This is the official thread for submitting theme ideas for the Photo of the Week competition.

Whenever a new photo contest rolls around (currently they are running bi-weekly) we will take the top-voted idea from this thread, move it to the archive thread, and start a theme announcement thread linked from the PhotoSE header. If, for any reason, a theme week is canceled or a theme idea is determined impractical for that week, it will be returned to the pool here, and the next highest one used.

Rules for Submitting Ideas

  1. ONE idea per answer
  2. Multiple answers per member are allowed, but please don't spam suggestions. We're aiming for quality, not quantity.
  3. Check the Photo of the Week Theme Ideas Archive first
    • Don't submit ideas that have already been done
  4. Duplicates will be deleted (so check this thread first, too!)
  5. Photo-SE is an unrestricted public site that the underage can visit
    • Please keep ideas civil and legal!
  6. Vote up for the ones you like!!

As with the PotW contest, please refrain from down votes. If a particularly offensive theme is suggested, that is a time to flag for moderator attention and comment.

  • I've converted this thread to wiki, so it can be freely edited. I think it would be helpful to allow improvements and refinements to any idea to be made by the community as a whole. PLEASE discuss major edits with the originator before making them, however, so you don't dilute their original intent. Minor edits such as to clarify an original concept or expand an original concept with greater detail are acceptable without prior consultation.
    – jrista
    Dec 20 '11 at 17:53
  • I think we are well past the point where the plethora of 40 already used themes are ALL superior to pretty much ANY of the 15 remaining unused ones.
    – Michael C
    Nov 8 '21 at 18:59

12 Answers 12


Famous Buildings

The is theme would be any structure that is know relatively widely. It could also include not just buildings but structures such as tunnels, radio masts etc.

For example:

  • The Eiffel Tower
  • The Sydney Opera House
  • The Statue of Liberty
  • St Peter's Basilica
  • The Great Wall of China
  • Taipei 101
  • Sagrada Familia
  • The Mezquita, in Córdoba
  • 2
    There is a famous church in Finland, that nearly every Finn (the whole population being 6 million people) would recognise from a photo. Buildings of worldwide recognition are few, really. I don't think there's any of that class in Finland, so to take a photo for this theme, i would need to travel abroad. Mar 14 '13 at 17:30
  • 2
    @EsaPaulasto That would probably count, but some thing like the apartment block next door (to use that figure of speech) wouldn't, the apartment block may be recognized by everyone who lives in the immediate area, but wouldn't be by some one from another area. I would agree that Kotkan kirkko would be an appropriate subject. Mar 15 '13 at 6:16
  • 3
    I'm not sure why the building needs to be famous. In fact the more famous the building the more trite the images tend to be.
    – Eric S
    Apr 21 '21 at 16:36


Something heavily 'photoshopped' - replaced backgrounds, inserted people or objects, etc.
The resulting image can be pseudo-naturalistic or abstract.



Photos with dead stuff. Examples can include decomposing matter, dead trees/plants/animals, animals with their prey, food that was once alive (plant, fungi, or meat based), or other symbolic representations of death.



A piece of fruit cut in half, the inside of a model, the end of a building under construction, where the end wall is missing...

  • This sentence reads very differently if you're a fashion photographer :D yesterday
  • I'm not suggesting you cut people in half :P yesterday


Now that we have guidelines on achieving various Renaissance styles, why not put them into use? If a photo can communicate values of Renaissance era in some other way, that'd be welcome too.


Star Trail

A long exposure shot of a beautiful star trail.


Freezing or Melting

Anything that is frozen or melting, literally or metaphorically. Examples include anything to do with snow/ice, movement that is frozen, something that is "frozen through time," a chocolate or candle melting, or someone having a meltdown.



Seems rather appropriate, this time of year.
Get out. Shake off those winter cobwebs. Feel the new spark of life.

  • Hmm. Might have to pull an "executive privilege" and elevate this for timeliness purposes. Otherwise, this would almost certainly pop off-season...
    – scottbb Mod
    May 4 '21 at 0:32
  • On the other hand, if it's meant to be "current", it suffers from being north/south hemisphere-specific.
    – scottbb Mod
    May 4 '21 at 0:35
  • I suppose that's going to be true for many things, from seasons to 'mother's day'… we all have them at different times :)
    – Tetsujin
    May 4 '21 at 6:04


Photographs that:

  1. show a custom made or crafted object, or the process of making a bespoke thing; and
  2. are bespoke for this contest — that is, created after the contest has begun.
  • I like both parts of this, but it feels like they should be two separate themes. It will be hard to judge the two categories against each other. Dec 19 '21 at 22:26
  • @LightBender Hmm. I wasn't thinking of it as 2 categories. I was suggesting a theme for photos that show a custom object (or the crafting of it), and the photo was taken for this contest. That is, not one-or-the-other, but both conditions.
    – scottbb Mod
    Dec 20 '21 at 16:02
  • @LightBender I've made a slight edit. Does that improve the theme or clarity?
    – scottbb Mod
    Dec 20 '21 at 16:04
  • yes, the "and" makes it much more clear 👍 Dec 20 '21 at 16:09

Nuclear and Radiological

Radioactive chemicals or signage in scientific laboratories, medical facilities, military weapons or power stations.

Also including human or physical damage caused by radiation, such as power station meltdowns and environmental contamination.

Plus the positives: patients undergoing radiotherapy, rifle sights etc.

  • 2
    This one seems... particularly dangerous, if you get my drift. I'm sure most people don't have access to high power nuclear centers, or don't live near one, or don't want to get near one.
    – 10 Rep
    May 26 '21 at 0:49


Photos of enclosed spaces, or confined areas. Anything like small areas (think opposite of landscape/open spaces)



Photos of people or animals asleep, pictures of occupied beds or nests, piles of leaves etc.

Also pictures of "sleeping" landscapes - eg winter scenes, quiet towns, empty buildings

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