Where do you go?
Whenever we find ourselves lost and trying to discover new ideas, we usually go to the internet. However, as we continue to go on with our lives, we somehow get into the habit of relying on the web and social media to constantly find new ideas. Simply, we rely on others to think for us!
Before I continue, let's get one thing clear. The internet is very useful, and it does have many great resources (like this article), but you have to make sure you use it responsibly. If you rely on searching for ideas too often, then you become a habitually reactive photographer instead of a proactive photographer.
How do I find inspiration in my photography?
Being a proactive photographer means that you don't rely on someone else to give you the idea and you don't need to wait for the inspiration/moment to come to you. You simply can just go anywhere and just shoot whatever is in front of you to create beautiful images. A reactive photographer, however, is the opposite. Just waits and is constantly searching... And maybe they will get lucky and get a cool picture.
So, how do you become a proactive photographer finding inspiration? Simple, get out of the house and just shoot! It doesn't matter "what" and it doesn't matter "how good" your photos are. Just take pictures and ignore anything else you have been told or seen on social media. At the time of this writing, I am not active on most social media for that purpose.
Remember, that photography is self-expression, and there are no rules about what you can and cannot do!
No need to always be looking at social media to be inspired to take pictures. Here are five guidelines to help you become that proactive photographer capturing authentic images!
Perceive the world around you!
Sometimes we can get so focused on the big parts of life (family, work, school, etc.) that we forget to just look at the little details around us. The inspiration you're looking for might just be in your backyard! The grass, sun shining through the trees, pretty birds singing, the texture of your house, kids playing, etc! Add an unusual perspective that fascinates you and I guarantee that will be a really interesting photo! Being aware of your surroundings is probably one of the most important skills as a photographer!
Ignore what others say!
If you have ever entered a photography competition, you will know that it becomes very subjective. You may have a cool picture of a red house, but the judge doesn't like red because of past experience, so he chooses the blue house picture as the winner.
The truth is, that everyone is subjective and will always pick and choose. Everyone (including you) have their own opinions of what they like and don't like. Capture what you want and make a photograph of how you want it. Photography is very personal and all I can say is that everyone is different, so create YOUR photo, not someone else's!
Experiment and try something different!
How will you ever discover something if you aren't willing to try? Doing the same thing over and over again will just yield the same results. Don't be insane, just get out, experiment, and try something different! Plus, while you are doing it, you might just learn some new tricks.
Experimenting is my favorite way to grow and find new ideas because it allows me to really comprehend what I'm doing. Even if you think it isn't possible of capturing something uniquely; forcing yourself might just surprise you!
The best part? Being uncomfortable in your learning is the essential part of deliberate practice, which is how you can become the best at what you do! If you want to learn more about deliberate practice, I recommend that you read "Talent is Overrated" by Geoff Colvin.
Make no excuses!
Admit it! We all do it, including me sometimes. According to Dani Johnson, "an excuse is a well-planned lie." We like to make excuses for many things, and often for no reason.
It doesn't matter what excuse you're telling yourself, but it is preventing you from being inspired and getting things done. Honestly, it is just a mental battle we have and the way to defeat the enemy is to simply not give the enemy a chance by making no excuses. JUST STOP LYING TO YOURSELF AND GO DO IT, DAMMIT!
Relax and have fun!
Why did you start taking pictures in the first place? Was it for capturing fun moments? Did it seem like a fun hobby? Well at least for me, I loved the idea of capturing a moment that I could look back on, thus it was really cool and fun! Whatever your reason was, it probably brought you joy, so remember it and relax! Ultimately, just enjoy taking pictures! Challenge yourself with no excuses as you capture the beautiful details that surround you!
This list could have many more, but this will get you started to be a proactive photographer, capturing genuine landscapes, animals, architecture, people, or whatever you enjoy taking pictures of. Hopefully, this article helps you have inspirational clarity.
Remember, don't overthink it. Photography is beautiful because of its simplicity, so keep it simple! Please share this article and if you have any questions, contact me!