Not everyone has amazing ideas popping into their head constantly. We often feel the impetus, the urge, to go photograph, but sometimes this question lingers: “Photograph what?!”
I liken it to having a writer’s block. Faced with the challenge, your mind stammers and stutters. And it goes blank.
These are some of my tried and true techniques to overcome blocks.
- Keep an idea log/journal/whatever.
- Go back to the basics. Practice photography 101 – play with different DOFs, play with different lighting setups. If you haven’t already, figure out the AV, TV, TAv, and Manual modes. Get out of the Green!
- Try out a different photography genre. If you don’t normally do action photography, go hit a local park and find a local game to shoot.
- Use an underutilized technique. Eg: if you normally photograph outdoor in natural light, experiment with artificial light, whether it’s a flash or a regular lamp. Or figure out how to use fill lighting so you can shoot into the sun. Challenge yourself to get a good portrait using different techniques.
- Go somewhere new. This might seem simplistic, but sometimes a change of scenery is all you need to get your creative juices flowing.
Find inspiration elsewhere. Still stumped on ideas? Flip through nursery rhymes from your childhood (the original versions are quite gory or frightening!). Or consider the latest book you read – maybe there’s a scene in there that could be interesting. Don’t read much? What about magazines? Reenacting the latest juicy drama about your favorite actress could be fun.
- Costume on! It does not need to be a superhero costume (although if you want, go for it!). A change from street clothes to something different could ignite an idea. An old fashioned nightgown, a quirky hat, a ball gown or tux even an old Halloween costume.
Biggest and best tip of all? Don’t stop shooting. It’s cliche, yes, but I’ve found it to be an accurate one. If you veer off your regular shooting schedule, whether it’s daily or once a week, it can be difficult to get back into the habit. Even if it feels like a chore, make it a habit to pick up your camera and go photograph. And make it a good one – don’t half-ass it.