As most of you might have noticed, I haven’t been very attentive to lately. This is mainly due to me being busy, as well as due to a little down turn in terms of motivation when it comes to photography, caused by a lack of creativity.

Lets take the time and talk a little about the topic of creativity. I will give you a some insight into how it works for me, what I do or what I don’t do, all after the break.

Motivation is an important topic for a photographer, since it is closely related to creativity. And as you all know, without creativity your pictures will not be as good as they could be. This is the same for pros as for amateurs. And while one can maybe get away with it by either just taking average pictures or not taking pictures at all, if you are a professional you will run into some serious problems. Thus you need to find a way to motivate yourself, to get your creativity up and running again.

Talking about running, lets talk about the first method, flow.

This can be applied to most likely everything in life. You start with a small, simple, little and easy to handle task on your list and you work your way up to bigger and harder tasks, with the good feeling of already having succeeded in previous tasks. And taking the results you got as a vantage point from which you can branch out in various directions.

Imagine you have to do a product shot and you actually have the freedom of doing almost everything you like, which usually will not be the case, but bare with me for a minute here. You have no idea how to tackle the subject. What will you do? You start out with putting up your table, tripod, mount your camera on the tripod, get a basic, save light set up. Two back lights to light your back ground, a main/key light to illuminate your subject and maybe a nice high/fill light or you just use a reflector because you don’t have that many lights (since they are expensive as we all know ;) ). And while doing all this you get going and you start playing, you add some “gobo”, you mess with the high/fill light or your reflector. You try some gels. You do this, you try that and before you know it you shot some three, four different version and you feel like doing more. Now all you need is to zero in on the one you think will make the cut and get it perfect, because after all, a product shot is not as much about creativity as it is about solid hard work and basic light one on one.

Another thing that helps and influences me a lot is music. The type of music I chose will set the mood for my shot. Fast or slow, simple or elaborated, warm or cold. You get the idea.

I will either play the music that I feel I would normally associate with the subject or  I will just put my play list on random and see what will come up and take it from there. Either way, music works as a catalyst  for me, for example right now I have  “Metallica – Fuel” banging on my system, to help my writing.

You can and should look at other people’s pictures (I will likely talk in more detail about this subject in the near future) to get some inspiration. Sometimes you see a shot and you wonder how it was done, you start playing around, experimenting and all of the sudden you end up with something.

If this does not help, try a change of environment.

This can be a hard one, but if you have the option do so.

Lately I’m a bit caught up in my routine and hardly get to really shoot the stuff that I feel like doing. I seriously wanted to cover this sports event today, because I know some people competing, but my schedule just wouldn’t permit it (I needed to get my accreditation yesterday and I just couldn’t make it and even today I would have been hard pressed due to the length of the event) . I am just trapped in a few locations recently and have to deal with it until this swamp is over.

Talking about dealing with a location, try to go and explore a known location using new angles, new techniques. You might pass through your kitchen every day and never thought about how that wooden door would make for a nice back ground in a close up. Or how you could use your Asian place mats as part of a shot, how your shades create this great pattern you could reproduce.

Show people your work and ask for input.

And I am not only talking about other photographers but people who might not have anything to do with photography at all. Sometimes they have some input, you will be surprised by what input you get, because they think out of the box.

Limit your self to get more creative!

While this might sound counter intuitive, it is not. If you keep changing your gear all the time, switching prime lens to fast zoom, to macro because you feel like you are missing out on a shot, you will likely do so. But not because you are not using the right lens but because you will be tangled up in dealing with your equipment.

I have been using the same camera and the same prime lens for most of my shots lately and even my other camera stayed with another prime lens for the last couple of weeks. Thus I already know what perspective I will get, before lifting up my camera and putting it to my eyes. I can visualize shots and scenes way better. I know where and how I have to adjust my basic settings in order to get the best results, without thinking much about it or experimenting.

I know there are a million other tips and tricks out there you can use in order to be more creative and thus produce better pictures.

If you have one, feel free to tell me and the others as well.