If things aren’t interesting the way you are viewing them, then look at them in a new way. Sounds easy enough, right? Unfortunately, it’s often easier said than done. A common way photographers can improve their photography as a whole, while challenging themselves to turn the boring into something noteworthy is a 365 day project. These types of projects train you to think creatively by instinct. However, in the need of some more immediate results, try out a few of these suggestions to get the inspiration flowing.
Study The Light
As a photographer, light is your best friend. When you’re stuck on finding a good photo, make sure you’re not forgetting to watch what the light is doing and how it is changing–especially when shooting outdoors. As the sun moves across the sky, the light being cast will change, too. Be on the lookout for interesting light patterns that may be present at different times of the day.
A good place to start when you’re not finding inspiration in your surroundings is to change your perspective. Of course, walking about and looking at things from a few different directions is super helpful, but don’t forget to look high and low, too. Is there a flight of stairs or hill you can climb to get an aerial perspective? What about kneeling down and shooting from ground level?
Put Yourself Into The Frame
One way to spice up a a boring location is to bring in a prop and one prop you’ll always have with you is yourself. Utilize your camera’s self timer function and put yourself in front of the lens for a change. Or, if you’re camera shy, you can always ask a friend to step in frame for you. Think of some creative ways interact with the environment to include yourself in a photo in ways other that fall outside of the typical portrait.
If you’re looking around and not able to see anything that catches your eye, try looking at things just a little closer. Swap out that lenses and switch to a macro lens, or grab yourself a set of reverse rings to turn your existing lens into a macro. When shooting macro you’re introduced to a whole new realm of textures and patterns that your eyes and standard lenses can’t see.
Just Start Shooting
If you’re still feeling completely uninspired and don’t see a single thing to photograph just start taking photos anyways. Even if they’re not interesting. The point is to be taking photos, the simple steps of bringing the camera up to your eye, framing up a composition, and taking a shot can be enough to trigger your creativity. Look at each shot after you take it, study it, think about all the ways you could have taken it differently and try those. Pick something, anything, out of your surrounding and photograph it five different times, in five different ways; pick out the best composition and try to come up with five more ways you could improve on it and keep practicing this until you have the “perfect” shot.
Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself if you still can’t find the shot. While you may not walk away with a prize winning photograph, you did walk away with more experience than when you started. It may not sound like much of a consolation at the moment, but over time these small experiences really add up. With a little persistence, you’ll find yourself looking at things in an all new way, with a lot less effort on your behalf.