From time to time we all get stuck and lack motivation, right? So here are five fun and inspirational photography ideas that will hopefully get you off the couch and out doing some photography!
5 Inspirational photography ideas
Here is a quick list of the five ideas. Keep reading to look at each one in more detail.
- Look DOWN
- Use a fast shutter speed (freeze some stuff)
- Make a high key photograph
- Try your hand at some night photography
- Get a lensball
#1 – Look DOWN
How often do you use a different perspective or camera angle when you’re out shooting? If you usually shoot from eye level, take on this challenge and try looking down.
That means literally aiming your camera down at things on the ground, but it also means getting yourself down low too. See what is under the flower you’re photographing, look for small things.
As well, consider getting up high for a different viewpoint. Climb a ladder or step stool, or get to the top of a parkade or skyscraper and point your lens directly down.
Changing your perspective in a literal way like this can help you also shift it subconscious ways too. If you want to develop an eagle eye this is one thing that will help you flex those muscles.
To see things others miss, you have to look at the world differently. Try it and see.
#2 – Use a fast shutter speed
Long exposures and slow shutter speeds are often used in photography for specific effects. So, now it’s time to do the opposite and speed things up!
For this, you’ll need to find some moving subjects. Then, set your camera to a fast shutter speed and try to freeze them.
Set your camera as follows:
- Set it to Auto ISO (max 6400 if your camera allows you to set the parameters)
- Use Shutter Priority mode
- Select a fast shutter speed like 1/1000th for example (adjust as needed – faster for high-speed subjects, slower for less speedy subjects)
- Set your focus points to zone or multiple (single point focus will be difficult to use on a moving subject)
- Set your drive mode to high speed (take several shots in rapid-fire when you press the shutter button)
- You may also want to use tracking focus (AF-C or Servo focus mode)
Make note that I mentioned a starting point of 1/1000th, but sometimes you may need to adjust it faster. See the examples below for the shutter speed used and the resulting image.
In the image above, the bird’s body is sharp but his wings and feet aren’t. I like this look because it still leaves a sense of motion. But if you want to freeze a whole bird in flight, you may need to use a faster shutter speed like 1/1000th or even 1/2000th.
For this image, 1/800th wasn’t fast enough either and his head and body aren’t even sharp. You can see the focus on the rock is spot on so the shutter speed here was the issue. I should have taken my own advice and increased it!
Finally, I got it right with the image of the seagull above. 1/1000th did the trick here, but again please remember to adjust as needed based on the speed of the subject.
Read these articles for more help with camera settings:
- How to Get Sharper Photos – 6 Essential Settings You Need to Know
- How to Blur Photos or Freeze Motion Using Shutter Speed
Once your camera is all set, head off to find some moving targets! Using a fast shutter speed will freeze the movement of the subject. Here are some ideas for possible subjects:
- Sports photography
- Birds in flight (tricky subject to photograph but give it a go)
- Cars and traffic
- Moving water like a fountain, stream, or waterfall (instead of making it soft and blurry, freeze the water droplets in midair)
Like the first idea above, this one is about trying different things than you usually do and just experimenting. So have fun with it.
#3 – High-key photography
If you’ve never heard of this term before, a high-key photograph is one that has the following qualities:
- It’s often light-toned or contains lots of white
- The image is usually low contrast with soft shadows
- It has soft lighting
- The subject itself is usually white or dressed in light colors
- The background is also light or white
- The image has very few dark tones or black
Are you getting the idea? High-key is usually light and airy with a softness about it. This is directly opposite to low-key photography which is usually dark, contrasty, and moody.
So your goal here is to find a light-toned subject, put it on a light or bright background, and make a high-key photograph. I had to look really hard to find some examples for you – this is obviously a challenge I need to do because apparently, I do not have a lot of high-key images.
Processing comes into play here too, and you can actually add a light-edged vignette to further enhance the look. I demonstrated that in the video below.
#4 – Try some night photography
Night photography is a lot of fun and is one of my favorite things to do. Using your camera at night allows you to capture a world that can’t be seen with the naked eye.
This one is kind of the opposite of idea #2 above because you’ll likely need to use some long exposures.
Here are some ideas for what you can photograph at night and links to some articles to help you with settings for night photography:
- Car trails
- City lights or cityscapes
- The Milky Way
- Starry nights
- Star trails and star stacking
- Light painting (works best at night because you need darkness)
Read more and get tips for night photography here:
- Guide to Photographing Light Trails at Night
- Night Photography Settings – Guide to Getting the Best Exposure
- Night Photography Quick Tip – Adding Light
- How to do Stunning Milky Way Photography
- How to Photograph Star Trails and the Milky Way
- How to Shoot Star Trails and Sample Images for You to Practice Stacking
- Light Painting Experiments to Improve Your Photography
- Three Special Effects for Night Photography
#5 – Get a lensball
If you’re wondering what the heck is a lensball, it’s just what it sounds like – a glass sphere through which you can photograph. It’s not something you may do a lot, but it sure is fun to play around with and experiment.
Here are some tips on lensball photography to help you:
- What is Lensball Photography and How to Get Started
- How to Transform Your Images Using a Lensball
- Tips for Doing Indoor Lensball Photography
Now it’s time to get up off the couch (or sofa or whatever you call that thing under your butt!), charge your batteries, grab your camera, and get out there!
If that wasn’t enough ideas for you and you want a few more, I’ve made lists like this before. You can find them here:
- 5 Ways to Get Unstuck When You’re in a Photography Rut
- 5 Photography Ideas for When There’s Nothing Interesting to Shoot
So, I hope that this has given you some ideas of what to photograph if you’re stuck, bored, or just in a rut. Try something new from this list and see how it goes.
Share some of your images in the comment area below. I’d love to see them.