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How To Tap Into Your Creative Mojo

Whether you’re a newbie or you’ve been a pro for years, there may be a point when you need a little help tapping into your creative mojo! Hey, even us right-brainers need to refresh our creativity from time to time!

Here are a few ideas to help boost your creativity:

Your camera is your friend

So take him (or her) everywhere with you!I know you’ve heard this before, but here’s the thing:it is easy to remember to bring your camera to scenic places or special events.Try taking it to places that aren’t obviously photogenic.This will train your eye to look out for beautiful things – light, patterns, mood, expressions, compositions – no matter where you are. Finding the best way to photograph different kinds of scenes, light and people is a great experience.

A 365 Project (one photo a day) or weekly photo project may be a great way to do this. Here are some tips, if you want to get started. There are also many dedicated websites, such ashttp://365project.org, where you can share your photos, find inspiration and get encouragement from others.

Blog stalk

It’s an awful term, but it gets the point across! Research photographers from around the World and check out their recent work on their blogs. Photographers seldomly update their websites, but most update their blogs regularly. Bookmark the blogs you like or sign up for the RSS feed, so you can go back to them from time-to-time.

Don’t blog stalk to copy someone else’s creative eye; blog stalk to gain inspiration and develop your own creative vision.

And remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to photography blogs.You can look at design blogs, food blogs or just about any site that has photos.

Photo Walk

A Photo Walk is just as it sounds:you walk around and shoot whatever you see.You can either join a Photo Walk group, start a group, or just do this with a friend.Challenge yourself by going to different types of locations and going at different times of the day to get different types light.I prefer locations that make me have to search for art, like an abandoned construction site or a subway.

When you’re on a Photo Walk, you can see how someone else shoots – such as, what catches their eye, what angles are they shooting from, how are they composing the shot, what settings do they use, and what are they shooting?

After the Photo Walk, share your best shots with each other to see how you interpreted the same location or subjects.

I like doing photo walks with friends, but there are organized photo walks just about anywhere.You can start withhttp://worldwidephotowalk.com/ or do an online search for one close to you.

Photography Clubs

Mingling with fellow photographers and “talking shop” helps you learn.Don’t think of them as competition.We all share the same interest, the same passion.

Some clubs offer discounted courses, monthly meetings, guest speakers, or publications.They are definitely worth the small membership fee!

If you’re anything like me – where your love of photography runs through your veins – you will enjoy these activities and learn a-plenty!So bring on the creative mojo, baby!

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Annie Tao is a Professional Lifestyle Photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area who is best known for capturing genuine smiles, emotions and stories of her subjects. You can visit Annie Tao Photography for more tips or inspiration. Stay connected with her on her Facebook page

  • Andreas – 16th Ave

    Awesome post! I just bought my first DSLR camera about a month ago, and I absolutely love shooting and I want as much inspiration as I can possibly get so everything that has the word ‘creativity’ in it is just what I need! So thanks a lot! :)

  • ScottC

    The article mentions photowalks, and seeing how someone else shoots, what catches their eye. Though not on a photowalk, I was in Prague and saw another photographer taking a shot from this same angle and decided to do the same. Great advice, often others see what we pass by.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/5407590505/

  • http://www.kerstenbeck.com Erik Kerstenbeck

    Hi

    This a great article on inspiration and I love the shots. I would like to add, try to look at things a bit differently. Get Low and Get Close. You’d be surprised by the cool things you’ll discover through your lens!

    Example a low and close look at a hubcap “Should Have Had a V8″ http://t.co/lboJ4RI

    The normal view of this statue is ho hum, but close and low Gaurdian: http://t.co/fi3kgch

    Regards, Erik
    Kerstenbeck Photographic Art

  • http://www.photographycasa.com John Fischer

    Am I the only one who does not agree that you should take your camera everywhere you go? Sometimes being away from my camera makes me more creative…plus when I do bring my camera somewhere, I get excited to take photos. I think “I’m going to take photos now” and I focus on it.

    Who’s with me?

