Find Your Photography Muse: 10 Ways to Break Out of a Creative Rut
Feeling like your work isn’t any good? Or like you are making the same photographs over and over again? It happens to the best of us. Sometimes it just takes a little spark to become a creative fire, where ideas start flowing again.
Here are 10 things I like to do when I need a creative jump start.
The pathway to creative thinking is closer than you think!
1. Try a new medium.
I realized pretty early on in my photography career that my education as a graphic designer played a major role in how I saw things through a lens. Leading lines, positive/negative space balance and composition were immediately important to me. After college I started painting, which allowed me to see color in a whole new way.
Trying out a new artistic medium could be a great way for you to see photography in a new way or to even give you a new subject. Try sculpting clay, making origami, knitting, or cooking. Pick up something you don’t know very much about.
2. Copy your favorite artist.
Want to be more like your favorite artist or photographer? Try copying their work to see what goes into the process. You might not win a lot of praise from strangers, but I bet you will learn a lot and think of ways to make it your own along the way.
3. Hang out with creative people.
Other creative people do not have to be competition. We all want to become better photographers and should help each other to do that. Finding other talented photographers and making time to hang out with them will push you creatively, give you new ideas and inspiration and will make photography more fun.
4. Step away from your computer.
If you are like me, you assume that sitting in front of a computer is the most productive use of your time. But, if we are honest with one another, much of that time is spent either staring at the screen deciding what to do next or compulsively checking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The computer is a wonderful tool, but your mind is a better one. So take a break from the computer screen and let your mind wander a bit.
Change of place + Change of pace = Change in perspective
5. Take a trip.
The pastor at my church has a saying, “Change of place + change of pace = change of perspective.” My experience proves it true. Getting out of town, even a short distance for a few hours, can help you see things differently. At home your mind can be clouded by your to-do list, social obligations or other responsibilities. Getting away helps you to see things from a distance and gives you a new perspective. Maybe your creative ideas will be a little clearer away from home.
6. Get your body moving!
Mind and body are certainly connected. Sometimes when I’m feeling like I can’t focus on a creative project any longer, a good hard workout will get me back to being creative. If nothing else, take a walk every day.
7. Start a project without an end in mind.
Fear of failure keeps many people from being creative. So much so that even when we have an idea we don’t start on it. Sometimes I just need to start on the project without knowing how it will turn out. You might surprise yourself!
8. Go to a museum.
This one may be obvious, but museums are great places for creative inspiration. Many of the best artists and photographers have their work featured in museums and galleries. Think about these people while you look at their art. Many of them are/were regular people who just happened to accomplish something great because they aimed high.
Oftentimes, my creative ruts happen because I’m thinking too much about myself. I get caught up in my problems and my desires. Volunteering with an organization that does some good in the world can help you to see beyond yourself and put you in a place that sparks creative thinking.
10. Take a walk in nature.
Nature is a creative place. It’s hard not to be inspired by the scale and the beauty of our natural environment. Take some time to get into it.
Try a Craftsy photography class! With at-home online access, whenever you want, you can learn new skills, techniques and ideas from expert photographers whenever you want!