By Anna Gay on | No Comments
As photographers, we may often find ourselves in a bit of a slump. The dreaded creative rut can rear its ugly head for all of us from time to time. But the positive side to this is that GROWTH USUALLY OCCURS RIGHT AFTER!
Whether you are a portrait, landscape, or commercial photographer, experimentation and getting out of your comfort zone can lead to rewarding results!
Here are a few tips to help you turn lemons into lemonade when you need to flex your photographic creativity:
One of the reasons we can get into a slump is when we use the same equipment for every single shoot.
Whether you are putting down your DSLR to shoot with a point-and-shoot, or setting your fixed lens aside to shoot with a zoom, getting out of your comfort zone with equipment will force you to compose your shots in a new way.
Of course, you can go back to your favorite gear once you are done with the exercise, but most likely, you will have a fresh outlook!
Kids are extremely creative because they have no inhibitions when they express themselves. They operate solely on the notion of creating what is pleasing to their eye, and they really don’t worry about what everyone else thinks.
If, as adults, we could let go like we were kids again, we would probably feel much freer in our creative work.
My 6-year-old stepson absolutely loves photography, and I am always amazed at the photos he captures with his tiny (and old) point-and-shoot! He gets down on the ground, up in trees, in the bushes – you name it, he is on it with his camera.
Enlist the help of a fellow photographer and collaborate. As photographers, we all understand each other fairly well (most of the time, at least), and having a partner for collaborations can introduce you to new ideas, techniques, locations, and post-processing – the sky’s the limit, really!
Your collaboration could be something as simple as an afternoon photo stroll, or something complex, like a Photoshop project.
With the idea of collaboration in mind, get a friend or family member, preferably not a photographer, to help you.
Having someone who is not a photographer help you out with an exercise like this can be a great experience, because they may notice things that you, yourself, may otherwise overlook.
Maybe you have a family heirloom, your child’s favorite toy, or a gag gift from your best friend that you would like to photograph. Perhaps you would like to photograph your grandparents, your favorite aunt, or a location that is special to you.
Any person, object, or location that stirs your emotions is a great subject for your photography because when your emotions are a part of your work, your images will shine, and take on a very special meaning to you.
We are very fortunate to live in an age where inspiring photographs are just a Google search away! Looking at the work of other photographers can be a huge help in getting you through your creative slump.
While I am not a fan of comparing ourselves to other photographers or blatantly recreating their work, taking the time to try to emulate what you love about their work can open you up to new possibilities.
When you look at a photograph that inspires you, try to identify what “it” is that grabs you – lighting, colors, black and white tones, angles, focus – and experiment with those same techniques.
Always remember that creative slumps hit everyone from time to time, so don’t let it get to you. It is totally normal. Instead, look at it as a chance to experiment and grow!
Do you have any questions or Creative Photography Ideas to share? Leave us a comment below - we would love to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!
Anna Gay is a portrait photographer based in Athens, GA and the author of the dPS ebook The Art of Self-Portraiture. She also designs actions and textures for Photoshop. When she is not shooting or writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband, and their two cats, Elphie and Fat Cat.