  • Michelle

    Wow, how incredibly boring, anything even remotely novel to offer

  • http://www.uprinting.com/poster-printing.html erica | poster printing

    This is where you remind yourself of the basic things you should never forget to keep growing. I would love to do a photowalk one of this day! Thanks for sharing this post!

  • http://www.fireeyesphotography.com Trishann Couvillion

    Truly the b&w image with the dad on the left in front of the mirrow holding the pet shark was one of the most clever family photos I’ve seen! Great job! Yes, adding a creative element to your work is important, yet I truly stand by my approach of capturing moments as they really happen. As a photographer, being willing to move and position yourself where your ‘frame’ is interesting and being patient for the right moment to move into your frame is what makes for beautiful, true photographs!

  • http://jasoncollinphotography.com Jason St. Petersburg Photographer

    If anyone wants to see what a west coast of Florida based full-time pro photographer gets up to, I add several blog posts each week:

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog

    The posts are a mix of photo stories, photo tips, and reviews of lessons I taught, portrait sessions, and occasionally the philosophy of photography/the world.

  • http://kirantarun.com/lens Kiran

    Great tips, especially about photo walk! I will have to plan one soon in Orlando :)

  • http://mayank-p.blogspot.com Mayank

    Excellent set of tips. I have a bit of caveat on photowalks. Usually a group larger than 3-4 are disastrous, with almost everyone jumping to frame one guy / gal sees. One tip i use is go for photowalks but find you own breakout zones and areas. It then helps to not only learn by sharing but also help give some space to each other.

  • Andreas – 16th Ave

    @ John Fischer,

    I actually agree with you .. it completely makes sense, but knowing that you have your camera right there with you always gives you a chance to get shots that you wouldn’t have been able to get without your camera – not “everyday things” but more like things coming up out of nowhere – the unexpected! :)

  • http://dslrlensesonline.com DSLR Lenses Online

    Nice post, I find looking at the work of other top photographers my best source of inspiration and creativity.

    It naturally gets you in the mood of wanting to take good photographers and your enthusiasm ends up showing through in your own photos.

  • http://www.metarazzi.com Jeff

    Annie… thanks for putting into words all the questions and ideas that constantly swirl around in my mind. Every point has come to mind several times, but I’ve never really thought out the details like you’ve laid out in your article. Thanks!

    @JasonCollin… I enjoy your work and your site! :-)

    @JohnFischer… while I don’t necessarily agree about *not* taking your camera everywhere, I do agree that when I don’t and am forced to take a break, my creativity becomes inspired by what I wish I could be shooting at the spur of the moment. Same is true for when I actually don’t have time to stop and snap a shot. Sadly, I tend to forget my camera most of the time anyway. I need to embed into my mind the mantra Annie mentioned: my camera is my friend. Or perhaps: my camera is my oxygen; I need it everywhere I go! ;-)

  • http://custompinoyrides.com THE aSTIG @ CustomPinoyRides.com

    Annie! You are absolutely correct! That’s why I setup the Car Photography Club, which, as far as we know, is the first and only in the world:

    http://CarPhotography.CustomPinoyRides.com

    And yes I do also follow other photographers’ blogs so I can get inspiration and ideas on how to shoot my next projects, which I feature on my very own blog. :)

  • http://existing-light.blogspot.com Mario

    I highly recommend you check out http://www.meetup.com and do a search for photography meetups in your area. The one in my area has 400 members and regularly schedules photo shoots all over the city and state. Informal, free and relaxed. Even if you don’t join the group you can get valuable suggestions for places to take photos.

  • http://www.tambopatatravel.com Mike Langford

    Excellent post, love the photography walk idea, just rather tricky while pushing a pram!

  • http://www.kerstenbeck.com Erik Kerstenbeck

    Hi

    Another very simple composition using sharp focus, rule of thirds and depth of field control. An ordinary traffic signal turn dynamic!

