In the Spring and Summer we have nice weather, lots of daylight, and vivid colors everywhere. However, just because we have the conditions for photography doesn’t mean we’re always going to have ideas.

I often find that whenever I have a beautiful day and plenty of free time, I can’t think of anything to shoot. Especially if I’m confined to the same old locations in my area. I’m around photographers all day. It happens to all of them from time to time regardless of skill level. It’s not that our surroundings have suddenly become boring but that our perception becomes a little dull. It’s a phase that’s totally normal. I’m going to cover some techniques and ideas this month you can try in case this ever happens to you. Sometimes it helps to go out with a simple goal. By limiting yourself to one task your brain may start to see things differently and your creativity may begin to flow.

Forget about daylight and try seeing your world at night. Your surroundings look completely different after the sun goes down. Locations that may have been interesting in daylight disappear and places you never gave a second thought to magically take their place. This alone can spark creativity. Try looking for pockets of available light. Perhaps there’s an old gas station or motel sitting in the middle of nowhere? These types of places are excellent because their isolation puts an emphasis on the light they provide. If there’s a little fog, too, you’ve really got something. Neon signs also make for an interesting photo, especially vintage ones. You can scout out these signs during the day and then hit a few in the same night when they’re turned on.

Here’s another great idea for night photography. Take a drive or walk around town and keep your eyes open for the light provided solely by street lamps. You may find they’re illuminating something interesting. It could be something weird thrown out in the trash or maybe the street lamps are beaming down on a classic car. If you shoot wide enough to include the street lamp and the subject in the shot it can have a cinematic effect. I’m partial to black and white for this type of image. Keep in mind when shooting at night a tripod and a flashlight can come in handy.

What about going out and forcing yourself to photograph from a different perspective? Pick a location and tell yourself you can only take photographs from a low angle. What I mean by this is; you can only take the picture from a squatting, sitting, or lying position. You will quickly begin seeing things in a new way and taking exciting photos. Dogs are now at eye level, blades of grass are in the foreground, and peoples feet are coming right towards your lens. If you’re in a public place don’t worry about what people think of you. From my experience most people are delighted to see someone being creative in their town. Especially on weekends and during events. Just be respectful and obviously don’t invade anyone’s personal space. You certainly don’t have to be in a public area to practice low angles. There’s interesting photos to be had in your home, the backyard, or even out in the wilderness.

There’s another universe right in front of you when you get in close with a macro lens. A macro lens is a lens that focuses much closer than a normal lens. If you don’t want to dive into making a new purchase try renting one for a weekend. A lens like this creates endless opportunities. You can go to a meadow and photograph insects. You’ll pick up all the little details and colors that can’t be seen with the naked eye. When photographing flowers and leaves you’ll capture every droplet of dew. You might even be able to pick up the reflections in the dew itself. You’re not just limited to nature with macro photography. Almost everything becomes interesting at this distance. The textures of clothing, the rust on old tools, even common items around the house like cooking utensils can all make good subject matter.

The point is to switch it up a little when you feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over again. I’m not going to lie. Traveling to an exotic location can definitely fuel inspiration but travel isn’t always feasible. By seeing things differently you can make the same route you take to work every day seem exotic too. If any of the photography I mentioned interests you but seems above your skill level we offer classes at New York Camera, and Video. Furthering education is another excellent way to give your creativity a boost. I hope you have a great Summer and take lots of fantastic pictures whether you’re at home or on a tropical island.

Kenneth Taylor | kenversation@gmail.com

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