This inspiration exercise is an excellent activity because of how quickly it will allow you to think of an idea for a picture.
The premise is simple: there are four categories on a worksheet, each representing a different element in photography (wardrobe, colour, location, props). You can add or subtract from any of these categories. Other potential categories include technique, character, hair, makeup style, lens choice, or camera angle.
To complete the exercise, put four minutes on a timer and begin filling out each category. Take roughly one minute per category to write down every single word that pops into your mind relating to the heading. There are no limitations to what you write. It could be completely nonsensical, like writing down ‘the moon’ for a location, but that’s the beauty of the exercise. You write down what’s in your mind, and instantly you’re able to see where your mind is on that particular day. Once you have a list of words in each category and your four minutes are up, take a final minute to choose one word from each category. Simply choose the word you’re most drawn to, however it relates to the others. Once you have four words circled, try to put them all into a single photographic idea, and write it in the centre.
The plausibility of the words you wrote down is irrelevant, and that is because the words do not have to be taken literally. For example, if you wrote down ‘the moon,’ you might choose to be inspired by different elements of the moon, rather than actually trying to do a photo shoot on the moon. Perhaps you could find a rocky area to shoot in, or you could find a big crater or hole in the ground. Maybe the texture inspires you to create a dress, or weightless-ness on the moon inspires a new technique. Whatever words you write down, be open to their different meanings and run with it. It allows the artist to see what is in his or her mind and to begin creating based on what he or she wants to photograph the most, rather than being restrained by something else.
Inspiration is not a far-flung concept, out of reach to all but a few great artists, and nor is it a matter of chance; as a photographer it’s possible to train your mind to see the creative possibilities in any situation. Featuring the pioneering work of author Brooke Shaden and a selection of carefully chosen contributing photographers, Inspiration in Photography book provides the perfect balance of insight and instruction to help you find inspiration whenever you need it and capitalise on it every time.