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10 Ways to Be More Creative as a Photographer

One of the first things that I figured out when I entered an MFA program is that, yes, creativity is something that some people are born with a very high amount of, but it can also be a learned trait. Sure, some people come into this world with a natural ability to express unbelievable creativity, while others may feel as though they do not have a creative bone in their body. The day that I realized that creativity is something that can be taught and practiced was a game-changer for me as an artist!

If you feel like you are not naturally creative, you’re mistaken. As humans, we are all creative, to varying degrees, and in all sorts of different ways. Here are a few tips to help you become more creative. And, if you are already one of those massively-creative individuals, these tips will help you stay on top of your game.

  1. Travel – You don’t have to take a fancy vacation to Italy to travel (although if you can, go for it!) Even venturing 100 miles from home can be exciting. Expose yourself to as many new places and environments as you can.
  2. Take Walks – Not only is exercise good for you, but taking a short, 20 minute walk can put you in the creative zone. Make sure to take a walk alone, though, as experiencing silence from time to time is an important part of the creative process.
  3. Spend a couple of hours at a bookstore or library – I love going into libraries with no agenda, except to browse. You’ll be surprised at what you will find to inspire you when you wander the stacks with no agenda.
  4. Listen to music – Listening to music, especially when you are working, is proven to stimulate creativity. Try listening to a type of music you’ve never listened to before. Just like traveling to new places, listening to new styles of music will open your mind to new experiences.
  5. Try some new recipes – Cooking is a double whammy for creativity: not only are you making something new, but just like listening to new music, trying new recipes can be a good way to spice up (pun intended) your routine.
  6. Find your time of day – Some people are night owls, while others are morning people. Finding the time of day you feel most creative/productive is very helpful.
  7. Rest – Getting enough sleep is a key to creativity. It is really, really difficult to create when you’re a zombie.
  8. Pin (to a real board) – While I love Pinterest, it is also useful to have a bulletin board, a space on your wall, or even a journal where you place things that inspire you: photos, quotes, recipes, etc. Displaying these items in a place where you can glance at them will help you stay inspired. It’s kind of like a subtle reminder of what you love.
  9. Let your self-expression show – Expressing yourself through the way you decorate your home, or the way you dress, is also creatively rewarding. Even if it is just a funky piece of jewelry, a little bit of self-expression goes a long way in making you feel good about yourself as a creative individual.
  10. Network – Okay, the term “network” sounds business-like, but getting to know people outside of the creative field (or creatives from different disciplines) can be a huge source of inspiration. Much of my own inspiration comes from talking with people who are historians, scientists, and also other artists outside of photography. 

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