Today I am starting a new series of topics on the blog called “creativity boosters” to help you be more creative and find new subjects to photograph.
Sometimes it is enough to go to an interesting location, find a great subject, and fire away. In fact that’s what I do most of the time. I’ll just choose a location and see what catches my eye when I get there.
But sometimes that doesn’t work. It happens to all of us. We get in a bit of rut and find ourselves wandering aimlessly trying to find a good subject to photograph and sometimes coming home empty handed.
I hate that. It just doesn’t feel right to go out ready for a great day of photography and then come home without having taken the camera out of the bag.
There is a way out of this kind of subject paralysis: boosting your creativity by limiting choices.
I think part of the problem is that we have too many choices. We have a whole arsenal of lenses, tons of subjects to choose from, but nothing catches our attention enough to settle on it as a subject. The solution is to limit your choices before you go out.
With this in mind, the “creativity boosters” will help you settle on an idea before you go out and let that idea drive your eye to find the subject.
So let’s get started! Take this idea, grab your camera, and see what new subjects you can find.
Creativity Booster #1: Textures
This is one of my favourite creativity boosters because I personally tend to get in a rut on white sky days when I cannot do the sunset/sunrise/twilight seascapes or cityscapes that I love. Texture subjects are great in diffused light and, depending on the subject, sidelight can work great too.
Here are some ideas for finding great textures:
My Dad was a fisherman so I know all I have to do is go to my parents back yard to find a plethora of junk (or “treasures” as my Dad would say) to photograph. Either here or down at fisherman’s wharf there are always lots of fenders, lines, traps, nets, lures and other treasures that make great subjects for close-ups.
Rust or peeling paint
Speaking of junk, old junk is even better. If you have a local historical society there will many treasures for you there. Look for rust patterns on old trucks, tractors, or signs or peeling paint on old buildings.
Keep your eye out for interesting rocks like little pebbles on the beach or chunks of shale or slate, get in close and fill the frame.
Trees usually have interesting patterns of bark or you can get under them and shoot up at the leaves. Don’t forget to look down and see what has fallen from the tree that might have a great texture too.
Brick walls or rock walls
A stroll around any city should give you lots of subjects to work with when it comes to the surface of buildings, walls around gardens, or even the sidewalk.
Every beach seems to have its own sand texture.
- make your image at a 90 degree angle so your subject is flat in the frame
- fill the frame with the texture
- consider the distance between you and the subject so you get enough detail in the frame (don’t get too close)
- use an f stop like f/8 or f/11 to make sure everything is in focus and sharp
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