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10 Ways to Stay Creative and Current in your Photography Business
It is so easy to get busy and feel like every photograph you create is the same. This happens to me more than I care to admit. Wedding season arrives and it’s like there is no time for anything remotely creative. We become a little zombie-like…..shoot, edit, design an album and repeat. What can we do to stay fresh and have the ability to create new and interesting work? I gave it a lot of thought and here are 10 ways to help you remain current and break-out of the mundane!
1. Mix it up a little
It is proven that the brain does not like repetition. Driving home using a different route actual refreshes you brain cells because it is something out of the norm. For photography – put away your “go to” lens and use something different. Maybe try photographing all the bride getting ready photos using a 50mm lens instead of the usual 24-70 mm lens. You get the idea! Shoot differently on purpose!
2. Visit art galleries and study the old masters
It is amazing, by looking at paintings, how lighting your subject has remained the same over the years. Try and figure out if you were making a photograph of the same subject – how would you light it.
I know there are a plethora of workshops. Taking one in an area you are not familiar with will strengthen your photography skills. Maybe as a wedding photographer you take a workshop on landscapes in order to create beautiful vistas that you can place your bride and groom into. Or maybe a workshop on glamour photography in order to learn some alternate lighting skills.
4. Social Media
I always ask my brides to send me a Pinterest inspiration board with 10-20 of their favorite wedding images. (I am not known to work with shot lists. I hate them and find they slow down the day). The Pinterest photos are great for getting in my client’s head – to see what style they like. They also help keep me current. I can easily see trends and styles develop as they forward images to me so I know and understand what today’s clients want.
5. Learn to be uncomfortable
Push yourself to step out of your comfort zone – even if they are only tiny steps. If you are afraid of trying off-camera flash, practice at home a little and then try to replicate your practice and only capture one image using your new flash set-up. Maybe you shoot for two different shots using off-camera. It will not be long until you are comfortable and moving on to another technique. The secret is to be always pushing for a little more.
6. Make creativity a goal
Whenever I return to a location that I have been to many times before – I always challenge myself to create a new image. Maybe it’s a different location background, or client pose and/or lighting. But it has to be different. Plan and think about it before you arrive.
Spend some time watching current issues of Creative Live or something similar. Current episodes will be informative and offer the latest in techniques of both shooting and post production. This is a very quick way to stay up-to-date.
8. Hang out with “Creatives”
I belong to numerous groups that offer regular meetings, or coffee socials or evenings out for a glass of wine. Talking and sharing ideas with other people who create – not only photographers – is a great way to grow. As a wedding photographer, I love spending time with florists, bakers and gown designers. It helps broaden my mind.
9. Watch a good movie
I love watching movies to see how they are lit and even posed. Composition is something I am always studying while watching. If you don’t have time for a movie – at least watch a TV show, or my favorite – great commercials. They are only 30 seconds long but often packed with useful shooting ideas.
10. Last! Take a break
Give your mind a rest. I have to admit this is hard for me to do – but is extremely important. Take a vacation or night out to a play or concert. Shutting your brain off will help it rest and get your creative juices flowing when you need them.
William Innes is a Los Angeles based Wedding Photographer