Sometimes we all get stuck. We get into a bit of a rut, we start to feel a bit staleÂ and have trouble finding a subject to inspire us and get our creativity flowing again. Often the solution is looking at images by other photographers, however there are other sources of inspiration to kick start our creativity.
Books are a great source of inspiration. Not photography books, but novels, historical texts, biographies or any other genre can provide ideas to get you photographing again. I often find myself drawing ideas from descriptions of places or people in a novel.Â Often a writerÂ will treat a city as a character in their work and so describe it’s smells, sights and atmosphere in such a way that it makes you want to try to recreate that.
Movies and TV shows can provideÂ as much inspiration as still images, as the creators of these are trying to achieve the same thing as a still photographer: to instill a certain feeling or atmosphere into the scene to assist their story.
Often the best way to find inspiration is simply to go for a walk. Leave the camera at home and take a walk, or even a drive, to a nearby park, beach, or around your own town or neighbourhood and take note of the things that you would normally pass by. Are there any landmarks? Are your neighbours mostly families with young children or professional types. Are there cafe’s with character. What about the architecture? Are houses modern in style or old and full of charm? Amongst all of this, you’re bound to find something that interestsÂ you close to home. Once you do, come back with your camera and make it into a personal project. Hopefully this will lead you to bigger ideas.
It is usually only one little spark that is needed toÂ put us back in a creative frame of mind and once you get that first idea, they just keep flowing. MostlyÂ its just a matter of keeping an open mind to newÂ sources of inspiration.
The good folk at PhotoShelter are offering up yet more great photo business advice. Apart from offering aÂ image storage and website solution for photographers, these guys produce e-books by the dozen and run a great blog that often includes webinars featuring art directors, photographers andÂ people in the photography and publishing industries that provide some useful insight on how photographers are hired and how to construct a portfolio amongst other things. And they do it all for free (except for the storage and website bit).
Their latest offer is the Photo Business Bootcamp. A 5 week course that you can receive by e-mail to help you in starting up or growing your photography business. The course covers finding inspiration, designing and using your website effectively, online marketing and selling your services and your photos. I’ve signed up and am looking forward to getting started.
The Photographers Ephemeris is a great little app that is available for free download for PC, Mac and also Ipad and Iphone. The app allows gives you sunrise and sunset times throughout the year for any particular areaÂ and also shows you the direction of the sunrise and sunset. It also does the same for the moon. I’m finding this program invaluable for planningÂ Â location shoots.
It’s quick to download and easy to use. It is as simple as typing in your location and searching. The program runs using Google Maps software and so gives you the ability to drill down to a specific address. Basically as long as the location is mapped in Google Maps, then you can find out the sunrise/sunset times at any given time over the year for any given location on the planet. Seriously cool.
As can be seen in the diagram above, the coloured lines on the map show the direction of the sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset, while the table on the right gives the times.
I think this could be an invaluable tool for a travelling photographer, especially the versions for mobile devices such as Ipads and Iphones. I hear there is also a version in the works for Android users.
The calender also gives you the ability to skip forward a fewÂ weeks or months to help in the planning of upcoming trips.