Recently I’ve found a huge new spurt of creative inspiration for photography, and have been shooting more on a daily basis than ever. What has helped me? Let me share with you what has worked for me:
Conquer your fears and meet new peers:
- Jan 27-28: LONDON / Conquer Your Fears in Street Photography
- Feb 21-22: NYC / Conquer Your Fears in Street Photography (Contact Neil.firstname.lastname@example.org for Special Bundled Discount for both NYC Workshops)
- Feb 24-25: NYC / Dynamic Street Photography Composition Workshop (Contact Neil.email@example.com for Special Bundled Discount for both NYC Workshops)
- May 2-5: KYOTO-UJI / Zen Creative Photography Experience
- May 9-13: TOKYO / Travel Street Photography Experience
1. Photograph ordinary things
I think our job as photographers isn’t to hunt for the extraordinary, the exotic, or the fantastical. Rather, it is about transforming the ordinary, everyday things we see and experience — and to highlight them and make them beautiful.
This can be photographing ordinary things at home.
For example, when I am taking a break at home, I just wander around and look for random stuff around the house to shoot. That can be my desk, my moms glasses, or even shooting selfies of myself in the mirror.
2. Always carry your camera around your neck or wrist
I have been lately always carrying my RICOH GR II around my neck, which allows me to always be ready to shoot. My New Years resolution for this year:
Don’t leave the house without my camera on my neck.
This is my theory: the easier your camera is to access, the more you will shoot.
3. Treat every day as a holiday
I remember reading something from the philosopher Diogenes —who said, he treated everyday as a feast day.
I’ve been trying to do the same — finding joy in the small joys of everyday life, like our family dinners.
Generally it is frowned upon to shoot your food. My opinion— it is good for us to shoot our food. Why? To me, when I photograph my food, I’m more grateful for my food. Also, I always review my old meals, which brings a smile to my face.
4. Shadow play
I have been having a lot of fun just shooting shadows of myself, my hands, and whenever I see shadows (anywhere).
Therefore, when you don’t have inspiration to shoot — just look for shadows, and have fun.
5. Shoot in P (program mode)
The less you worry about your technical settings, the more you can reduce resistance and friction — and just shoot.
6. Don’t feel like you need to nail your composition with just one photo
I think one concept which has hurt a lot of photographers is that thinking there is only one “decisive moment”. In reality, we must make many photos of the same scene, to just get one good photo.
Therefore if you see a good scene shoot at least 10 photos of the scene. This will help you overcome “paralysis by analysis”.
7. Shoot colorful textures
Lately I’ve been shooting high contrast color jpeg mode, and I’ve been having so much fun shooting colorful things and textures.
As a tip, try shooting two photos of each scene: shoot one photo of the colorful texture with flash (which often increases contrast and saturation), and also shooting without a flash (which will show more textures).
8. Shoot artistic portraits of your friends
Don’t feel like you only need to shoot street portraits of strangers — photograph your friends and loved ones and try to make them artistic. Shoot your subjects next to window lighting with -1 exposure compensation.
I photographed my friend Yves at his home in Marseille above, and I love the drama of the shadows that come through his curtains.
9. Experiment with perspectives for fun
To keep shooting, treat all photography like fun and experimentation. I’ve been having a lot of fun just practicing shooting different perspectives — from very high perspectives looking down, or crouching down very low, and shooting up.
10. Go out during Golden hour
Whenever it is Golden hour (sunrise or sunset) in your local time, just go for a walk with your camera. Because of the Golden light, almost everything will look good in the photo.
I always feel more inspiration to shoot during Golden hour, and I think you will too.
11. Shoot at night
Shoot all times during the day, including the night. I’ve been doing more evening walks with my camera, and treating myself like a night walker with a camera. Just a good thing to do in the evening to clear your mind.
Ultimately, don’t worry about making “good” photos, or trying to get a bunch of likes on social media. Make photos that bring a smile to your face. Retain your childlike enthusiasm for photography, and keep that spirit alive.
For a limited time, download the following FREE visualizations designed by Annette Kim. Keep these guides on your phone, tablet, computer to read on your commute, as reminders when shooting on the streets, and for daily inspiration.
- “How to Overcome Fears of Photographing Strangers“(11/2/2o17)
- “What to Look For When Shooting in the Streets” (11/8/2017)
- “What is the Best Camera for Street Photography?” (11/22/2017)
- “Travel Photography Tips” (12/10/2017) New!
- “Introduction to Composition in Photography” (12/18/2017) New!
- “Zen of Eric: On Life, Photography, Art, and Work” (12/29/2017) New!
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