Photography is a meeting of the technical and artistic. We are often focused more on the technical side of our craft, learning about our equipment, which settings to use, how to use editing software and so on, but often we don't set ourselves the same time for learning or nurturing our creativity. What a mistake!
So why aren't we taking the same to time to grow creatively as we are technically?
Maybe because most people feel that you are either born with a creative mind or not, rather than it being a tool that you can learn and practice, just like any other skill! Whilst learning the tools of your trade is undoubtedly valuable (we need to know HOW to create the vision in our head into a photograph, which takes technical skill) maybe spending a little bit of time nurturing our creativity wouldn't go a miss every once in a while :)
If you feel your creativity is a little lacking, either in general or you are feel you are stuck in a rut, there are a few things you can do to help!
1. Keep an Idea Journal
Getting into the habit of writing down your thoughts and ideas is a great way to kick off the creativity process. A good way to start is to get yourself a notebook that you are going to keep just for your ideas, and start by imagining your dream photograph. Don't worry too much about your technical skill for this (i.e whether you can actually pull it off!) just concentrate on what it looks like. Where is it set? What's the light like? What colors are in the image? Letting our mind wander and dream is a great way to get those creative juices flowing!
You cans also download our FREE Creative photography exercises and projects guide where you’ll find exercises and ideas for photos that will help you kickstart your creativity, and help you improve your photography skills. You can grab it here)
2. Limit yourself to your iPhone
Yes, I am suggesting that you put down that incredibly expensive camera that you spent months learning how to work and shoot with just your phone. Without a doubt it is more limiting than using your DSLR, but that just forces you to be more creative with angles, composition and light - all things that are of benefit to you with your big girl camera too.
3. Create a Secret Pinterest Board
I've written before about how to use Pinterest for Photography Inspiration, because it's such a great way to spark ideas for your own sessions or lifestyle images. Don't look at these and try to copy them, rather try to pick apart images you see and what speaks to you about them, and then use that to kick off an idea of your own.
4. Take a Photo Challenge / Start A Project
Sometimes we just don't know what to shoot, or we feel we have covered everything the same way, 50 times over. That's when starting a personal photography project is a good idea - it can help kick start your creativity by getting you to try something new, or just photograph something in a different way. You can find 15 Photography Project Ideas here, but if you want an easy one to get you started, why not try this classic creativity exercise?
(Psst - don’t forget you can download our Creative Photography Projects and Exercises Guide here too!
5. Get Creative with Lenses
Playing with different lenses is a great way to unleash your creative side! I know many people swear by their Lensbaby for helping them feel creative, but there are lower cost options out there that don't cost the earth, or in fact don't cost anything! You can check out this post with 5 creative lenses, but if you want something free, why not try freelensing, or if you have vintage cameras, shoot through the viewfinder - anything that will get you out of taking images with a conventional lens and with something a little more creative.
6. Have some Photoshop Fun!
You don't need to be shooting to be creative. A great way to be a armchair creative is to do it on your editing software instead! Why not take an old image and see how many different ways you can process it? Try converting to black and white, running actions, dramatically reduce the exposure, change the overall colors, change the crop, flip it - you'll not only find yourself feeling more creative, but you'll improve your editing skills at the same time!
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