Anyone in the creative community can tell you what it’s like to hit that visionary wall. It’s the moment you’re staring at that blank page and ideas refuse to come to mind. You just can’t figure out where to start.
That’s right. We’re talking about writer’s block. But writers aren’t the only ones who experience it. You can easily call it photographer’s block, illustrator’s block, artist’s block and so on. If you’re stuck, don’t worry. It happens to everyone. Tap or click here for photo apps that make your pics better without any Photoshop skills.
For photographers, this experience usually manifests itself as shooting mediocre pictures with standard compositions that no one really likes. In stock photography, it means copying other photographers’ ideas or shooting standards or utilizing overused concepts.
So, what should you do when you get photographer’s block? Thankfully, there are several ways to boost creativity. Try these techniques to get those creative juices flowing again.
Stress and agitation are not your friends. In fact, they’re guaranteed to keep your head banging against the creative block. Instead of trying to push through your mental block, try working around it by taking a break.
Drink some tea, look out the window, go for a quick stroll or look up a few positive affirmations online. Taking a few minutes to stretch and clear your head is more beneficial than staring at your camera, trying to will yourself to be creative.
Are you getting enough rest? Most adults need around 7 hours of sleep each night. If you don’t feel rested when you wake up, you’re not sleeping enough.
Sleeping helps you recharge and keeps you from feeling irritable, restless, stressed and anxious when it’s time to create. Get into the habit of going to bed a little earlier than usual and see how creative you feel after a great night’s rest.
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Reading has been proven to improve your imagination. Your brain is a muscle, so the more you exercise it, the more powerful it becomes. And what exercise is better than translating words into images we can manipulate according to our imaginations?
In your downtime, try to read as often as possible. For maximum creative effect, read fiction. See how it inspires you to capture inspirational, thought-provoking images.
Good advertising clips can really give you that creative boost you need when you’re in a rut. Movies can take hours, but great clips only take a few minutes. Try looking for the best Super Bowl ads or nostalgic commercials. Consider what makes these ads so great.
How can you put a twist on popular commercials, billboards, newspaper ads and more? Think about it, experiment a little, then create your next masterpiece.
You might feel like holding brainstorming meetings is overrated, and you might be right. But sometimes, listening to others’ input can help inspire you. Try finding a photographer’s podcast to listen to or a short online video to watch.
If you’d rather brainstorm on your own, try writing down random ideas. Just start a timer and spend a few minutes jotting down concepts. Even if they don’t seem to make sense at the moment, it all might come together into a great idea or source of inspiration when you review it.
We’re not talking about eating sweet treats or going on a shopping spree. Instead, yield to a creative process that might take up a lot of time, or you don’t get to experience it very often.
While you’re in this creative mindset, don’t overthink. There are no stupid questions or ideas, just inspiration for better ones. Use these as starting points to break past your creative block.
Many successful photographers have tried this strategy and it has paid off. Try to deprive yourself of something to see things from a different perspective. Here are a few examples of how to get more from less.
- Do a photoshoot with only one fixed lens. Make it even more difficult by choosing your least favorite lens.
- Shoot at the same location for a month. For an extra challenge, try making it a boring place you wouldn’t normally shoot.
- Take a day trip and limit your photos to a specific number, like 36. Really made it hard on yourself by taking a nice weekend trip and limiting yourself to only 36 frames.
Choose a different limit to try every few months to avoid stagnancy. Even coming up with ways to limit yourself can breed creativity.
The use of color can be a powerful tool. Consider how colors affect how we feel when we get dressed in the morning or how colors influence our dreams. If you dislike a specific shade, try finding a way to use it in your photos. This is an excellent exercise for your mind and can get your creative juicing going.
If you’ve never worked with color schemes, try creating a few and make your next photoshoot all about those colors. Still having trouble? Take a walk around town and really pay attention to what different colors mean around town. Consider how to use these same colors in your images.
Have you ever had a job where you were thrown into the water (work) and were expected to either swim (figure out how to succeed) or drown (fail miserably)? While it might not be the most professional way to go about a new position, it can work wonders for creatives.
If you’re in a rut, try grabbing your camera and capturing everyday things in your home or yard. Don’t think about whether your pictures will be great or not. Just start snapping away. As you shoot, you may notice you’re using more skills and are creating concepts.
Just go with the flow and see what happens. This method is guaranteed to help you succeed.