The “Block.” It is what keeps us from tapping into the creative side of our brains and producing great photography. Whenever you find yourself struggling to find inspiration in your photography, here is a list of 10 ways to rediscover the world around you and get you shooting again:
Okay let's be real, buying new gear is probably the last on your list. It is just extra money we most likely don't have right now. However, we need to have the right gear for the right shoot and using our favorite kit lens for everything is not the solution to getting creative again. So if you are looking at taking more landscapes but all you have is a 70-200mm lens… look at getting the right lens to allow you to take the landscapes you wished you could. If funds are in short supply, consider renting a lens for a weekend shoot.
If you are interested, we have a list of gear we have tried and tested here: Recommended Gear
This can actually be really inspiring for some people. It might even be helpful for those who are just learning about photography and need some one-on-one help with the camera and instant feedback about the shots you're taking. There is a website called www.meetup.com that allows you to search for groups of interest in your local area.
Another benefit in joining a group like this is that you'll be with other people taking photos of the same thing (most likely) and you will have the chance to see their vision. I have been apart of several groups like this and it is extremely interesting to see how many different photos are created out of the same scene.
This can be as basic or extreme as you would like. It could be a side of town you don't often visit or a whole new city (or even country) you would like to visit. Sometimes getting out of the simple routine of life and allowing ourselves to see what is around can make a world of difference.
It is for the same reason we like to visit attractions away from where we live as opposed to seeing the ones in our own background. It's different.
There are a lot of photo sharing websites out there that you can search. Go ahead and search for the photography that you are interested in doing. The more photos that you look at, the more your mind will be looking at everything with that photographic eye. Already planning composition and the final outcome of the shot. That usually only comes when you start to consume as many photos online as possible.
To go along with visiting new places – you can download the Stuck On Earth app for iPad and search around for posted photos in the area you're visiting. The photos you find here are hosted on Flickr and geotagged.
Another website that might be of interest to you is called: Fluidr.com.
It's also supported by Flickr. You can search for topics, locations, photos shot with a certain lens or focal length, camera, etc. I have spent some time looking around on this website and there is some pretty cool photos that come across.
Sometimes there are little things we can do ourselves to create an effect in our photos. Whether it's creating a shower of sparks in an engagement photo or a simple light modifier for your macro photography. You just never know where your creativity will take if you find the right project to do.
Depending on what you do – it might even transform that same scene you've photographed a million times.
Some of you might have even wrinkled your nose when you read this one. That is fine, however, some of us find our creative block in not having a theme or purpose to photograph. A contest will set the perameters of what you can photograph and even encourage you to step up your game because you know it will be judged against others.
There are a lot of local and online photography contests that you can search for and participate in. Also, there are county fair photo contests (if you are here in the USA) that you can enter into. You don't have to be professional for some of these contests as they will most likely have amateur, semi-pro, and pro categories.
If you are bored with the photos you take, maybe it is time to consider looking at other styles of photography to try out. You don't have to be amazing at them, you're just experimenting with the concept of them. If you do landscapes… take your family out for a mini shoot for some portrait photography. Maybe macro photography is something you've thought about but haven't done.
Whatever you decide, I would suggest that you go online and look for photos in that style to give yourself some ideas of what others are doing. At this point I would not worry about being creatively different from what you find online, but rather just work at recreating it and then add your own touch to it.
I see this every day with the students in my online flash photography class. They constantly email me and let me know how EXCITED they are about their photography after learning how to work with lighting.
Some of you have caught yourself saying that there is nothing to take a picture of where you are. That may very well be true, but have you thought of compositing photos together?
For this to be a success – I would start taking photos of just sunsets or sunrises. I would take photos of interesting flower beds, buildings, and so on. Once I have a decent library of different scenes, I would start to Photoshop them together to create one image. Others can argue that “that's not how it was,” but at this point you are creating digital art with what you have to work with. You're finding interest in the world around you – which is important.
A lot of new beginning photographers are afraid of the speedlight. Which is completely fine and to be expected – but if you are comfortable with your camera and have not bought a flash gear set, I would suggest that it is time. It's going to be the next major step in your photography and will most certainly be worthy of your attention.
Adding light into your photos can be one of the most exciting things you will ever start to play around with in your photos. Being in control of the highlights and shadows and how the light falls on your subject really starts to add to your creativity. Flash is not just limited to portraits. You can use flash with nearly every style of photography and you have complete control over it.
It's something I would suggest and you can check out our Flash Gear Page with the basic kit starting at $130.
No matter how obvious this suggestion might be, it's a big deal. Take time to be the best you can be at the style you love. To help with that, I want to challenge you to go back into your photo archives and find a photo you loved at one point and recreate it. Use every bit of new skill you have gained and recreate that photo using the same concept. Think back to what was going through your mind at the time you took that photo – can you do anything different to improve it? What else could you do? The answers you come up with help you perfect your favorite style of photography.
This will allow you to see how much you have improved over time and restore any lost confidence in your ability as a photographer.