    Stop and Go, Rome: http://t.co/mGAPeYQ

    Cheers, Erik

  • http://www.walterparada.com/ Walter Parada

    Goodness knows I NEED to tap into my creative mojo again! I’ve been reluctant to sell ALL my photo gear on eBay because something about my camera is so unique that I don’t want to. I was NEVER into the practice of being a “photo walker,” carrying my camera around while snapping away at varying things around me. If there was no assignment, what was the use of having the camera. But as I started to get tired of dealing with models, clients, and other individuals to collaborate with, I started looking elsewhere, and to do so, I had to carry my camera with me to garner some more inspiration. I would still LOVE to collaborate with more designers, wardrobe stylists, and the like to achieve some amazing imagery, but right now, I need to lift myself from this deep, DEEP lack-of-photographic funk I have found myself mired in. It’s a matter of keeping my fingers crossed ….

  • http://www.aniaphoto.com Stefanie

    Agreed, inspiration is everywhere.

  • Kathleen Mekailek

    I’m a newbie, have joined a club, go to meetings, have started a 365 project (today is day 30), take my camera everywhere I go, now I just need to start looking at blogs!

  • chrysmarty

    Needed this. Been battling some kind of block this last week. Glad to know it’s not just me. Like the Photo walk.

  • Kathleen Mekailek

    I now see opportunities wherever I am- caught my husband holding our granddaughter so she could see out the window. I have never used natural light and am pleased with how it turned out. Yesterday it was practicing panning and the day before reflections. I will think of a theme for tomorrow plus I am still doing my 365 project. I did have to take off almost a week though because my arm was in a cast from shoulder to knuckles and had to be elevated. once I was allowed to lower it, I figured out how to shoot one handed! Now I’m in a short cast and the great doctor made it where it fits perfectly around my lens so I can focus manually!

  • Kathleen Mekailek

    Here’s another photo I took at the door- I think this is my favorite.

Some older comments

  • Stefanie

    February 28, 2011 04:11 pm

    Agreed, inspiration is everywhere.

  • Walter Parada

    February 11, 2011 12:26 pm

    Goodness knows I NEED to tap into my creative mojo again! I've been reluctant to sell ALL my photo gear on eBay because something about my camera is so unique that I don't want to. I was NEVER into the practice of being a "photo walker," carrying my camera around while snapping away at varying things around me. If there was no assignment, what was the use of having the camera. But as I started to get tired of dealing with models, clients, and other individuals to collaborate with, I started looking elsewhere, and to do so, I had to carry my camera with me to garner some more inspiration. I would still LOVE to collaborate with more designers, wardrobe stylists, and the like to achieve some amazing imagery, but right now, I need to lift myself from this deep, DEEP lack-of-photographic funk I have found myself mired in. It's a matter of keeping my fingers crossed ....

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    February 7, 2011 03:36 am

    Hi

    Another very simple composition using sharp focus, rule of thirds and depth of field control. An ordinary traffic signal turn dynamic!

    Stop and Go, Rome: http://t.co/mGAPeYQ

    Cheers, Erik

  • Mike Langford

    February 6, 2011 03:40 am

    Excellent post, love the photography walk idea, just rather tricky while pushing a pram!

  • Mario

    February 5, 2011 07:23 am

    I highly recommend you check out www.meetup.com and do a search for photography meetups in your area. The one in my area has 400 members and regularly schedules photo shoots all over the city and state. Informal, free and relaxed. Even if you don't join the group you can get valuable suggestions for places to take photos.

  • THE aSTIG @ CustomPinoyRides.com

    February 5, 2011 04:14 am

    Annie! You are absolutely correct! That's why I setup the Car Photography Club, which, as far as we know, is the first and only in the world:

    http://CarPhotography.CustomPinoyRides.com

    And yes I do also follow other photographers' blogs so I can get inspiration and ideas on how to shoot my next projects, which I feature on my very own blog. :)

  • Jeff

    February 5, 2011 02:28 am

    Annie... thanks for putting into words all the questions and ideas that constantly swirl around in my mind. Every point has come to mind several times, but I've never really thought out the details like you've laid out in your article. Thanks!

