This article is part of the Hobbies & Music topic. Below are more articles in this topic.
Read Part One
31. Revisit Places You’ve Been Before
And the same is true of locations. Even if you’ve taken a photograph in one location, it doesn’t follow that you’ll take exactly the same image a few days, months or years later. The light will be different, your skills will be different… and so will you.
32. Ask “What if…?”
Some of the greatest artistic answers have come from asking the right questions. A good one to start with is always “What if…?” What if you focused on the foreground instead of the background? What if you changed the ISO? What if you got a flash of inspiration?
33. Leave Constructive Comments
We’ve mentioned that writing blogs can help to give you new ideas, but so can writing comments on other people’s images. Just make sure the comments are constructive. Praise the photographer’s use of shadow, for example, and you’ll be telling yourself how to get similar praise.
34. Join Photo Contests
Everyone and their uncle these days seems to be running a photography competition. And for good reason. They’re a great way to motivate photographers to shoot outside their boxes.
35. Choose a Theme
Photo contests are helpful because in addition to prizes, they also give subjects to shoot. But you don’t have to actually enter a contest to win one of those. You can pick your own theme. You could even use the categories on stock sites as inspiration for subjects.
36. Check out the Big Winners
And of course, taking a look at images shot by the winners of big photo contests, such as the Pictures of the Year, can show how far your image are from those at the top of the profession… and what you need to do to join them.
37. Go Back to the Rules
You probably know the rules of photography. And you probably know how to bend them and when to break them too. So maybe go back to when you were first learning techniques and try working strictly to rule for a while.
38. Just Shoot Anyway
There are always times when you lift the camera, look at the screen and think, “No.” But what would happen if you did it anyway? At worst, you’d waste a bit of disk space. At best, you might surprise yourself and find a new kind of composition.
39. Get a Cause
Few people are more motivated than those who believe they’re working for the common good. So join them. Pick a cause, offer it your photography skills and the end will help inspire the means. You could find yourself shooting all sorts of things from campaign posters to t-shirt images to angry demonstrations. The variety should be as satisfying as the campaigning.
40. Play with Textures
While photographers often pay attention to light and composition, the texture of the materials in the subject can be left behind. Try focusing on touch rather than vision for a few shots and see what happens…
41. Play with Colours
Or be traditional and paint your pictures with bold colours and sharp contrasts. Or try using different tones of just one or two colours and see what that does for yourt results. It might not be original but if you haven’t done it before, it could be time to give experimenting with colours a try.
42. Drop Colour Altogether
Of course, you could also be super-traditional and focus on practicing your skills in black-and-white. Do you know which shots would look best without colour?
43. Play with Settings
Chances are, once you’ve found a camera setting that works for you, you don’t stray from it too far. So start straying. Play with the exposure, change the ISO, switch the shutter speed. And build on the results.
44. Play with a Point-and-Shoot
When you shoot with a DSLR, you can get used to all the bells, whistles and options that come with an expensive camera. So lay it aside, pick up an instant and shoot on the cheap. You’ll be amazed at what downgrading can do for your creativity.
45. Just Play
The beauty of digital photography is that there’s no penalty for making mistakes. That gives you a free ticket to stop worrying about whether a picture will turn out well or be an embarrassing flop, and just shoot. So try just enjoy taking photographs without thinking too much about the results.
46. Try a Different Specialty
Whether you specialize in wedding, portraits or anything else, try a niche you’ve never done before. You don’t have to do it professionally but just doing it for a while could give you a whole new bag of techniques and inspire new ways of creating your images.
47. Read Forums
We’ve mentioned that Flickr Groups can be good places to find inspiration but so can photography forums. Often, photographers use them to pose questions, but even those questions can get you thinking. The answers can get you shooting. (That can include your answers too. Tossing in your own two cents’ worth can get you thinking about all things you’re not doing — or haven’t been doing yet.)
48. Start a Project
Inspiration might come in a flash but you want it to hang around. Instead of thinking of an idea for one photograph, try thinking of an idea for a series of photographs. If you’d decided to take pictures of lightning for example, expand the concept to include extreme weather as a whole and add photographs of windswept trees and sun-bleached rooftops. That should keep you busy for a while…
49. Take a Photography Class
Photography classes make thinking up ideas very easy. You’ll even be given assignments so that you don’t have to think up subjects at all, just novel approaches to them.
50. Take any Class
But you don’t have to limit yourself to a photography class. A cooking class will let you create photography subjects that you can eat. A flower-arranging class could give you new ideas for floral photography. Even an origami class could provide a pile of new ideas for images.
51. Define the Perfect Image
Do you know what the perfect image would look like? Bet you’re thinking about it now, right? Instead of thinking how good the next shoot would be, try thinking about what the best shot would look like… then find it.
52. Create a Shooting Schedule
One way to cut back on the regular head-scratching is to plan ahead. Pull out a calendar and decide in advance what sort of images you’ll be shooting each weekend for the next few months. And leave room for flexibility.
53. Pick a Different Model
If you always use the same models or models with similar looks go for something completely different: the opposite sex, a different height, a new age group. See what a different subject can for your ideas.
54. Ignore the Silly Criticism
This one won’t boost your inspiration but it might stop it being blocked. Ask people to comment on your photos and you’ll always get someone with something dumb to say. The challenge is to pick out the constructive comments and leave out the smartass ones that can make you think twice in the future.
55. Do Something Totally Outrageous
Ever told yourself “That would never work?” Well, here’s a “what if…” What if it did work? Go ahead, surprise yourself. Shoot what’s under the sofa. Snap the top of your head. Do something outrageously silly… and see if it works.
56. Give yourself Limits
Some of the greatest literature has been written under the strictest censorship. So limit yourself. Close the door and shoot only an object that you can find in the room. Or tell yourself that you have to produce a fantastic image within the next half hour. Take up the challenge
57. Tell a Story
Good pictures always tell a story. So try thinking of a story then go out and create the images that illustrate it. That could be the story of your street, a narrative describing a community or even the progression of a cub baseball team. Find where your story begins then use your camera to follow it through to the end.
58. Print your Pictures
It’s one thing to view your photos on a computer screen but printing them out and holding them in your hand can be something else altogether. Try printing a selection of your photos and see whether they still work on paper… and how you can improve them.
59. Take an Object, Any Object…
We started this list by pointing out that flea markets are full of strange objects to photograph. But there’s a limit to how you can photograph an individual object in a flea market. So take one home or pick something off the shelf and give yourself a whole new set of still lifes.
60. Buy New Equipment
And if all else fails, you can always use cash. A burst of new ideas always seems to come free with a new lens.
Courtesy of Laurie at Photopreneur
Photos courtesy of cayusa and absolutwade at Photopreneur