Photography is a creative art that needs feeding and nurturing. There’s a risk all your photographs will begin to look the same if you don’t find new inspiration and push the boundaries. It’s okay to develop your style as a photographer, but it’s important that you experiment and try new things to keep your images looking fresh.
Many photographers believe that investing in a new camera or lens will be the inspiration they need to improve their pictures, and this can become a vicious circle. There’s always something new to buy in the world of photography, but equipment isn’t the answer to more satisfying results.
The following tips will help you to find new inspiration to improve your photography.
1. Push your camera skills to the limit.
Whatever your level of experience as a photographer, there are always new camera skills you can develop. If you haven’t read a detailed manual for your camera, this is a good place to start. Are you using all the features, modes and tools available? Are you able to shoot in manual exposure mode, or do you rely on the camera to make decisions for you?
2. Break the rules of composition.
Conventional wisdom suggests that symmetrical composition, with the main subject in the center of the frame, works best. Rectangular formats are the most commonly used for photographs. By experimenting with different framing, composition, and forms, it’s possible to create unique images. Study the work of modern painters and artists and observe how they break the rules of composition for impact.
3. Take on a project.
Setting yourself a goal to complete a photography project is another excellent way to find inspiration. The timescale could be anything from a week to several years. If you have children, take a portrait of them on their birthday every year with the goal of capturing every stage of their childhood. Making a series of photographs of a tree as it changes through the seasons of the year is another idea for a project.
4. Plan a photo adventure.
If you’re stuck in a rut with your photography, taking a trip to a new place could be the solution. Travelling abroad can give you the opportunity to capture new cultures, people, and locations. If restricted by time or money, take a day trip to a different place locally. Experimenting with street and travel photography can be a real test of your camera skills. Nature and wildlife photography is another subject you can try at some locations.
5. Experiment with unusual camera techniques.
Once you’ve mastered the necessary camera skills of selecting the right aperture, shutter speed and focus, it’s time to experiment. Intentionally moving the camera during a prolonged exposure is a simple to create abstract images. Shooting into the sun to create lens flare, and deliberately over-exposing gives images an air of romance. Not all of these pictures will work, but moving away from the conventional ways of operating a camera can bring unique results.
6. Offer to teach someone photography.
Smartphones and digital cameras have created a surge of interest in photography, but most people know very little about the subject. By offering to teach someone how to take better pictures you can sharpen your skills. Taking on a student forces you to go back to basics, and you may begin to question your approach to photography in the process of passing on your knowledge to someone else.
Photography is constantly evolving as an art form, and new techniques and post-processing styles emerge every year. Follow the tips in this article, and you’ll find sources of inspiration to get out and shoot pictures you’ll be proud of.
About the Author
Hi there, I'm Kush Sharma, the founder of Creative Pad Media, an organization dedicated to simplifying photography and videography education.
We have over 40 online courses that cover various genres in photography & videography, catering to both beginners as well as professionals. These courses are available via Udemy.com. Our courses have been downloaded in over 170 countries.
I hope to see you inside a course very soon!