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Let’s face it, we all get a little stale in our photography from time to time. Sometimes it is because we are doing the same thing over and over again. And other times it is due to the fact that we simply do what everyone around us is doing. But art, just like life, is not meant to be boring or mundane. Otherwise, it will lose its charm and creativity. Lucky for us photographers, a few simple tips and tricks can help change the mundane and ordinary into different and unique.
Doing something every day is one of the easiest ways to get good at it. Shooting every day is something every photographer can do to get better and better at their craft. This does not have to be stressful or take a laborious effort. You don’t have to worry about models and outfits. Instead, focus on the techniques – shoot at different times of the day, shoot in different lighting conditions, use still objects or moving subjects likes kids and/or pets, practice motion blur – the possibilities are endless.
Think outside the box and do something different every day. Maybe even start an exercise like a 365 project (one photograph every day for a year). Soon enough you will find that you are not only better at the technical parts of photography but the creative aspects as well.
This goes along with #1 to some extent. If you always photograph in a certain location, then try and do the exact opposite of that and switch up your scenery and background.
I am an on-location, natural light photographer. But every once in a while, I like to photograph indoors or use a backdrop and studio lights. Even if this is not quite my style, I find that I learn a lot about flattering light, the play of highlights and shadows, and shooting in tight spaces – all skills that are transferable when I photograph outdoors using natural light.
Sometimes we just feel stuck. There is no reason for it. We just naturally become tired of doing the same thing day in and day out. Accept this and you will find yourself in a much happier place. Allow your creative self to rejuvenate by trying something different.
Photography is not the only art form out there. Try cooking a different cuisine, or take a painting class. Clear your mind of everything related to photography and let creativity find another outlet. You will find yourself coming back to your art with a renewed sense of purpose.
Changing the method you take with your photography can be done in many different ways. Some are subtle yet others are more dramatic and potentially expensive.
I am a very much a portrait shooter in the sense that I take a lot of vertical frames. My hands naturally move the camera to that orientation. So when I am stuck or feel like I am losing my creative mojo, I force myself to shoot more horizontal frames. I get creative with negative space and the rule of thirds as well.
Another thing I do is change my gear. I am a digital photographer but I love experimenting with film. I find that when I use film, I become more intentional and aware of my photography. Each frame costs so much more than digital when you consider the cost of the film plus developing it. So I really slow down, compose with a lot of thought and then click the shutter. I find that when I go back to digital after shooting film, my digital work is just as thoughtful and deliberate. I don’t shoot as many frames and have a lot more keeper shots.
Another thing to try out when you want to change your method is to shoot with a different lens than normal. I love tight/close shots as well as mid-range shots. I don’t photograph many wide angle shots for my portrait clients. Yet when I am stuck and want to do something different, I change to my wide-angle lens and get more of the environment in the frame which helps to solidify the story in a different way.
I truly believe that in order to be successful as a creative artist, you must be willing to take risks. That can mean many different things including; taking risks in what you photograph and how you do it, trying new marketing ideas, or creating things that others shy away from.
The craziest and one of the most creatively satisfying things I have done was to connect with another photographer in another city, flew out and stayed with her to collaborate on a series of photoshoots. Of course, we were both safe and smart about the whole process because we did our research on the other person and also skyped before hand to make sure we are a good fit in terms of styles and personalities. But the two days I spent with her were incredible. We shared best business practices, talked about what our hopes and dreams for the future and found ways to help each other out. We also shot some incredibly different and unique editorials purely for the sake of creating and expanding our photography expertise.
I hope these tips help and motivate you to experiment with your photography and boost your creativity. If you have other ideas that work for you when you are in a creative rut, do share in the comments below and let’s help each other.
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