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5 Tips To Boost Your Creative Flow

By Michelle Bird on August 26th 2014

It happens to all of us, at times, the river of creativity may run dry, or perhaps you’re looking for a new approach with your photography, taking it to new heights. Whatever the reason may be, you always have to fuel and recharge the main source, that current of creativity that flows within. That is what is going to set your photography apart from everybody else, it is the root that defines your unique style. Here are a few personal tips that I like to practice in order to avoid that drought if at all possible.

1. Hit The Road, Jack

Fuel your car, grab your camera, leave all social media behind and hit the road. Choose a destination and don’t look back. Explore somewhere new, get away, clear your head and disconnect, silence and isolation are actually good for you. The best ideas come when you listen to the sound of silence, silence does speak its own language to those who listen.

2. Surround Yourself With The Creative

You are who you surround yourself with, it’s the truth plain and simple. Bring the energy of creative people around you, contribute back, collaborate together, exchange ideas. Where do you find these creatives? Go to art walks, industry events, open mics, coffee shops, Instameets (if you haven’t been to one, you need to experience it first-hand, you’ll meet extremely genuine and passionate people there– check your local Instagram communities to see if they’re hosting one in your area).

3. Make An Inspiration Board

As photographers, we are already visual people, so why not expand that a bit further? Whether it’s a bulletin board or on Pinterest, gather images that inspire you, sort through magazines, old books, study them and have them visually present. You might discover a new perspective, a theme, the smallest detail just might give you that “a-ha!” moment you’ve been waiting for. Maybe even start gathering images for your next photoshoot, a vision of a vision, with colors, props, scenery you want to incorporate.

4. Stop Thinking, Start Doing

Maybe you compare your work to others. Sometimes fear and doubt can sink in and take the best out of you, let that go and concentrate on the project at hand. Be in the moment, stop second-guessing yourself, trust your craft, trust your talent, trust that every day you’re doing something to get closer to your goal. Once you let go of that fear, and have trust instead, you’ll be more attune with your creative force.

5. Read. Write. Create

Inspiration has to find you working, it’s not just going to magically appear. Read more books about photography, eBooks, blogs, listen to podcasts while you’re at it. Write what you see, what you read about, observe people’s emotions and write about that, wake up in the morning and just start writing even if it doesn’t make sense at the moment, that in itself gets your mind working. Set a goal and create something every week, maybe it’s a new set-up for your camera, a photobooth, try out a new lighting technique, create something– that something will trigger something else, and create a domino effect.

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Those are a few of my tips, what are yours? What do you do to fuel your creativity? Share it in the comments below!

Michelle Bird is a Southern California based freelance photographer and writer, with a strong focus on music, editorial and portrait photography. She is the founder and creative force behind the music+culture online blog Black Vinyl Magazine, and can often be found in the photo-pit shooting the latest concerts in town. She has a strong passion for art, exploring, vintage finds and most of all animals. Connect with her through Email,
Instagram , or Facebook

12 Comments

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  1. Jesse Rinka

    I agree very much with a lot of what’s written here. I personally decided yesterday to take off the rest of August and the entire month of September from Social Media such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I’ve deleted the apps from my phone and refuse to visit the sites themselves until at least October 1st. I’ve also decided to start reading more books on the business side of photography as I continue to plan for an eventual lifestyle change. The stresses that come with working for someone else at a job that I am not happy with aren’t doing much for my general health. Time for change! Great article.

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    • Michelle Bird

      Glad to hear that Jesse! Good luck on this journey, it seems like you’re on the right track.

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  2. Wendell Fernandes

    Exactly right in our path to success!

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  3. Eric Sharpe

    This is exactly where I am in my journey.

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  4. Rafael Steffen

    Thanks so much Michelle for giving us a light at the end of the tunnel for those days where creativity has run out. Hit the road is a good idea to shoot in diferente places that I have not shot before.

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  5. Austin Swenson

    I really need to take the “stop thinking, start doing” part… I need to go out and just start shooting me some good photos and start editing them and making more content, even if it sucks… I go too long without shooting sometimes.

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    • Michelle Bird

      You know Austin, there’s a quote that says: “You can tell where you’re going, by what you are doing.” I have that quote visually present so I can look at it every day; and it’s true! Things won’t move forward unless you move to make them happen. You don’t suck my friend, it’s just a matter of pushing yourself to keep practicing your craft, that’s all. :)

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  6. Nick DiGiallonardo

    These are great tips! Going out and exploring the world unplugged from everything but my camera is a great way to truly relax and open the door for new ideas. I’ll have to try the inspiration board and the writing as well.

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    • Michelle Bird

      Great Nick! I agree, when you’re at your own pace, going wherever the world takes you. Most moments of inspiration and creativity come like that, I think my favorite shots have come out of those moments, like the one above. Good luck on your board and writing, I’m sure something great will start brewing!

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  7. Raoni Franco

    Wow that photo is nice, I really like it. The colors, the fog, the gesture of the subject. the giant tree/root…….for a second I thought she was on top of a tree, like, very high, far from the ground. She´s on a cliff or something? Because the trees in front of her seem to be down below, in some kind of a valley…….anyway…..awesome shot.

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    • Michelle Bird

      Thanks Raoni! I took that on a recent trip up north, when the fog had perfectly settled in. The tree is right at the edge of a cliff, and had toppled over some time ago. It was one of those moments where you take a step back and think about how you can make this shot different from the rest, how you can make the viewer feel instead of just see. That’s another creativity tip right there, haha, “have patience and take a step-back.” But yes, I like that the branches seem to be reaching out to kind of grab you and pull you in.

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