Kickstart that Creativity

In a rut?  Got writer’s block or photo funk?  Here’s some great ways to kickstart those creative juices!  This is actually part of a larger work I am putting together, called 101 Sources of Inspiration.  Here’s the first 25 I’ve put together:

Inspired Photography:

25 sources of inspiration


As we all endeavor to find new ways to express ourselves creatively, we can often find ourselves in search of inspiration to give purpose and definition to our expression.  Here are a number of sources that can inspire.  Some are traditional, while others are hopefully new venues to spark those creative juices.


  1. Tour a museum
  2. Look at others works.  The internet is rife with photo blogs, galleries, and imagery that can awe and inspire.
  3. Listen to music – of all types!
  4. The dictionary – open to any random page, find the 1st noun (or verb, or adjective, whatever) and try to capture a picture that encompasses the essence of that word.
  5. Take any object you see every day and turn it upside down, backwards or sideways.  Use it in that position for a day or two (unless it’s a drinking glass!)  Your brain will be forced to think differently.
  6. Read!  Whether it’s a magazine, book, recipe, or anything, it doesn’t matter.  Go to the local bookstore and pick up something you’ve never read before and open to the first page that catches your eye.  Inspiration can often come from such places.
  7. Pick a letter of the alphabet and try to find that in objects around you (buttons on the phone don’t count!).
  8. Draw!  It doesn’t have to be structured with paints or anything – use a crayon, pen, pencil, whatever you have handy.  Just start doodling and a direction or theme will come to you eventually.
  9. Close your eyes.  Count your breaths.  If you don’t fall asleep you will start to hear things you didn’t hear before, or sense things you were otherwise unaware of.  Pick any one of them and try to define it in one word.  Now take that word and express it with your camera!
  10.  Donate some time to a worthy cause.  Pick a cause, whether it’s the United Way, March of Dimes, your church, or some other local venue.  Participating in such a way has its own rewards and often can be an excellent source of inspiration.  The Big Brother/Big Sister program is also a great one!
  11.  Buy a compact (you can get these at a discount in places like dollar stores, yard sales, and flea markets.) and use that mirror to look at things.  Looking at the reflection of something can often open your mind to new possibilities. 
  12. Take a walk in a new area.  Whether it’s a forest road, a new street, or whatever – new scenes can often inspire.
  13. Visit a place you frequent during an unusual time.  (For example, if you get a coffee at Dunkin Doughnuts every morning – try stopping in at night.)
  14. Change your desktop to a neutral gray – your eye will start wandering away from the bland to find color or something of interest elsewhere.
  15. Plant something.  The act of planting gets you doing something to help the environment, and gets your hands doing something different. 
  16. Join a photo club.
  17. Sing the first line of the first song that comes to mind – out loud!  Take the third word and find a way to capture that word in camera.
  18. Go to the hardware store and stroll the aisles looking at the products.  If something catches your eye, go with it.  If nothing does, buy a box of something, anything.  Whether it’s nails, screws, washers, grommets, o-rings, or whatever happens to be in the next closest aisle.  Take it home and dump the contents on a table.  Take a picture of it.  Now start arranging the objects.  Take a picture of that.  Keep re-arranging, and taking pictures.  Look down at the objects.  Look up at them (if you can).  Put them on their side, upside down or any which way works.  Try balancing one on top of another.  You’d be surprised where this takes you!
  19. Open an old photo album and look through some of your past work.  Pick a number and say you’ll make it your next project to re-create that scene.
  20. Spell the longest word you can think of.  Now try to find a way to capture the essence of that concept on film! (Anti-disestablishmentarianism doesn’t count!)
  21. Dance to the next song you hear on the radio (or your iPod)!  What do your feet do?  Take a picture of your feet!
  22. Make a trip to the local animal shelter.
  23. Take a self-portrait.  It doesn’t have to be your face – try just your hands, feet, or knees.
  24. Organize a photo-walk.  Put an ad on Craigslist or your local paper and make it open to all.  You’d be surprised the amount of people that show up who have ideas of their own to share that can really jump-start your creativity.
  25. Go to a playground and play on the swings, merry-go-round, or see-saw.  Act goofy!  Changing your mindset and environment to that of a kid can open up creative avenues that have been closed for a while.

Got another way to inspire or encourage creativity?  Sound off in the comments…meanwhile, happy shooting, watch those apertures, and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow!

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