How to Have Inspiration to Take Photos in the Suburbs

Currently in the suburbs of LA, and of course it isn’t as “fun” or “interesting” as when I am traveling and living nomadically. But how can one stay inspired and keep shooting, regardless of where they live?

Some basic ideas:

1. The fault isn’t the city.

First of all, no matter how interesting your city, you will always get bored of it. This is because psychologically we have ‘hedonic adaptation’ — we aways adapt to our environment. So even if you lived in NYC, Tokyo, Kyoto, Saigon, etc– you will get “used to it” no matter what, and will always lose inspiration to take photos.

Thus, don’t fall into the sucker trap of thinking to yourself:

Oh, if I only lived in a more interesting city or place, I’d be always inspired to take photos!

I actually believe we must train ourselves, and have discipline to find photos regardless of where we are!

A simple tip: Always carry your camera with you wherever you go, like a necklace or a bracelet. Pick up an HENRI SHOULDER STRAP or an HENRI WRIST STRAP (PRO) and make the extra effort to always have your camera with you! To be honest even with me — I have to make an effort to always have the camera with me. And the truth is, the more I have my camera on my wrist or around my neck, the more photos I see!

As an exercise, try this out: Whenever you leave the house, always have the camera on your wrist or on your neck. And see if this allows you to ‘see more’ photos to shoot!

2. Ask yourself, *why* do I want to make photos?

Make photos for yourself. You must discover what your own self-motivator is to making photos.

For myself, I am driven by this concept of ‘visual sociology‘ — I want to make photos for a greater purpose– to critique, analyze, and hopefully change society.

I have been doing this in the suburbs by photographing what I think is fucked up. For example, how the Lottery targets low-income folks.

Don’t make photos for Instagram — make photos for some greater social purpose– something greater than yourself!

3. Shooting ideas

Basic ideas to shoot more in the suburbs:

  1. Shoot inside restaurants, bars, coffee shops, the mall, or grocery stores (I like Walmart Street Photography)
  2. Use the smallest, most convenient camera for yourself: This might be a RICOH GR II or just your phone. Give a big middle-finger to this notion of ‘image quality’.
  3. In my eyes, it is better to take a bad photo than no photo. This means, allow yourself to take bad photos! You might need to shoot 10,000 photos to just make 1 good one!


Some recent photos I’ve been shooting in the ‘burbs of LA:

1. Lumix G9 + Eric Kim PRESETS

Shot with the Lumix G9, RAW, and processed with Eric Kim PRESETS:


2. Lumix G9 Black and White Film Simulation

New firmware update for the Lumix G9, for black and white film simulation. Some tests:

Why I like color

Ultimately, I think I will stick more to color– because color introduces more fun variables, which is a fun challenge! To think of color, hue, and tone are just additional variables which make photography more exciting for me!




Just shoot it:

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