Tips-Beat-Photography-BlockAn artistic block, like writer’s block, is a condition when the author loses the ability to produce new work. Creative-minded people, whether it is writers, musicians, artists or photographers will experience this at least one time in their professional careers.

There is nothing worse than staring at a blank canvas for hours, days or weeks, lost for inspiration; or an inability to find words, when it used to come so naturally. For a photographer, it can be easy to get bored when repetition creeps in– taking photos of the same subjects, the same personalities and the same landmarks everyone else has already done.

As human beings, we are creatures of habit; seeking out patterns and often enjoying anything that’s out of the norm.  Developing a creative eye is all about seeing the same things, in a different way – a personal vision, not an obvious point of view.  So how do you train yourself to change your already-developed interpretations and turn a boring subject, into one that is oozing personality?

1. Change Your Perspective – See Through a Child’s Eyes  

There is something pretty spectacular about a child’s innocence. Unfortunately as we become adults, we develop pre-conceived ideas about how something should look and this is what we see through the lens of a camera.  

Learning to see things how a child does will change these pre-conceptions and bring a sense of purity into your photography. Here are few suggestions:

  • Change the height of where you take photos from – kneel down and make yourself the same height as a small child instead.
  • If a small insect looked up, what would it see? Experiment with this! Shoot from your boots and put the camera on the ground to change the point of view of subjects.
  • Take photos into the sun.
  • Make some shots obviously out of focus. Creative focusing makes the subject out of focus enough for it to be recognisable, but in focus enough to still know what it is.

2. Add Movement to Your Images

Creating a sense of movement into an image adds dimension and a touch of personality. A good way to do this is to keep your camera still, and whilst taking the actual shot – zoom in and out to give the image room to breathe and move.

Panning above a subject will inject vertical movement into the shot, whilst zooming in and out gives the image an exciting 3D look and feel. For action shots with movement, have a little fun and take photos whilst jumping in the air or running.

3. Let Emotions Take Over

One factor that makes a great photo is its ability to convey emotion. In any form of art, emotion helps a viewer (or reader) to connect. Different people will connect in different ways and in some cases not at all. But, you can’t guess the mood they’re going to be in when they view the photo, so the photo should be your expression of what you see and feel looking through the viewfinder.

  • Before you take the shot, set the camera down and just observe. Absorb the mood around you then pick it up again.
  • Focus on faces.
  • Tighten the shot – a singular emotion can easily get lost in a busy scene.
  • Recognise what type of mood you’re in while shooting – your emotional state has the largest impact on the emotional quality of the photo.

Technical perfection can be boring in photography. Some of the most remarkable and memorable images are the ones that strikes an emotional, personal chord.

4. Break Your Patterns

Typically, photographers or anyone in a creative field specialise in only one or two types. There is a good reason for this – you do what you know you’re good at, but sometimes, you need to get away and try something new.

Challenging yourself in any creative hobby or profession gets you to separate from what you know so well. If you always use your flash, experiment with natural light photography; if you always shoot people try focusing on animals or landscapes instead. These experiments will expand your skill set and give you new things to look at (and shoot!)

5. Overexposure

Especially fun with brightly coloured objects, over exposing your shots helps to create more abstract images. With brilliant colours overexposure will form a background of bright burnt out parts. This technique can also be used to introduce motion blurs or to create star and light trails.

6. Surround Yourself with Inspirational People and Travel

Surrounding yourself with like-minded people will naturally push you to be more creative. You are the average of the five closest people to you, so having innovative friends and family around will enable you to bounce off ideas and collaborate to push the boundaries.

Logically, traveling is one the best ways to jump start your creativity. Immersing yourself into different cultures and gaining a new perspective in life will help you to be more open to new ideas and see through the lens in a different light.  

If you can’t pack your bags and take a trip right away, consider relocating. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but a simple change of scenery can also open the doors to fresh concepts.

No one likes to be in a creative rut so when all else fails – break the rules. Most creative people, artists, writers, musicians and photographers refuse to conform. Where others see problems, they see opportunities. Shift the focus from how photography should be, to learning to see things in a new way.