 5 people stand between you and Brad Pitt, chances are good there’s a single-engine pilot somewhere in your circle of friends of friends.

5. The Floating Portrait (or Self-Portrait)

Levitation photos are awesome, and all you need to capture one yourself is a willing model (maybe yourself) and a small amount of Photoshop skill.

These are extremely cool shots and anybody can do them, as 500px photographer Ian Norman—who captured the photograph above—explained in this in-depth tutorial. He takes you step by step through the whole process so, again, no excuses! Just go out and try it.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of photo ideas. From the basic (macro photography) to the complex (fun composite portaits), there’s no limit to the number of things you can try if you’re willing to get out of your box and take a chance.

But if you do go out and try any of these ideas this week, upload the results to 500px and drop a link in the comments! We’d love to see what you captured.