Due to current stay-at-home orders, many of us are probably in a serious creative slump. Photographers, painters, writers, and artists are typically most inspired by the outside world. Creativity does not always form naturally; it forms from experiencing life. And for most of us, our art form is what keeps us breathing, so now we have to find ways to keep making art while following the order to stay home. So, while it might be intimidating and overwhelming to be alone with our thoughts, our confined minds might help us create some of the best work we’ve ever made!
I’ve compiled a list of what we creative humans could be doing to stay inspired while trying to do our part by staying home. And I think one of the first things that will help us is remembering why we became photographers in the first place. Most likely you didn’t become a photographer just for the money. Freelancing is no walk in the park. So, why did you become a photographer? What is your sense of purpose as an artist? Try to bring that back to the forefront of your mind and it should get you ready to apply some of the tips I have for you below.
Start a photo project.
Photo projects force us to practice being self-motivated while allowing us to have creative freedom. You can choose a subject to consistently photograph with the intention of creating a series. The topic can be something as simple as “the color orange” or “out my window.” In our current situation, your photo project could have a deeper meaning related to being at home. Use your emotions. Are you isolated and all alone? Do you have a significant other? Roommate? Kiddos? How are you/they feeling? We are all in a very unique situation, and when this is all over, how great would it be to have a portfolio of work that tells the story of what life was like during this historical event?
Starting a photo project keeps the inspiration flowing and creates space for us to create with intention.
Notice the light.
This could stand as a photo prompt as well as a tidbit of life advice. That dappled light that shines through your window every morning? Photograph it. Photograph it in different ways. Place something or someone in that gorgeous window light. Sometimes the subject is not nearly as important as the light illuminating it.
Photograph things that make you feel something.
What brings you joy? What makes you angry? Sad? A book, a song, the media, a person, an animal, food, your routine. How do all of those things affect the way you go about your day? How can you display that in a photograph?
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Recreate photos that you like.
Are there photographers out there that you admire? (There should be! If you can’t think of any, find some!). Look at their work. What do you love about it? How can you create something inspired by it? You’ll never perfectly recreate the work of someone else, and that’s not the point anyway. The point is to inspire yourself and create something with similar elements using your own unique style.
Seek beauty in the ordinary.
Do you have a routine? Do you get caught up in the everyday that you forget to see the beauty that is around you? We’re being called to slow down. So slow down. Photograph the everyday. The coffee you make in the morning, making your bed, your workout, your skincare routine, reading the kids a story. You might find it holds more beauty than you thought.
No model? No problem. Since we’re isolated with ourselves, we might as well get to know ourselves. See some beautiful light that you wish you could take a portrait in? See a photo of someone you’d like to recreate? Switch to self-timer mode, and place your fine self in front of the camera.
Use your emotions.
What makes you feel emotions? Books? Music? Did you have a tough day, or a great day? Do you feel proud and powerful or small and a little defeated? Show that with an image. Take your emotions and turn them into art. You’ll feel better after you do it, even if you aren’t crazy about the photo. I promise!
Ditch the comfort zone and challenge yourself.
We all get stuck when we shoot the same type of images everyday. Try a genre of photography that you haven’t played with before. Switch up your focal lengths, or try to shoot at just one focal length for a month. Shoot black and white exclusively. Try something new that you’d like to get better at. You have the time and the resources (Us! We’re here to help!) to learn something new.
Now, put your phone down and start creating. The weight of being trapped at home can be heavy, but that isn’t an excuse to be lazy about our art. It’s a time to better ourselves.
If you want to learn more about how we can use composition, light, emotion, and creativity to make our photographs even stronger, download our Becoming Intentional e-book below.
Happy creating, friends!