Looking for Inspiration: When your photography is in a rut
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Friday, March 15, 2013
By L. Francescon
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kay, let’s be honest.  How many of you have ever found yourself in a creative slump? You’ve started using the same backdrop, lens or lighting pattern over and over again because it’s easy. Right? Sessions are looking the same. Your artwork is the same. And frankly, you are bored with yourself.

We’ve all been there. It’s just a part of life. However, the sooner you pull yourself out of the slump, the better. So let's spend some looking at how you can get your creative juices flowing again.

In this article, I will share with you where to look for inspiration, give you tasks that will inspire creativity and finally, what will happen when you are inspired again and can’t wait to grab your camera.

As I mentioned in the last blog, our goal is to capture the emotions of our clients. If our technique is not consistent, we will miss all those wonderful emotions. Same thing happens when we are in a creative slump.

"Sessions are looking the same. Your artwork is the same. And frankly, you are bored with yourself."

Looking for Inspiration

We all have our favorite photographers that we follow, whether it’s on Facebook or their blog; we check in to see what they are doing.  However, there are so many other places to look for inspiration.  Check out some of these things to try:

 - Subscribe to magazines or browse through Pinterest

- Watch lots of movies – look at the lighting patterns, the costumes, the emotions. 
I have seen some stunning work created by photographers who will
re-create a scene or image from a movie 

- Spend some time in the kitchen – look at the colors and textures of the food you are cooking. 
What emotions are evoked as the house starts to fill with those yummy smells? 
Think to yourself, “How can I create this same emotion when I’m shooting”? 

- Photograph abstracts and textures.  Not only do these do these make great backgrounds
and overlays; but think of the ideas they may inspire

 - Go to an art museum

 - Educate yourself – attend a workshop or a class.  But then take it one step further.  If your specialty is babies – go check out what the high school senior photographers are doing


Taking Action

Have you been told that you should be shooting for yourself once a week?  Everywhere you look, you see photographers doing a weekly challenge, monthly challenge and even a daily challenge.  Well, I’m going to take it a little further.  When you go out to shoot for yourself, have a goal.

For example, during a workshop that I took a couple summers ago, we were given an assignment to go out and shoot textures and abstracts.  I decided to focus on water.  Figure 1 and 2 are just a couple examples of what I captured.   Figure 3 represents the product that evolved from that assignment.

Here are some other things to try.  When you go out to shoot, think about the following statement and then fill in the blank, “I’m going to shoot the whole thing…….”


- in one location
- at a certain time of day
- Using all flash
- Using no flash
- Using just a point and shoot (or your phone camera)
- Using just one lens
- How about just one shutter speed?
- Time of day – shoot at high noon or in the darkness at night
- Weather conditions – go out in a snow storm or when it's raining 

Don’t forget to try something new at your sessions.  At each session, once you have finished getting what you need for your client, try something new.  Challenge yourself to see things differently and even make it a little more difficult.  I’ll even say something to my client, “Hey, I just thought of something cool to try!  I’m not sure how it will turn out, but if you are game, let’s do it!”


The Inspired You

As you continue to challenge yourself, all of a sudden you will find yourself getting excited to try new things.  Client work will start to reflect these changes.  Clients will also see your enthusiasm and get excited themselves about the images you are creating. Your images will have more impact – which is great for competition (but that’s another blog).

As you create your marketing pieces, they too will have more impact.  That’s a good thing – you want people to halt and look at your work.

I hope that some of these ideas have inspired you to grab your camera and go out and have some fun. In my next blog post, we’ll revisit some of these ideas as we take marketing templates and make some changes within the layers to make them reflect the brand, look of your studio and style.



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