Have you ever been frustrated with your photography? Have you felt like you're photographing the same subjects and your images are starting to look alike? Or, have you felt frustrated because you haven't been able to challenge your own style or find new inspiration? Trust me, we all have those moments. If it's for a few days, it's ok. If it's for a couple of weeks, panic can start to set in! How do we break the cycle?
We'll share some ideas on how you can ignite some creativity and find some new inspiration. Some ideas you've probably read about already and maybe even tried. If it worked, try it again. If it didn't, try something different. Let's give a few a whirl!
Go Crazy or Conservative with A Plug-In
Sometimes you don't have to step to far away from your laptop, workstation or smartphone to infuse creativity. If you have a go-to plug-in, are you using the same technique or are you trying new techniques (or recipes) each time? Plug-ins for Photoshop and Lightroom or Creative Apps for your smartphone have the potential convert ‘just another nice image' into creative artistry that's outside of your comfort zone.
The two images below show the spring camellia with traditional post processing followed by applying techniques with my added modifications using a plug in.
Study the Masters – The Artists of Today & Yesterday
The painters, sculptors, photographers of yesterday and today had their own eye, their unique perspective, a special touch. You, as a photographer are an evolving artist as well.
Studying other artists is more than looking at their work. It's considering their use of color, patterns, composition and light. How did your favorite artists use texture in sculptures and carvings? How did the sketchers work with one color to create art rich with detail? How did architects use lines? How did the painters and photographers pull viewers into the eyes of their subject? There's a lot to observe and learn.
The artist Jan used composites of multiple images to create art that pays tribute to the late Georgia O'Keefe. Color, texture and contrasting subjects were joined to create colorful imagery.
Go Somewhere Different – Explore Photographers' Works Taken There
As a nature photographer, I long to be outdoors as much as possible. The idea of going inside to do photography work doesn't motivate me. To expand my perspectives, sometimes I join with other photographers to explore subjects outside of my comfort zone.
Before going out to photograph different venues, I set aside time to look at images created by others. The intention is not to copy other photographers or alter my own creative spin. It is to study what I'll be seeing in advance to maximize my creative time while there.
The images above and below were taken at the Detroit Opera House. Since we only had a two hour window, I searched Flickr and Google to get a feel for the inside. Once there, the fun began and continued through post-processing. Close ups, black and white, unique lines all combined to inspire a different eye and add something different to my portfolio (and Etsy site).
Turn Around or Change Your Angle of View
There are many times that by simply turning around, you may find something special and unexpected. This doesn't take a lot of work and planning. You're photographing a sunset? Turn and look to see what the sun is illuminating. Photographing a pier? Turn and view the city lights behind you.
Rent, Buy or Borrow a Different Type of Lens
I recently wrote a review on the Lensbaby Velvet 56. I had always purchased lenses with the intention of getting sharp images. This new addition was to force me to look at subjects and my approach in photography a little bit differently.
You don't have to buy, rent or borrow a lens. You may find inspiration by working with the f/stops that are outside of your standard range. If you have telephotos, try a prime lens or just sticking with one focal length for a period of time. This will encourage you to use your feet and further study your subject.
What do you do to infuse creativity and inspiration into your photography? A favorite trick? A post processing tool? We'd love to hear from you!
What We Recommend to Improve Your Photography Fast
It's possible to get some pretty large improvements in your photography skills very fast be learning some fundamentals. Consider this the 80:20 rule of photography where 80% of the improvements will come from 20% of the learnable skills. Those fundamentals include camera craft, composition, understanding light and mastering post-production. Here are the premium guides we recommend.