So often photographers can fall into a creative rut. It’s easy enough to do. You develop techniques and styles that work. The results are good and your clients are happy. But the best part of being a photographer is the chance to be creative. So how you stimulate that creativity is a challenge.
One popular method is the 365 Project. This is a great idea. The concept is simple, take a photo every single day for a year. Make each photo different. To me the key is to never miss a day no matter how busy, and never photograph the same thing. By the middle of the year, many people start to find it harder to photograph a new subject. That is what gets your creative mind going, coming up with new ideas.
I’ve seen some people modify this idea by using themes for each month or the entire year. Themes my be as simple as plants, the gnome statue on tour or even people you don’t know. It doesn’t really matter, you just need to take the photos.
Another technique I like is the photographer’s challenge box. In the box are slips of paper with abstract ideas that must be show in a photograph. I usually will shoot an idea for a week to see how far I can take it. You can download my list of ideas here. The list is in pdf format, just cut it up and you’re ready to start.
One challenge on my list is hot. So the goal is to create photographs that when viewed by people will list hot as the theme of the photos as a group. Sure at first most will photograph a flame or maybe a burner on a stove. Then we start to think and sweat dripping down someone’s forehead, then peppers, steam, heat vapors, the sun, a sexy person, hotrods, stolen items…
As you can see a seemingly simple concept can be interpreted in so many ways. With the challenge box you think about it for several days, and as you do more and more ideas come to the surface. When you think you’ve run out of ideas is when you really need to get creative to keep going.
The last technique doesn’t work for everyone. In fact there may be some of you who don’t believe the theory, but it’s worth a try. The theory is the right side of the brain is where creativity resides. The right side of the brain also controls the left side of the body. The thought is that if you are right handed and use your left hand instead, you can stimulate the creative side of your brain. Sorry lefties, you already have the advantage!
So when ever possible, try to use your left hand to do things. Especially prior to trying to come up with creative ideas. Pick up your drink with your left hand, use your mouse, open doors etc. Now I don’t know if it will work, but some scientists believe it does. So I figure what can it hurt, as long as it’s not hot coffee you try to drink with your left hand.
So find a way to get your creativity going and your photography will move on to the next level. I would love to hear from others on their ideas on how to get creative.