Feeling a little creatively flat? Ooh....we all do sometimes.
This little exercise nourishes me, fills my creative cup and as an added benefit, gives me lots of social media content to pull on for ages!
It's called a snappy...."One subject - all the lenses - all the light".
The benefit of doing regular photography exercises like this is that it helps you to develop your creative muscles so that when you are shooting something 'significant', you start pulling on all of the creative techniques that you have practiced during your 'dress rehearsal'!
I would love to see what you create, you can use the hashtag #findanewview so that I can find your creations on Instagram!
Step 1: find a subject. A person 'works' but you need time to feel free and inspired and sometimes you can be put off by the impatience of others. I find that flowers are great for this and I will regularly add some flowers into my weekly online shop so that I have them to hand for doing this exercise.
Step 2: get out all your lenses and work your way through them. Things to remember.....get close, get far away, get low, get high. If you only have one zoom lens then this is the time to experiment with different focal lengths and seeing which one you most naturally prefer.
Step 3: use all the light. Window light, ambient light, backlight, bright light, sun light, that tiny slither of light that you often spot, shadowy light, dappled light. Under expose the bright light and see what effect this has on the texture of the image. If your time is limited then choose just one light source but if you have time, or can come back to it later, choose a couple of different types of light.
Step 4: add water. Next level!!! Get a water sprayer - or just flick water over the flowers. It really adds so much interest to the texture especially if you have a macro lens to play with.
Step 5: pull out the tripod - get your camera set up on timer. Shoot you + the flowers. Nervous about being in front of the camera? Aim for faceless portraits. Hold them out, up, to the side, in the light, up to the sun. Think....all the angles, all the options. Need some 'faceless portrait' inspiration? Check out Kutovakika on Instagram.
Step 6: experiment. Using a prime lens? It's time to try freelensing and reverse freelensing. Freelensing is when you remove your lens from the front of your camera but you angle it closely so that your camera can still focus slightly on the subject. There is a great Clickin' Moms article about freelensing here. Nervous about freelensing? Try switching your lens to manual focus and blurring it instead!
Step 7: double expose those flowers! Find out if your camera has an in-camera double exposing function and have a play around with it. Normally my first image is a 'wide' image and my second is a 'close' image, but this is really personal preference.
Step 8: slow that shutter down. Intentional camera movement is a super way to add some blur to your images. This is tricky to do in super bright light because you need your shutter speed to be on around 1/8 of a second to intentionally create camera blur. (So that means, ISO down, aperture up and shutter speed.....sloooooow). There is a great ICM article from Click Magazine here.
Step 9: when your flowers are on the way out....take three quarters of them and pull all of the petals off. Roses work well for this because they have larger petals! Pop your camera onto timer and set it for taking e.g. 10 images in a row back to back. Lie it on the floor, looking up to the sky, with you throwing petals over the front of the lens. Takes a bit of trial and error but that is part of the process!
Step 10: freeze the other quarter of them in a mason jar or glass so that you can shoot through them easily. Then you have this exercise to come back to again tomorrow with a new subject!
10 more ways to push your creativity easily....
1) challenge yourself - join a photo challenge - something daily, weekly, yearly! Get yourself hooked in.
2) experiment - for example with double exposures, slow shutter, photographing from different angles
3) do a light challenge of your home (see my blog post on this here)
4) take responsibility - lead a photo project with other photographers or people you know
5) get enough sleep - sounds obvious - I like to think that my brain only dreams when I let it...which is when I give it time to!
6) journal daily - random trains of thought bring out little nuggets of inspiration
7) listen. Find a new podcast, book, meditation, music. Headspace is great for this.
8) read....and more importantly, make time to read.
9) give yourself space. You don't have space when you are in the daily grind of life and children and 'doing'.....you need to carve out time for yourself. Make it happen.
10) show up for your creativity. Whatever this means to you. Pick the camera up consciously.
If you need suggestions on how to 'do' some of these and where to start....just get in touch and reach out. I would love to chat to you and explore how I can help push your creative spirit a little further!