Finding Inspiration for Your Photography
5 Ideas to Spark Your Creativity
by Michelle Arnold 10.11.2016
An old ladle with great patina and a new
friend with a great mind helped me create
this fun image. Thank you Robert Bauer.
~ Lean on a friend
Your bestie will get you out of your funk like nobody else can. Your friend doesn’t have to know anything about photography. In fact, it may be better if they don’t. They will help you think of ideas that are outside of the box and probably make suggestions like placing your subject in a box. Brainstorm with them. Enjoy the time together, don’t judge, but do laugh. Pick one idea the two of you came up with together and take action. Your friend may even want to help. They can carry your equipment, hold a reflector, or in the case of the image above, keep the worms corralled. Let them do whatever they’re willing to do so you can focus on creating images that inspire you to continue creating more images.
~ Go Big…
…by going small. I love my macro lens for many reasons, and one of them is that it’s a great tool for reigniting inspiration in my photography. There’s a secret world of intricate details in everyday objects that we look at but don’t see; such as the florets in the center of a flower or the minuscule gears of a watch. Don’t have a macro lens for your camera? No problem, download a camera app for your smart phone and start that way. Some apps are cheap and some are free, but be careful, the only inspiration you may get is to be inspired to purchase a macro lens for your camera. I like to use Camera Plus on my iPhone. I get sharp images and it has features like a stabilizer that really works
~ Think Red
You don’t have to know me very well to know that black is my go to color: clothes, car, accessories. Black is slimming, classic, and goes with everything. Those closer to me know that I have a great respect for a dash of red ~ nail polish for the ensemble, debit card for the wallet, and stand mixer for the kitchen. You get my point. Red is commanding and draws the eye in and that is no different when it comes to photographs. The right amount of red strategically placed in a photograph will get everybody complimenting your work even if they can’t exactly pinpoint why. Play with this idea, or one similar to it, and let everything else go for a bit.
~ Get Down
No, I’m not suggesting you start dancing, but by all means do so if it will boost your photography creativity! Shooting from a lower angle could do the trick too. Grab your camera and shoot everything you can from the lowest vantage point. Think about what your place of residence would look like from a pet’s perspective. If that doesn’t sound inspiring, take it outside. A backyard can have lots to offer, so can a city park, a carnival, a forest, a boat landing, a farm, or a nearby city/town. Lay on the ground if you can. If all else fails, play some K.C. & the Sunshine Band and “Get Down Tonight”.
There’s no shortage of images to absorb for ideas. Evaluating the work of others is a popular source for inspiration. If skimming through magazines or a myriad of images on social media sites is not sparking your creativity than a more methodical approach may be exactly what you need. Choose a photographer that creates images that you greatly admire and study a few of their best works. Write down what you like about them, what you don’t like, and what is the same or different about your styles. At a minimum this exercise should help you define your style which will in turn give you a focus when looking for inspiration. Corinna Gissemann Photography is a great source of inspiration for me. Our styles are similar in the sense that our images are dark and moody. I love Corinna’s control of light and admire that she uses natural light often. She has a knack for placing flatware and serving pieces in ways that add a fresh perspective to her photos.
~ Back to the Basics
From the way we capture and store our images to the way we process and share them has changed dramatically over the years and most of that happened in the last two decades. Depending where you are at in your photography journey it can be difficult to keep up, or catch up. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with how much you have to learn and it’s zapping your inspiration refocus your energy to a simpler time. Take the clutter out of your images, decrease the complexity of your setups, reduce your editing, and quit putting extreme demands on yourself. Try a no-planned, no-pressure, no-expectations photo shoot. Enjoy the freedom, the feel of the camera, and go at it like you expect every image to be a bust. Your goal should be to find inspiration.
Please share what inspires you when photographing.
I’d also like to hear what prevents you from taking more photographs.