As a photographer, we need to tap in to our creative side time and time again. It’s an important part of our work, and it’s easy to struggle with creative block. You can also end up feeling like you have run out of ideas at some points. So how can you encourage your creative side to boost you at all times? These tips should help you out.
Get a Hobby
For many of us, photography is a hobby. When this makes the transition into being full-time work, you can end up in a position where you have no hobbies left! Even though photography is a fun job and does have many creative elements, it’s still work. It’s important to have another outlet which challenges your creative mind in different ways.
So, what kind of hobbies could you take up? They could even be things that go well with your photographic business. For example, you could start making props, or creating jewellery for your models to wear. You could take up sewing, whether creating clothing or making artistic embroidery. You could start to paint or draw. Even making elaborately decorated cakes would fit! There are so many creative disciplines out there, and adding another string to your bow is never a bad thing.
Your hobby can be something that you eventually start to make money from, or an artistic project that you want to display in galleries. It could even be something just for yourself. Whatever it is, just make sure that it’s creative!
Seek Inspiration – Everywhere
Getting into a creative frame of mind means looking out for inspiration wherever you are. You can find a jolt of creative energy from seeing autumnal leaves on trees, or from hearing a radio DJ talk to a guest about their daily habits. It could be from reading a book, or watching a film.
The important thing is to open yourself up to inspiration. Don’t just wait for it to strike – get out there! Consume cultural matter like books, films, television shows, and music. Go to museums and local art galleries, and browse their collections online. Spend time on social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest where there is a big art community.
You should also actively try to use the inspiration you find as jumping-off points for new work. For example, if you love a particular show on Netflix, try capturing a portrait that looks like it was a screenshot from the last episode. If you have been inspired by a poem, try to capture that feeling in a photograph. It doesn’t have to work, and you don’t have to show it to anyone. The point is that you are out there making art! Creativity is the kind of thing that grows the more you put into it.
Something Old, Something New
One of the best ways to get creative when you are stuck in a rut is to take something old, and do something new with it. Bring up an old photograph that you took years ago, or even a piece of inspiration that you have used before. Now treat it as if you are seeing it for the first time. Make a new edit, or take a new photograph matching that inspiration. See where it takes you years after the first contact.
This is also a really great way to show potential clients how much your style has grown and changed. Post up a comparison of your original edit and the new one side by side to show the difference. Now you have not only encouraged your creative side, but also found something new to post for your social media fans. Two birds with one stone!
Set an Appointment
As creatives, we often think that we have to wait until inspiration strikes. We will be there, ready and waiting, when it does, but we don’t go after it ourselves. This kind of thinking isn’t the best for encouraging yourself to be creative all the time. Instead, what you should do is set an appointment with yourself to be creative.
If photography is your side-gig or hobby, then make sure that you are working on it once a week (or however often you can fit in reliably). If it is your full-time thing, then try setting appointments for your creative hobby. You should have a set time every week – or every day if you can manage it – which is just for being creative.
Make sure that you use this time every week, without fail. If you miss an appointment due to a conflicting schedule, you will have to book it in for a different day so that you don’t miss out. Don’t wait for the creativity to come to you. Get out there and capture it for yourself.
Lose the Rules
You probably have a lot of rules for yourself right now. You might only edit in a certain way. Maybe you only take photographs of a certain thing. You have a style that you stick to, and you don’t do the things you aren’t supposed to.
But who wants to play by the rules all of the time? You need to kick them to one side every now and then and have fun! Do the opposite of what you’re supposed to. Take a break from weddings and photograph your neighbour’s dog. Instead of a senior portrait, go and set up your own still life. Be as wacky and crazy as you like. Change the way you edit. Draw all over a photograph. Print it out, cut it up, and put it back together wrong.
It’s a lot of fun to lose the rules once in a while, and it helps you blow off steam too. Not only that, but you can think of it as a creative palette cleanser – leaving you free to get back to work refreshed!
Do you have any practices or techniques that you use to keep in touch with your creative side? We’d love to compare tips in the comment section!