If you're like me you enjoy picking up your camera and capturing all parts of life. You bring it along to family functions, when you go out exploring and when you get that shiny new lens.
You tend to frequent the same locations and have mastered them.
You go to the same gardens and take multiple photos of the same flowers, the same hills, the same group of trees and slowly you start asking yourself is there more out there?
You have some free time one day and you're tired of all your favorite spots, even your models aren't super interesting anymore. You haven't gotten a new lens in a while and know you can't afford one until Christmas.
You don't have any sessions booked for another month, but you know you want to take a photo.
You want something new, but are all out of ideas. And you know that if you take an un-inspired photo it will just come out blah.
How do you get that energy and passion back?
For some it is trying new things or giving yourself projects to do.
Here are ten things you can do.
1) Pick one prime lens you own, or you widest lens and only take photos with that lens for a week.
At first you'll wish you had a zoom, or that you're too far away from your subject, but with practice you'll find new images you would have never taken if you had other options.
2) Set your camera to black and white only and spend a week taking photos that way.
It will be tough at first because most of the beauty you see out there is from colors and shapes and tones. But, this will show you how to better use negative space, high contrast settings and how shapes can make or break an image. Personally I love black and white photos, sometimes they are just so expressive.
3) Spend a few days with a macro lens or just taking close-ups of things.
Some people really enjoy macros while others like it but don't often take those kinds of images. Really explore the close-up world. You will learn more about manual focusing, narrow depth of field and possibly how to more effectively fill the frame. These skills will translate.
4) Rent a lens that you would probably never buy. Ever tried a fisheye lens or a tilt-shift lens?
You already know what its like to get a new lens. Now you can do it all over again. Fisheye lenses and tilt-shift lenses have their own unique style. Learning how to use them effectively or dramatically can really expand your vision.
5) Do a color a day project.
Head out and explore the world. Pick one color for the day and photograph things with only that color. So if your color is yellow, maybe take a photo of a school bus, or a school bus sign, some bananas at the market, yellow crayons, a yellow building etc.
This project will help you focus and find unique things in every day life. By your third color you'll be noticing everything around you. You may not even have to leave your own home, but who wants to stay indoors?
6) Take photos from a high place.
Most portraits are taken from eye level or a couple feet from there.
What if you some high places to take photos from. Challenge yourself to take photos from a high altitude looking down onto city streets, hill sides etc. See how many places you can find that allow you to photograph from above. Who knows maybe you find your next favorite location for photo sessions.
7) Cover the screen on the back of your camera for a week.
If you shoot in manual or semi-automatic mode this could be really fun. Challenge yourself and take photos for a week without being able to see the photo afterward. See if you can properly expose the photo and take photos in different lighting. This will be challenging and many of your photos might not come out, but you'll learn a lot about how you photograph.
8) Borrow your friend's camera.
If you photograph with a Nikon camera borrow your friend's Canon camera and vice versa. The buttons will be in different places, the screens are different and even the lenses have different feels to them. This will be tricky at first as everything will be in different places, but knowing how to use more than one platform could prove super useful in the future.
9) Take photos of water in all its forms for a week.
There is water all around us, but we often time forget about that. Find dew in the morning, rain, puddles, bodies of water, cups of water, ice cubes, waterfalls. This is a great theme that will have you looking all over. Carry a mist bottle with you for fun effects.
10) Review all of your images and print out a handful of your favorites.
Over time we start to forget our earliest images. It is great to review some of your earlier photos, to more recent to see your evolution. Did you style change? Did your subjects change? Did your new lenses really improve your work? Pick 5 of your all time favorite photos you've taken from past and present and print them. This is a good project to do yearly.
I really hope these tips helped. It is easy to get stuck in a rut unless you wake up and go to sleep inspired. We are often in a place where we wish we had more clients, but feel like we don't have enough time to photograph what we want to photograph. So don't pressure yourself and try something new. Explore and see what you discover. Photography is a forever-learning experience.
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