    @JasonCollin... I enjoy your work and your site! :-)

    @JohnFischer... while I don't necessarily agree about *not* taking your camera everywhere, I do agree that when I don't and am forced to take a break, my creativity becomes inspired by what I wish I could be shooting at the spur of the moment. Same is true for when I actually don't have time to stop and snap a shot. Sadly, I tend to forget my camera most of the time anyway. I need to embed into my mind the mantra Annie mentioned: my camera is my friend. Or perhaps: my camera is my oxygen; I need it everywhere I go! ;-)

  • DSLR Lenses Online

    February 4, 2011 11:18 pm

    Nice post, I find looking at the work of other top photographers my best source of inspiration and creativity.

    It naturally gets you in the mood of wanting to take good photographers and your enthusiasm ends up showing through in your own photos.

  • Andreas - 16th Ave

    February 4, 2011 08:07 pm

    @ John Fischer,

    I actually agree with you .. it completely makes sense, but knowing that you have your camera right there with you always gives you a chance to get shots that you wouldn't have been able to get without your camera - not "everyday things" but more like things coming up out of nowhere - the unexpected! :)

  • Mayank

    February 4, 2011 05:34 pm

    Excellent set of tips. I have a bit of caveat on photowalks. Usually a group larger than 3-4 are disastrous, with almost everyone jumping to frame one guy / gal sees. One tip i use is go for photowalks but find you own breakout zones and areas. It then helps to not only learn by sharing but also help give some space to each other.

  • Kiran

    February 4, 2011 04:21 pm

    Great tips, especially about photo walk! I will have to plan one soon in Orlando :)

  • Jason St. Petersburg Photographer

    February 4, 2011 04:07 pm

    If anyone wants to see what a west coast of Florida based full-time pro photographer gets up to, I add several blog posts each week:

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog

    The posts are a mix of photo stories, photo tips, and reviews of lessons I taught, portrait sessions, and occasionally the philosophy of photography/the world.

  • Trishann Couvillion

    February 4, 2011 03:17 pm

    Truly the b&w image with the dad on the left in front of the mirrow holding the pet shark was one of the most clever family photos I've seen! Great job! Yes, adding a creative element to your work is important, yet I truly stand by my approach of capturing moments as they really happen. As a photographer, being willing to move and position yourself where your 'frame' is interesting and being patient for the right moment to move into your frame is what makes for beautiful, true photographs!

  • erica | poster printing

    February 4, 2011 12:32 pm

    This is where you remind yourself of the basic things you should never forget to keep growing. I would love to do a photowalk one of this day! Thanks for sharing this post!

  • Michelle

    February 4, 2011 11:45 am

    Wow, how incredibly boring, anything even remotely novel to offer

  • John Fischer

    February 4, 2011 11:40 am

    Am I the only one who does not agree that you should take your camera everywhere you go? Sometimes being away from my camera makes me more creative...plus when I do bring my camera somewhere, I get excited to take photos. I think "I'm going to take photos now" and I focus on it.

    Who's with me?

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    February 4, 2011 06:55 am

    Hi

    This a great article on inspiration and I love the shots. I would like to add, try to look at things a bit differently. Get Low and Get Close. You'd be surprised by the cool things you'll discover through your lens!

    Example a low and close look at a hubcap "Should Have Had a V8" http://t.co/lboJ4RI

    The normal view of this statue is ho hum, but close and low Gaurdian: http://t.co/fi3kgch

    Regards, Erik
    Kerstenbeck Photographic Art

  • ScottC

    February 4, 2011 06:46 am

    The article mentions photowalks, and seeing how someone else shoots, what catches their eye. Though not on a photowalk, I was in Prague and saw another photographer taking a shot from this same angle and decided to do the same. Great advice, often others see what we pass by.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/5407590505/

  • Andreas - 16th Ave

    February 4, 2011 06:01 am

    Awesome post! I just bought my first DSLR camera about a month ago, and I absolutely love shooting and I want as much inspiration as I can possibly get so everything that has the word 'creativity' in it is just what I need! So thanks a lot! :)

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