When the creativity within you flows freely you feel great and motivated. However from time to time the creative juice stops flowing and you no longer feel that you have the energy and focus to photograph and capture something unique. Then what do you do?
There are a few simple things you could try and experiment with to get your creative juices flowing again. The tips that follow are in no particular order and just some of the things I have tested and they work for me.
1. SHOOT WITH ONE LENS
A camera lens is the most important kit that a photographer has. For instance to photograph a landscape scene a wide angle lens is the one that most photographers use. However, just because landscape photographers use a wide-angle lens to capture a sweeping landscape scene does not mean that you cannot use a prime lens or a telephoto to capture a similar landscape scene.
It’s liberating to go on a photo shoot with just one lens. You don’t have to worry about switching lenses. It may sound limiting to shoot with a single lens. However on the contrary with this limitation I have been able to explore different viewpoints and I learned to maneuver around my subjects to get unique images.
2. VISIT THE SAME PLACE
Many photographers travel extensively to capture the wonders of the world. Like many photographers I am also constantly searching for new places to explore and often forget about the places I had visited before.
Seeing the same place in different times of the day allows you to experiment and to understand the effects of different light conditions. No light is created equal!
I also find it useful to take the time to visit the place with a fresh frame of mind as if seeing it for the first time. Remember that feeling when you travel and visit new places? You probably feel excited, energized, inspired and amazed at seeing the scene in front of you. Next time you go to the same place you’ve been before, bring in these feelings and forget about any preconceptions you may have about the place. Learn to see the place with a fresh pair of eyes and you will be in for a surprise. Perhaps you never noticed the long shadows during daylight or there are details of the subject that you never paid attention to before or perhaps as you explore an interesting scene starts to develop in front of you. The possibilities are endless!
3. DO A PROJECT
Challenge yourself with a project. For example photograph anything that is red for a whole day. It is amazing what you could find when you discipline yourself to look out for something specific. It teaches one of the most important skills in photography – being observant.
4. WATCH MOVIES
Another source of inspiration that has worked for many photographers is to watch movies. There are so many things one could learn from other forms of visual art and in the case of movies, they provide plenty of good ideas to explore such as the story line, the characters, the dialogues and of course the photography element which no doubt provides a visual feast for photographers.
The magical world of movies provide new experiences and being able to translate that personal experience to a whole new level will help with your own creative process.
5. ALLOW FOR IMPERFECTION
To explore different possibilities you have to allow for imperfections as part of your creative process in photography. In my own experience I have learned that to get an image that works for me I have to experiment with a number of shots. If I found an interesting subject, I would take my shots during sunrise or sunset to capture it in better light condition or if I find an interesting subject and background I would linger around to see if something interesting might happen.
Whatever you define as imperfections – it might be poor lighting, noisy background, lack of focus, and so on; these imperfections create a starting point. Over time I found that these imperfections become an invaluable source for me to explore my creativity and to improve my photography.
6. LOOK OUT FOR THE EXTRAORDINARY IN THE ORDINARY
Photographers often talk about the golden hour, the magic hour, the blue hour. It is typically the first or last hour of sunlight during the day when the sun is near the horizon and the intensity of light is reduced and the hue is warmer.
It creates appealing effects for the end result due to the quality of light. And for that reason sunrise and sunset times are my favourite times of the day to go out and take photographs.
Find a subject that you would like to photograph. Take a photo of the subject outside sunrise and sunset times then return again to photograph that same subject during the golden hour. Then compare the photographs to see how different light conditions affect the subject.
7. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
I know this may sound contradictory to point 2 above, however to be creative it is also important to be out of your comfort zone once in a while. Getting out of your comfort zone does not have to mean jetting off to a place on the other side of the world. It can be as simple as exploring your local neighbourhood. Perhaps there is an area in your locality that you have never visited before. Go out and see if you can capture the spirit and sense of the place.
If your idea of getting out of your comfort zone means going to different parts of the world then make the effort to explore and get to know local people, culture, tradition, food and religion. Be curious but remain respectful. As an outsider you can bring in fresh perspectives that you can experiment with in your photography. Capture the essence of the place, let that emotion or feeling you experience show through in your images.
So there you have it… please leave some comments if you have tried something that worked well for you to get your creativity flowing again.