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15 Ways to Find Photography Inspiration in 2021

ways to find photography inspiration

Photography inspiration is easy to lose.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to ignite your creativity and get you excited about shooting again!

In this article, you’ll discover 15 ways to feed your photographic inspiration.

Let’s dive right in.

1. Make a list

Photography inspiration can manifest in mysterious ways. And while it may seem removed from the photographic process, list-making can actually help inspire new creative photography ideas.

Try compiling a list of photography goals to work through, or make a list of subjects to photograph. These lists can be as detailed as needed, so grab a pen and paper and brainstorm your next move.

flower abstract
Canon 5D Mark II | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II with extension tubes | 1/6400s | f/1.8 | ISO 100

2. Get some exercise

Researchers have found that mood and creativity can be improved by physical exercise.

So if you’re in the midst of a creative lull, lace up your shoes and head out the door for a quick walk around the block – you could even bring your camera!

3. Try a new medium

photography inspiration pastels
Canon 5D Mark II | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II with extension tubes | 1/80s | f/4.0 | ISO 100

Trying a new artistic medium can often provide surprising artistic perspectives that feed into photographic inspiration.

Activities like drawing or painting can open you up to fresh compositional insights that inspire intriguing creative possibilities.

4. Keep a journal

Maintaining a written journal is a great way to get down your important photographic processes on paper.

Journaling encourages introspection, which will help you nail down the effective aspects of your photography (and which you can reflect on later).

Ultimately, keeping a journal can give you a clear sense of creative direction, inspiring new photography ideas and approaches.

5. Make time for photography

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day. But actively setting aside dedicated photography time feeds photographic inspiration and facilitates creative growth.

Regularly making time for photography will help exercise your creative muscles – even if it’s only an hour a week.

6. Try new equipment

photography inspiration extension tubes flowers
Canon 5D Mark II | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II with extension tubes | 1/250s | f/2.8 | ISO 100

Trying new equipment can broaden photographic possibilities considerably.

Simple and cost-effective accessories like extension tubes, prisms, and filters are economical ways to inspire new methods of photography.

7. Make a mood board or a visual diary

Mood boards and visual diaries are used by artists to keep creative information in one place. By creating an accessible source of inspiration, artists can more easily expand on their own processes and ideas.

Traditionally, visual diaries were kept on paper. Today, websites like Pinterest and Tumblr allow you to maintain a visual diary or mood board online.

No matter which method you use, mood boards and visual diaries are a tried-and-true source of valuable photographic inspiration.

8. Catch up on art history

Art has a rich and varied history dating back millennia. Familiarizing yourself with art history contextualizes, informs, and expands creative output.

In fact, a good knowledge of art history can help you identify the subjects and approaches that have inspired creatives over the centuries, which you can then use in your own photography!

9. Revisit old photographs

black and white deer
Canon 5D Mark II | Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM | 1/160s | f/5.0 | ISO 100

The depths of a photographic library can be a great source of inspiration. When sifting through old photographs, opportunities to revisit past subjects and locations may reveal themselves, inspiring new photography ideas.

Looking through old photographs can also reveal consistent errors to fix in future photoshoots. And it can draw attention to how far you’ve developed over a period of time, encouraging a positive sense of creative growth.

10. Check out art establishments

Art establishments, such as galleries, are full of inspirational material.

And since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, plenty of galleries have added online tours and online events that allow you to experience art from the comfort of your own home.

11. Read photography books and magazines

photographer index
Canon 5D Mark II | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II with extension tubes | 1/1000s | f/2.5 | ISO 100

These days, most visual art material comes from a digital screen. But reading photography books and magazines can inspire a greater appreciation for printed photography, which can feed new creative possibilities.

12. Find photography inspiration by learning from past mistakes

From forgetting gear to technical or practical mishaps, photography, like any art form, is full of easy mistakes.

But when mistakes happen, don’t get discouraged. Instead, make a note of what went wrong – and be inspired to do better next time.

13. Reach out to fellow photographers

Photography often seems like a single-person endeavor, but reaching out to other creatives is an important way to generate and share inspiration.

From Instagram to in-person photography meetups, there are plenty of ways to connect with fellow creatives; ultimately, you can encourage growth and creativity in yourself and other photographers.

14. Photograph a favorite subject

aircraft photography
Canon 5D Mark II | Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM | 1/400s | f/16 | ISO 100

Photographing a favorite subject can help you remember the reason you took up photography in the first place.

While it isn’t always easy, prioritizing a session of photography simply for the sake of reconnecting with a favorite subject is an effective way to boost photography inspiration.

15. Challenge yourself

Photographing challenging subjects supports creative growth. Sure, photographing tricky subject matter can be intimidating. But getting outside your comfort zone is a surefire way to generate photography inspiration.

If you like landscape photography, give portraiture a try. Or if you’re into abstract photography, why not focus on wildlife for a change?

In short, take the opportunity to branch out. This will broaden your photographic experience and help you develop a more versatile approach to capturing images.

Ways to find photography inspiration: Conclusion

From photographing a favorite subject to maintaining a journal, there are many simple ways to get out of a creative rut.

And while it’s true that photography inspiration can be elusive, making these changes to your creative habits is a great way to build your skills and develop new approaches!

Do you have any additional tips for finding photographic inspiration? Share them in the comments below!

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Megan Kennedy
Megan Kennedy

is a photographer and writer based in Canberra, Australia. Both her writing and photography has been featured in numerous publications. More of Megan’s work can be viewed at her website or on Instagram at MK_photodiary.