This morning I was chatting with one of my students about what to blog about this week. I had hit a wall in terms of connecting with a subject to write about; even though I have a list of possible topics - none resonated with me this week - so I was stuck.
She is on my current Develop Camera Confidence programme. In between the modules the students have challenges to complete and she admitted that it was hard to pin down what to photograph. That's a common problem and is partly, I suspect, because on a daily basis we are bombarded with sights and experiences that could all be photographed. There is simply too much to choose from.
So how do we find inspiration when we are 'stuck'? Here are 5 suggestions....
1. Shoot the things you love - flowers, your pets, your children, etc..... Google and search sites like Flickr.com and Pinterest for ideas and inspiration. Look in books and magazines - notice what you are drawn to and what you don't like. To quote Austin Kleon's book title - "Steal like an Artist'. And don't restrict it to just photography - look at art, listen to music, watch films. They are all sources of inspiration but only if they are the subjects you actually want to photograph.
2. Look at photo challenge lists - even if you don't want to complete a 365 or monthly challenge looking at ideas on these lists may spark your inspiration. The photos in this post were all shot as part of a photo challenge. I have lots of examples on my Pinterest board Photo Challenge Ideas
3. Do a scavenger hunt type project but take photos of either random subjects or linked subjects (by colour, type etc). These type of photo projects can be a really great way of making you see the familiar world around you differently. There are lots of ideas in this article; How to Pay Attention that I found last week. Whilst it is not a photography based piece lots of the suggestions can be adapted into ideas for collections of photos.
4. Pick something inside your home and take photos of it - lots of photos on different backgrounds, with different props, in different light. Anything will work and the more mundane and everyday it is the more you will have to work at creating interesting images. Ask a friend or a family member to choose it for you!
5. Be playful - for most of you photography is just for fun. When we get stuck it can stop being fun, it can feel too hard to get unstuck. We put down the camera and walk away. So do something playful - with Lego people (always very photogenic), create a personalised birthday card, shoot from an unusual perspective, use your phone and create interesting images with the creative filters and apps.
Shoot lots of photos of anything and everything. If you don't end up with anything you are proud of it's never wasted - in the process of playing we can spark an idea even if we are photographing something completely different to our intended final subject.
"Keep your eyes open. Listen. Follow your curiosity. Ideas are constantly trying to get your attention. Let them know you're available." Liz Gilbert 'Big Magic'
So now I am curious - what inspires you to take a photo?