Finding Inspiration in Photography

Storytelling: Finding Inspiration in Photography

From time to time every photographer feels the need to photograph new subjects. Finding inspiration is a daily job in any creative field. Besides, some themes are so used that it’s really hard to find new perspectives and creative approaches.

There are some popular techniques to help you find inspiration. Some photographers recommend spending time outdoors, traveling, going to events, studying art, or going to museums. Don’t expect to have immediate results though. These techniques might work for others but not for you. You might find inspiration cooking, dancing, or reading poetry. Inspiration is something rather personal.

But there is one technique that works for everybody: storytelling. Imagine a story you want to tell or find a real story that wins your heart. The secret is to engage deeply with your subject. Follow these steps to find inspiration through storytelling:

Listen to other people stories

You might hear funny stories or dramatic ones from your friends and family. Your next door neighbor or the people for the local cafe might have amazing stories to tell. Identify the subject and build your own story around it. For example, you can use funny stories for couple photo sessions or you can use dramatic situations to change the mood of portraits. Another good example is to hear about small and picturesque places near-by. A local fair, a small village, or a craftsman’s workshop can become your source of inspiration.

Choose characters

If you like to photograph people, you need characters. Look around you. Street artists, tourists, shoppers, or regular people can be the characters of your next story. Put them in context and practice doing a series of photos dedicated to the same subject.

Decide what message you want to convey

Storytelling needs preparations. You have to think about many things before actually taking the pictures. The message will require a certain atmosphere, gear, and post-processing. You can practice building atmosphere by doing still-life photos. Pick common objects and use them as characters. Start with a funny story and change the mood until it comes natural to you.

Rely on architecture

Buildings have many stories to tell. Their architecture is a history lesson. Besides, their life changes during a day. They look and feel different in the morning glory and in the busy evenings. Houses have a life of their own. Some are new and shiny, some are old and shriveled, but all have fascinated details that can inspire you.

Return to nature

When you lack inspiration nature is your best friend. It’s always changing and transforming, delivering amazing subjects. Moreover, people change when they are in the middle of the nature. You’ll find them smiling at the sun, caressing flowers, feeling overwhelmed and impressed. Nature gives you emotions. Don’t avoid bad weather, remote places, or early hours.

To find inspiration through storytelling you need a series of images covering the same subject. A thematic project teaches you how to build a story, what features are important, and how to balance compositions. You’ll need wide frames and close-ups. You’ll need to set up location and narrative. In a series of photographs you need to decide which image will be first and which will be last. These are the images that most likely will catch the viewer’s attention.

Sometimes it helps to put your thoughts on paper to see if your story is cohesive. All this work will give you many ideas and will help you stay focused.

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