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Tips & Tricks

Five Ways to Get Inspired for Your Next Shot

By Will Nicholls on July 11th 2014

We all hit the proverbial photographic wall at multiple points in our career. You feel like you’ve photographed everything, and don’t know where to look next for another picture. Take a look at these top 5 tips for getting inspired, and hopefully it won’t be long until you’re clicking away again!

jumping with nut

1. Look Online

Photographers from all walks of life post their latest and greatest images online. One excellent way to get inspired is to browse through recent popular submissions to websites such as 500px and Flickr.

[REWIND: SOCIAL MEDIA FOR PHOTOGRAPHY: 5 REASONS WHY EVERY PHOTOGRAPHER SHOULD USE 500PX]

Many of us are guilty of looking at the many amazing images we find online and thinking, at some point, “I may as well give up.” Just because someone else has taken an amazing image that you feel you can’t achieve shouldn’t make you want to throw in the towel. Instead, look at the image and think That’s great, but how could I improve on it if I were to take it?”

This critical way of thinking when looking at other inspirational shots will set the ball rolling for your own photography, and cause you to think out of the box and achieve something truly unique.

Juvenile Great Skua

2. Focus on Your Hobbies

What is it that you really enjoy doing, besides photography? Sports? Music? Whatever it is, try and take a selection of differently styled images that focus on this interest. For example, if you are a musician, photograph up close details of your instrument using a macro lens. Or, you could photograph other musicians at work from obscure angles. Experiment with focus points, depth of field, and all other aspects of your camera.
You never know, you may end up with something fantastic.

3. Join a Camera Club

There are camera clubs all over the world in almost every town, and that’s no surprise considering how popular photography is nowadays. Joining a club will allow you to bounce ideas off your peers, sparking new ideas for where to go next for photography. Plus, with so many keen photographers around, you are all likely to learn from each other and improve greatly.

How-Do-You-Do

4. Take a Walk

Take a walk around a new location, whether it be a city, a park, or by a river. Make sure you have your camera out and switched on. As soon as you see something of  interest, take a photo of it. Then, take some more at different angles. Try multiple styles and play with different lighting.

Just being outside with your camera will spark interest and keep you feeling inspired and content.

5. Start a Photographic Project

First, choose a subject to photograph – for example, a leaf. Then, set yourself the task of photograph all different kinds of leaves. You could take a variety of shots through the seasons, showing the transition of the life of trees and their leaves.

Once you’re bored of leaves alone, move on to the things they relate to: branches, trees, forests. Put together a project that encompasses the entire being of your subject. Shoot every aspect of its life or situation. This is also great practice for training yourself to continually think of new ways to photograph.
Black-Headed-Gull-Splash
Most of all, don’t give up at the first hurdle. If you’re just starting out and this is your first photographic wall and you aren’t feeling very inspired, then just get out there and keep clicking. It’ll pass – it’s just like writer’s block! We all get it at some point, and ultimately we come out the other side as better photographers.
Enjoy!

About the Guest Contributor

Will Nicholls is a professional wildlife photographer from the UK. Will is also the founder of Nature TTL, a free photographic resource for nature photographers filled with tutorials, inspiration and reviews of the latest equipment.

Will Nicholls is a professional wildlife photographer and film-maker from the UK. He is the founder of Nature TTL, a nature photography blog filled with tutorials, inspirational features and kit reviews. You can download his free eBook: 10 Top Tips to INSTANTLY Improve Your Nature Photos.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Michael Moe

    thanks for the tips!

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  2. Peter-Jon Harding

    awesome tips

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  3. Brian Stalter

    I always fall back on shooting nature when I hit a wall – it’s relaxing, fun, and a great reason to go for a walk/hike at a local state park. Sometimes just getting away from the city for a bit of silence is all you need.

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  4. Ralph Hightower

    All great points. In 2012, I joined a local camera club to learn; at the time, I was in the minority because I still used film. But hey, the exposure triangle doesn’t change.
    I also had two project during 2012, one was to shoot the full moons, and the other was to photograph the sunrise on the equinoxes and solstices.. Meanwhile, I made a resolution to shoot 2012 exclusively using B&W film. Photographing the moon rise and setting was the most challenging during the winter months. I would put my camera, 80-205, and 400 in the car overnight to get it acclimated to the cold so it wouldn’t fog. Changing the filters from yellow, orange, and red, and also bracketing 1 under, 0, 1 over were challenging in the cold. A few times, I got skunked by the weather, either on the moon rise or moon set, and may delay by a day.

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  5. James Matthews

    “I may as well give up.”…I’ve said this far too many times :)
    Some good points here, thanks!

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