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20 Quick Ways to Inspire Your Photographic Creativity

by Dan Bailey on April 14, 2011 · 46 comments

Photographic creativity ebbs and flows like a tide. And what contributes to those ebbs is a combination of your own complacency and something I call the “What’s worked for me lately” factor.

It happens like this: You stumble upon a new technique or method that works well for you, and when you find that it gives you great results, you throw it in to your bag of tricks for the next time. And the time after that. And the time after that.

Pretty soon, you’ve shot nearly everything for the past two months with the same approach. Your imagery starts to get stale, or at the very least you find yourself running out of inspiration because you’ve suddenly grown tired of the same old method.

That’s when you know it’s time to break out and try something new! Here are 20 techniques that might spark your creative inspiration and propel your photography into a whole new realm.

1. Shoot with the lens that you use the least.

2. Stand on top of something and shoot down.

3. Shoot while lying on the ground.

4. Make use of the self timer.

5. Use a Pocket Wizard radio remote.

6. Try using flash.

7. Don’t use any flash or external lighting.

8. Use a tripod.

9. Shoot from a moving vehicle or a bicycle. (But be careful!)

10. Go out with only one lens.

11. Try shooting at night.

12. Try using a Super Clamp.

13. Shoot photos WITHOUT looking through the viewfinder.

14. Try using a slow shutter speed and panning.

15. Shoot a time lapse series.

16. Go to a location that doesn’t particularly inspire you and see what you come up with.

17. Take photo you saw recently that you really like and try to emulate or recreate it through reverse engineering.

18. Shoot a still life.

19. Ask a stranger if you can take their portrait.

20. Combine five of these ideas and see what you come up with.


Senior contributor Dan Bailey is a professional adventure, outdoor and travel photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.



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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

PatriciaD April 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm

I love these ideas…I'm going out today on a really yukky day that I'd not normally go out on and take some photos. I know not one of your ideas but you've inspired me to go and so I'm going NOW!!

BTW I will be in Anchorage a little over a month from now. Can I look you up?

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