A Classic Creativity Exercise

I've been feeling a little blocked creatively of late - it's something that always happens when I am feeling particularly busy or overwhelmed, and picking up my camera can feel more like a chore.  At times like these, or just when you feel you need a little push to try something new,  a creativity exercise is a fantastic photography project to undertake to lift you up out of a rut. 

The following is a classic artists exercise, and it's helpful regardless of what stage of your photography journey you are on - if you are a beginner, it's a great way to begin to see light and shadows and so on, and if you are more advanced, it can be challenging to come up with different compositions or use of light.  Either way, it's very simple -  here's what you do: 


First of all, find a simple subject to photograph.  The classic artist's choice of an egg is actually a brilliant option as you can do so much with it, but you can use any object such as a lemon, a bottle, a fork and so on.  Just make sure it's a simple, everyday object. 


The challenge is then to take at least 5 completely different photographs of your subject.  Think about using light, compositional techniques, adding depth, or using color and texture to add interest to your subject. This post on 10 compositional tools to add impact to your photos should give you some ideas if you are stuck. 

3) PLAY! 

Feel free to play around with your subject -  for example with a lemon, slice it and photograph the inside, or for eggs, crack the shells and photograph the contents or the shells themselves.   You could also add other elements into the scene,  or change out the background, or move the item to a different location. Remember, there are no rules as such with this exercise - if you want to make it harder, impose some - for example, keeping to the same location. 

As an example, this is the resulting photographs from my little exercise - all photographs where taken in exactly the same location, at the same time,  but just changing the images by playing with backgrounds and breaking the eggs. 

If you try this exercise, I hope you enjoy it! (and if you want some more ideas to get your creative juices flowing, check out some of the ideas on the 15 Photography Project Ideas