Are you stuck in a photography rut? Have you lost the inspiration to take new photos with your iPhone? If so, you’re not alone. Even the best photographers and artists have creative blocks from time to time. In this article, Emma Beatty Howells provides 10 motivational techniques for reigniting your creative spark and pushing your iPhone photography to the next level.
With the busy lives that we lead, sometimes our photographs can start to feel formulaic and repetitive as we fight to find time to explore our photography and push our creativity further.
There are many reasons that this can happen: a demanding job, family commitments, illness, the weather or other changes to your life.
As iPhone photographers we have the variety of this world at our fingertips. The portability and power of the iPhone camera means that we constantly have the ability to take a shot. We can capture an image when it fires our imagination, or document a unique event as it happens.
The following tips and techniques will help you look at the world in a new and exciting way, creating more unique photo opportunities to help lift you out of your photography rut.
1. Look At The World As If You’ve Never Seen It Before
Being in a new place helps you see new opportunities for photographs. I’m an ex-pat Brit living in the USA, so even street signs looked exotic and photo-worthy to me when I moved here almost 4 years ago.
Now when I go back to the UK, the places there look strange, but oddly familiar. Of course, you don’t have to move abroad to see new places! Visit a city you’ve never been to before. Take a walk in new surroundings.
But you don’t even have to go somewhere new. Just imagine you’ve never been to your home town before. Try looking at it in a new light. Details that you pass everyday without a second glance can be interesting!
Take pictures of architecture and locations that are representative of your home town, flowers that you pass everyday, street signs, old factories or abandoned parking lots.
Don’t take mundane pictures though – try different angles, different times of days and close-ups of the details. Really try to infuse some personality into those shots and make them tell a story.
2. Go For A Photo Walk With A Child
Children look at the world in a very different way to us. If you have a child, give them a camera and take them for a walk.
Every time they take a picture, take one too. You’ll start to see the world through the eyes of a child, noticing details that you may not normally have paid attention to.
If your child gets bored of taking photos, pay attention to what interests them and try to capture that on your iPhone.
3. Make Friends With Other Photographers
Photographer friends can provide much-needed inspiration. It can be easier to bounce ideas around with a group of like-minded people rather than searching for inspiration by yourself.
No two people look at the world in the same way. By setting challenges, you can exchange ideas, keep motivated and gain feedback.
Walking together with a friend, taking photos and comparing them can inspire you to approach a particular subject in a new way.
4. Make Time For Photo Opportunities
Is there a particular tree, building or scene that you pass that always captures your imagination? Tap into what catches your eye, and make some time in your day to photograph it.
If you don’t make time to take photos, you’ll regret it later as the scene may change or be gone entirely. So turn the car around, or stop and take the shot when you see it.
5. Make A Top Three Challenge List
What are the three photos you would love to take a great picture of? It could be of a flower, a street, a river or a copy of a photo that has inspired you.
Really focus on the end result. Visit the location at different times of day. Research what techniques you need or what particular app would create the desired result.
When you’ve achieved the pictures you had in your mind’s eye, and you have at least one that you’re particularly proud of, frame it, enter it in a contest and show it to the world!
6. Look To The Future
Pictures of the past provide a fascinating glimpse of how people lived. When you look at pictures from the past, do you admire their quality and composition? Or are you mainly fascinated by the subject and a portrayal of a different time?
Old photos can inspire you in many ways, and they can also make you realise how important it is to create a record of our time for the future.
This photo of vehicles stuck in traffic may not look that interesting to us, but imagine someone looking at this in a hundred years time. It would evoke the same feelings that we experience when looking at old photos from a century ago.
Things change over time, and people love to look back at photos to see what life used to be like for their predecessors. So why not spend a day creating an album of typical scenes of your life, specifically for your great grandchildren to look at in the future?
7. Move Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Pull up a gallery of your most recent images and study them. Try and spot patterns in the way you shoot. Do you always take pictures of the same sort of thing? Do you always like to shoot from a particular view point?
The next time you pull out your phone to take a picture, really think how you could compose the photo differently. There are many ways you can vary your composition: use a different angle, focus on details instead of a landscape, move closer to your subject.
Challenge yourself to take pictures of things you wouldn’t normally photograph. If you always shoot landscapes, try portrait photography instead. Is macro photography your thing? Try shooting wide panoramas for a change.
Forcing yourself our your comfort zone can help you discover new ways of shooting a scene and can only inspire creativity.
8. Leave Your iPhone Behind For A Day
It sounds counter-intuitive, but not having a camera with you can be a great motivator. As you look around, imagine the scene as though you are framing a shot.
Practice composing the scene using your hands to make a square. Move around and see how you can take a different shot.
Looking at the world through your own eyes, rather than your iPhone’s viewfinder, can help you notice things that you might not normally see, giving you a fresh perspective on composition and subject matter.
9. Join An Online Photography Community
Within Instagram in particular is the #JJ community, which has thousands of inspirational photos posted to it everyday through their daily hashtag challenges.
The rules of this community mean that you have to interact with other members, so it’s an ideal way to start interacting online.
Getting comments on your photos, connecting with other photographers and joining challenges motivates you to take more unique pictures.
Capturing and sharing our experiences within a community can give purpose and provide a much needed connectivity to a wider audience in this increasingly impersonal and social media driven society.
10. Enjoy The Challenge!
Your iPhone camera is a great tool. Use it as often as you can and focus on the shots you’re taking.
Be inspired by what’s around you, and your photography rut will get shallower and easier to jump out of!
About the Author
Emma is a keen amateur photographer and blogger currently living in the USA. Originally from the UK, she took up photography seriously when she moved almost 4 years ago.