I have found that the hardest part of photography is finding inspiration for a new photo. I suppose it’s the equivalent of writers block. You just need something to get you going, to inspire and motivate you to greater photographic heights. Here are some sources of inspiration that will get you shooting.
So where do you get inspiration from? What is the catalyst? Inspiration is like a chain reaction. Once you get inspired to take a photo it leads to more inspiration and so on. I’ve got ten sources of inspiration for you.
1. Read a newspaper
You can get great inspiration from the images of staff photographers at magazines and newspapers. They often produce amazing images and can be great models for amateurs as well as photojournalists. Carefully peruse these publication noting the ones that inspire you.
2. Visit a flea market
Sound a bit weird? Flea markets are amazing sources of inspiration. The objects sold are often things we don’t see often. Objects from the past. Strange or new shapes. Odd people and tables full of colour.
3. Hit the streets
There’s a good reason why street photography is so popular. There is just so much to shoot. Crowds, roads, symbols, signs and shops. They are full of activity. So why not try it. No rules. Just shoot whatever you fancy.
4. Visit a zoo or wildlife park
It might be as exciting as going on a safari but if you are careful you can exclude elements and make the final images look like you were on safari. You can get in close because you have bars and moats to protect you.
5. Browse Google images
Look for images that interest you. There are not only good images but plenty of bad ones as well. Look at them all. Let the good ones inspire and decide how you can improve the bad ones.
6. Join Flickr groups and forums
Look at the images other enthusiasts are shooting. Find out how they did it and what inspired them. Then when you submit your own images you’ll get feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as to how an image was created.
7. Buy a photography book
You can never own too many photography books and for that matter magazines. They are fantastic sources of inspiration. Magazines often have reader galleries with inspiring amateur photos. The great thing about photography books is that many will give you the techniques on how they created the photos.
8. Join a photography club
These are great sources of inspiration because not only do you see a variety of creative images, but you are also able to speak to the creators of the images. Club competitions help you find out what you know and what you need to get to know. And of course it’s in a friendly environment.
9. Check out the top photographers
Going to exhibitions or reading the latest magazines will help you see what images are winning competitions and what types of images are doing well. Magazines showcase photographers of the year and run their own competitions. Bottom line is which photos are winners. They are the ones that will inspire you the most.
10. Just have fun
Go out and shoot with abandon. Shoot anything that moves using all the angles you can think of while constantly changing the settings on your camera. This is called having fun while pushing the limits. Take a subject and shooting it in 100 different ways. Use the alphabet and shoot a subject that begins with each letter of the alphabet.
Each of us is motivated or inspired in different ways so, experiment. Try new things and don’t be scared to break the rules and push the limits. Creativity and inspiration go together. The one feeds off the other. Bottom line is that you need to get out and have fun. If you’re tense it’ll be reflected in your images. So relax and shoot happily ever after
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Wayne Turner has been teaching photography for 25 years and has written three books on photography.