September 5, 2022
Finding creativity as a photographer might seem incredibly easy, right? Just photograph the subject in front of you. I used to think this until I actually became a photographer. I got bored really fast. The feeling was looming over me that I was doing the same poses, the same type of people, and the same locations. Many marketing experts told me this was necessary in order to build a brand. But I felt like I wasn’t sparking anything fresh or new. I wanted exciting, eye-catching ideas that also felt consistent with my messaging and branding. Could I do both? If you want my (not so) secret strategies on finding my creativity as a photographer, keep reading.
Following these tactics allowed for me to fill out my first set of paid mini sessions, book a destination wedding in Maui in my first year as a full time photographer, and photograph amazing influencers and brands like Happy Golden Paws, Taste of India, Callie Danielle, and Tails Up Pup.
The thing about creativity, for me anyway, is it comes and goes in waves. I’ll jot down 50 ideas and get going and feel so excited. Half won’t work, 2 will come to fruition, and the rest I won’t have time to follow through. I think this is completely normal and I wish I would have understood it sooner. We all experience creative burnout. I think any type of artist can relate to this. You might be experiencing burnout if you find yourself saying.. “I’m just not coming up with anything new.” or “Dang.. I wish my photos looked like that.”
When I started photographing, I would scour Pinterest for HOURS looking through other photographers work. I felt immense pressure to choose a style between light and airy or dark and moody. And honestly neither of them were speaking to me. I LOVE color! I wanted to incorporate color in my shoots. But all of the style guides I read were saying “neutrals only” and to play it safe.
The first coach I worked with that truly lead me down a path of finding my true creativity asked me what inspired me? I thought she was talking about success. I was confused. She said “No, no no! What colors inspire you? What are you most excited to photograph? When you were a kid what do you remember most about your childhood?”
Wow. I hadn’t really thought about that. When I think about what really gets me moving as a photographer I think of my Mom. Her hair blowing in the wind as she smiles at me chasing the seagulls. Kids running around laughing, the colors on Easter Sunday as I’m dressed in head to toe Lily Pulitzer. Bright, bold colors, and most of all movement stands out to me. Ok. There I have it. I would recommend any photographer ask yourself the same questions. And yet, I still find myself hitting burnout so often. So what do I do when I find myself in this situation?
Woah, Jordan. I’m a Mom. I’m an aspiring photographer sinking all of my funds into gear, I’m not going to hop on a plane just to get my creativity flowing. I can hear you. But you don’t need to travel across the world, I promise. Some of my best ideas have come to me when I drive an hour or two outside of my hometown to 30A. Or, when I walk the pier on Pensacola Beach. Just get out of your home, get out of your head, and get off the phone. If you can afford it, sure. Take a road trip or a trip with the girls.
The key for me is, go somewhere that relaxes you and allows you to clear your head. Hint: It’s NOT Disney World in August with your kids. Kidding. (Not really). If you need a vacation from your vacation, it’s probably not best for your open mind. I’ll let you do all the googling and vacation searching from here.
Catching up with friends I’ve been meaning to see forever always fills my cup. So often I say “let’s hang out” or “let’s grab coffee” but we all know it takes more effort than that. Ask your friends when they’re open this week. Go into their home and bring your new Mom friend a coffee. Take a drive and sit on the beach together. Talk about what books you’re reading.
I’m incredibly lucky my friends are so good about making plans and sticking to them. In all honesty, we went on a girls trip to the Dominican this past summer. I wasn’t thrilled about dropping a lot of money or skipping a week of business. But by the end, I really didn’t want to leave and I came back rested and grateful. Text your friends for a meetup. It might bring you more joy and creative energy than you think.
Like me, many photographers use a workflow or posing guide to help them out when photographing. This is amazing as a baseline and to help you if you’re drawing a blank. But, it does leave out room for creativity. Having my camera ready to shoot the moment your subjects get out of the car is crucial. What creative element can you bring into your session? Maybe Mom has a flowy dress on that twirls beautifully in the sun. Did the kiddos run straight toward the wildflower patch? Are one of the kiddos laughing uncontrollably or just wanting to play? Let it happen. Allow yourself to surrender to the process of the moment instead of pushing them into poses immediately. Trust me, I’m a control freak. But seeing people move naturally and fall into their normal elements has been wonderful for my photoshoots.
Pro Tip: don’t be afraid to ask them to do it again in order to get your shot.
All in all, finding out what inspires you, getting outside in nature, and spending time with those who fill your cup will help tremendously. So, take some time to step away from the project and get your creative juices flowing today. If you’re looking for more photo tips, you can subscribe by clicking this link and signing up for my newsletter. There’s also a freebie!
Wanna geek out over creativity? I’m all ears and would love to connect with you as a photographer.
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A lifestyle photographer in the Florida panhandle.