Fresh out of ideas? Your creative meter stuck on zero? Got spring fever (idea) blahs? I recommend reading Hugh MacLeod‘s advice. You can scan the points or dig deeper for more detail. It’s rather long but hey, if you are stranded in a morass of boredom with your creative brain flat lining, what else do you have to do?
Although it’s doubtful that reading anything can change the DNA of a dullard into a wildly creative visionary, a wimp can become a muscled hunk with daily workouts. So if you have a creative spark at all (and if not stop reading this), sometimes all you have to do to fan that spark into a brightly burning flame is to change your point of view. Or if not a forest fire of ideas, at least small fires of an interesting nature. (That paragraph left me with a burning desire to drop all metaphors for good).
There are mental points of view that can kill ideas such as: everyone will think its a stupid idea; I’ll look like a dumb a#s and the worst: it won’t sell! Instead of examining your self esteem, try pointing your camera in a different direction: Change your visual point of view to get a creative kick in the pants.
Sometimes all you need to do is change your perspective. Or as they call it in the movie biz: POV (point of view). Get down on the ground level; get to the top floor and shoot up or down. Your position relative to the subject of your image has a huge influence on the impact of the final picture. All too often we fall into the trap of framing an image straight ahead. “Oh that’s a cool shot” Snap Snap” on to the next.
Break out of old habits. Look around: where could you place the camera to capture a unique angle? Access to high floors? Go for it and shoot down into the interiors of hotels and other open spaces in homes and public buildings. (But you care that you aren’t violating privacy or restrictions against photography).
Look at the world not just from a bird’s eye view but an ant’s. This may sound silly but as a campaign for beef a couple of years ago shows, the results can be surprising or creepy depending upon your POV.
Create images where small looks large and something tiny appears to dominate the image. You are after uniqueness and surprise. Shooting from an unusual perspective can add mystery to your images. Listen to the creator of LOST, J.J. Abrams, in a TED talk explain the mystery of mystery and how it adds intrigue and interest to most creative pursuits
Patterns emerge when you approach a view from a new perspective. Once objects are reduced to grids or mathematical shapes, illusions are created that catch the viewer by surprise and capture his/her attention for a moment longer than a casual look-see. Reality becomes abstract and intriguing.
The next time you take out your camera, shoot the image you have in mind and then get down on the ground or up on a ladder or shoot from a high advantage point as well as the straight shot. You may surprise yourself with the results.
Images that demonstrate a POV that departs from the expected don’t sell as well as the predictable but remember always shooting for the market can make Jack and Jill a dull boy and girl with a boring portfolio.