You don’t have to wait for the turn of a new year to start a new habit. Each day can be a new beginning. A hobby like photography also needs the discipline of a habit, and you can give it an extra motivational push with the help of the Web. You shouldn’t let your camera collect dust – think differently and inspiring photography ideas will come to you. If all fails, the Web and the number of popular photography blogs offer a constant stream of ideas.
So, are you stuck in a rut? Is your camera cocooned snugly in its bag and not doing anything else? Don’t let the battery of your passionate hobby die out. Here are some easy ways to get started with a photography habit today.
Photography Inspiration Every Day
My friend Bakari makes a case for using a 365-Day photography project to throw off the dust on your camera. You can do smaller projects like the 52 Weeks Project. The idea behind both is to put you in a constant state of inspiration so that it becomes a habit. Inspiration is everywhere. The advice is to be prepared to capture it in a frame when it flits by. Go to new places, meet new people (try Flickr’s 100 Strangers Group). Look at billboards and print ads with a critical eye, appreciate wall graffiti…there’s inspiration everywhere. Also, don’t forget to capture your ideas on paper or on digital tools like Evernote.
Look At Photography
The world has gone hog wild with photographs. There’s no dearth of places to look. From amazingly creative Flickr Groups to photography learning websites. Look at some of the best photographs and use a tool like Pinterest to collate your own image boards around your interests. It could be photos around specific styles or it can be simply educational, like an image board on photography infographics.
Yes, it could trap you into just admiring the works of others…but then it could also push you to take your camera and do some shooting of your own.
Don’t Look At Photography
Study other art forms. Photography like any other has a lot to do with developing a creative eye. And I believe it can be learnt and also transferred from one art form to another. Noticing form, texture, pattern, and style is as common to photography as it is to something like painting…or instead of brandishing a brush, you can just stand back and admire a beautiful painting in a museum. The Web has made other art forms easily accessible. You could spend an evening with Google’s Art Project which is a virtual museum bringing together some of the rarest of artifacts from the renowned collections around the world.
Look At Everyday Things
When the bustle of life traps you, it could be difficult to find time to take to the hobby. But then if you have a few minutes at hand, there are things you can snap around the house. Pick up common things and challenge yourself to shoot with different point of views. You can also try shooting them with different apertures, play with light, or shoot in the dark. You can take to Google Image Search or large pools like Flickr and search for similar images to learn from. Use simple keywords for the common household items (as the screenshot above shows).
Shoot Around a Single Theme
Habits should be kept simple. The ideal way to uncomplicate your photography is to limit yourself to a single theme for your photographs. It could be a single color, a single object, the routinely changing sky, sunsets, sunrises, or just about anything else like shoes. Again, you can turn to online communities like Flickr and Instagram. For instance, you can find Flickr groups and pools around everyday objects like fire hydrants, umbrellas, shoes, road signs, and anything else you can think of. Instagram also makes itself easily searchable with the help of hashtags and you can be sure that your wildest single-theme idea has already found a place here.
Another way to push the habit is to set up photo scavenger hunts. Similar to other kinds of scavenger hunts, you get a list of things to shoot within a time frame.
Shoot For a Photo Challenge
Photography contests and photo challenges give you an added incentive to push forward with the photography habit — the recognition of a peer group or just the fun of participating. Here are some you can jump into today and really stretch your skills.
- DP Challenge
- Photo Friday
- Digital Photograph Review Challenge
- Gizmodo Shooting Challenge
- Reddit Photo Challenge
- The Mindful Eye
Do a Selfie
Take a look at yourself. Self-portraits can be creatively challenging and also help you maintain the photography habit when you are at a loss for photography subjects, and an equal one for inspiration. These unique self-portrait projects on the Web show how far ideas can be stretched even when limited to the self.
Clear the Clutter
We are all digital hoarders. Files, videos, music, and photos – all find a home on cheap terabytes available today. Productivity is closely allied to how organized you are. Clutter defeats creativity. Getting into a photography habit could also involve deleting your old photos. Go through your collection and hit delete on the ones which aren’t creatively satisfying or are near duplicates. I have often found that creating space by removing the old often opens up the mind for new and improved photos. It also takes you back to the time and place when you clicked some inspired snaps.
But the best way to get started with a photography habit? Get off the Internet! Seriously. Take out your camera and just go and click. You will surely be reminded why you took up the hobby in the first place. The smartphone helps us take our “camera” everywhere, so building a photography habit isn’t handicapped by weightier excuses anymore.
What’s your excuse for letting the photography habit fall into the rut? What tips would you give to beginner photographers to get into the groove?
Image Credit: A collage of Tallinn landscape photos in a pile