I get this question a lot, and sometimes it’s about my photography! I do have a creative brain, I think in quotes and songs, I can remember odd details about historical people/time, and I routinely drift off on a tangent in my mind long after the conversation has ended. It is hard to teach creativity, and in some cases, it’s forced out of us (school, work, home), but I mostly steal it when it comes to photography. I mean, I’m inspired by others. Below are some ways to get the creative juices flowing.
I started added the rubber ducky to photos because I know people in my life that love rubber duckies, and only some of them are kids. I added the ducks for them, but I’m so in love with the effect I add them for myself now. They’re bright, cheerful and add whimsy to any photo. So pick a physical object that represents someone or something in your life. I’ve seen people add sock monkey and my little pony dolls to photos, but it can be a model plane (for a parent that used to fly) or a photo of a loved one. It can be as simple as a bright ball that’s your favorite color or have a deeper meaning, maybe a book that changed your life.
Search Instagram, Pinterest, or whatever the new trending social media app that only cool people know about (which is why I don’t know about it) and find something you would like to try. The crystal/lens ball in my photos, I saw that on Instagram and started using it (and I love it), search for creative/wacky/fun photos ideas in a search engine. Don’t limit yourself to just photo or landscape ideas; look at home decor or travel websites. The photos of the LED Lights in a Mason Jar that were from a brighten up your backyard/balcony on a budget article. A travel ad with a heart outline with blue stones over a distressed wood gave me the seashells in a heart shape idea.
Try something crazy when editing a photo; what happens if you turn the saturation all the way up? Play around with tint, contrast, darken, lighten shadows or filter settings in whatever program you edit. The great thing about digital photos, you can revert to the original or not save the edits. If all the features seem overwhelming (it was to me), try the extreme low and high end for one setting. Or you can search on youtube, and someone will explain the settings in a way you understand. We don’t learn or understand the same way so if the first video doesn’t help, try another with a different host. It took about 5 different photographers to explain the F-Stop to me (insert shameless plug for another post. https://jmptraveler.com/2020/06/12/what-the-f-stop/); to be fair, the first four just said the same thing but in different accents.
Take your photos from a different angle. Tilt the camera so the leaning tower of Pisa is straight and everyone else is at an angle. Take upshots of a forest canopy or building facade. Lay down on the ground and take photos of mountains, really make them massive. If everyone is taking landscape horizontal photos and some vertical shots, it’s surprising how little it takes to make our minds see something differently. Last, don’t just take photos of holiday views, take photos of everyday items in your house or what you are eating and drinking. I don’t drink, so I literally stopped them so I could get this shot. I’m going to sound super nerdy/snobby but see how the smooth glass contrast with the rough textured salt rim? I did a color splash effect (selected one color to highlight) with the green lime wedge, and now it’s art; I wish I had one with the whole glass in focus, but it isn’t nice to make people wait for their food or drinks. Also, it looked in focus on my camera screen.
To recap: Include an item that means something to you or someone you care about in your life, check social media and search engines for creative photo ideas or home decor ideas, try using the advanced features on your editing program, play around with angles, take photos of everyday objects, but most of all have fun.
Photography is not a science. It’s an art, and we all have different tastes when it comes to art. Your photos don’t have to look like the covers of National Geographic.
P.S. National Geographic I do love your photos.