Sometimes us photographers get the equivalent of writers block, there is just nothing there, no ideas, no inspiration – nothing.
So what do you do? Well, you could keep your cameras locked away in their bags and go and watch TV, you could sit by the phone waiting for it to ring with your next paying client, or you could pick up your camera and just go out and shoot.
But, I have nothing to shoot – I hear you cry.
Well this is the thing. There is plenty to shoot, in fact, there is so much you could shoot that if you shot every spare day in your life you would never shoot everything you could ever shoot.
Set yourself a goal – if you shoot people – go out and shoot flowers, if you shoot flowers already then go out and shoot people walking dogs, or if you shoot wildlife go and shoot as many different street signs as you can in an hour.
By doing this, not only will you be a little outside of your comfort zone, but you’ll also have to “look” a little harder for a picture, but once you start looking you will eventually see, and once you start seeing pictures, that creativity will start flowing back.
I did this just at the weekend.
I set myself a target of only shooting 10 pictures, just ten pictures using an X100, no DSLR, no fancy lenses, just ten pictures – but ten pictures of man made shapes and within 1 mile of my home.
So I take a walk and it’s hard, very hard, I’m used to shooting people, either on location or in a studio. But after a while I started to look a bit harder. This is a road bollard, at the end of my road, nice textures on the wood and I liked the contrast between the red/white.
Crossing the road I walked down an alleyway, I go down this alleyway almost every day, but this time I saw the leading lines into the distance, focus on the fence and a bit of flare, could have done with a person in the shot, but this was all about shooting other things.
At the intersection of this alleyway and the road, there is a piece of corrugated iron, great textures, I just had to shoot a couple of frames.
Another man made object, a wooden fence door with a chain, great, another shot, by now I’m halfway towards my total of ten, and I’m not 15 minutes from my front door!
I walked a little further and came across this pipe in the wall, it didn’t seem to go anywhere, but I liked the texture and colour.
Only four more to find now and then I stumbled upon these amazing garage doors. They are doors to a block of apartment buildings, pretty cool and never noticed them before, used up two of my ten just on these.
So only two images left to find and I was on the limit of my 1 mile from home rule, I then looked across the river and spotted these blue buildings with red windows. I walk by them 2-3 times a week, and never noticed them before!
On my way back home I had one shot to find – this doorway was an interesting subject.
And that was my final picture.
I’m not going to give up my day job just yet 🙂 But it was certainly a different way to go about my photography, and you know what, I quite enjoyed it.
So next time you get lost for ideas, set a target or make a list, and just go and shoot
Best – Colin