dawn m. wayand

11 Ways to Overcome Creative Blocks in Your Photography

11 Ways to Overcome Creative Blocks in Your Photography

Many artists sometimes face a lull in their production of new works or continuation of existing works due to a “creative block”. They often will find it difficult to conjure up an idea to work on a new piece or to even finish a piece they’ve already started. Photographers are not immune to the dilemma of a creative block either. You may oftentimes feel like you have photographed everything or you’re just not motivated to even pick up your camera because you feel like you’re out of ideas on what to shoot.

Trying a new perspective.

 

It can feel like the end of the world (or at the very least, your art career) when this occurs, but alas, there is hope! Below are ten tips that have worked for me in the past – both, as an artist and as photographer – to help overcome a creative block and to help get you back on track to create more new and extraordinary images.

 

  1. Assign Yourself a Photo Project. There are numerous books as well as articles on the web that are devoted to daily, weekly and monthly photography project ideas for photographers to aid them in getting their creative juices flowing again.

A few photo project books that have gotten me through some creative blocks.

 

Some examples might be:

 

  • Shooting a monochromatic theme for one week straight. This helps you to become more aware of your surroundings by looking for things that are one specific color.

 

  • Taking a photo walk and shooting with only one prime lens (a 50mm is a good example). This also helps you learn to zoom with your feet and experiment with different angles to capture a subject.

 

  • Shooting one self-portrait a day. Each self-portrait has to be different, which forces you to dig into the deep crevices of your mind to come up with a new way to shoot a portrait of yourself every day for a week, month or even a year.

 

  1. Shooting the Same Subject 100 Different Ways. Lock yourself in a room for an hour or two and assign yourself an object in the room to shoot 100 different ways. You do not necessarily have to restrict yourself to just a room, so long as you do restrict yourself to one object.

Just 5 ways I shot the same subject in a 10 minute period.

 

  1. Photograph Something Previously Captured From a New Perspective. You may feel like you already captured a great image of an object or place, but a good exercise to get the juices flowing again is to photograph something you photographed previously, but from a completely different perspective.

The Colosseum in Rome the traditional way (left) and captured from a different perspective (right).

 

Monet spent much of his life painting the Notre Dame over and over, at different times of the day, with different lighting circumstances and from different perspectives.

The Atomium photographed the typical way (left) and at a different perspective (right).

 

Photographing an object or scene in the same manner can be just as therapeutic and  rewarding and might just be what you need to get through a creative block.

 

  1. Shoot Anything. Take a photo walk and shoot anything, even if it doesn’t interest you. You don’t even need to leave the house, if you choose. Shoot random things around your home. As long as you are shooting something, you are getting your juices flowing and this is a great first step on the road to recovery.

Shoot anything, whether it does or doesn’t interest you.

 

  1. Experiment with new media. Try drawing or painting one of your photographs. I very often will take my charcoal pencils out and draw one of my photographs.

My photograph of the pelican on the pier (left) and my drawing from that photograph (right).

 

Even if you feel like you can’t draw, attempting to draw or paint a still object or scene from a photograph is a great way to try to beat a creative block.

My photograph of a scene in Eze, France (left) and my drawing from that photograph (right).

 

Flirting with other art mediums can not only assist in getting the creative juices flowing again, but you may find you like practicing in a new type of art!

 

  1. Study the Great Masters and Try to Emulate Their Work Adding Your Own Twist. Research the great masters of photography and study their works as well as other photographers’ works. Try shooting in their style and form, possibly even trying to replicate one of their photographs, but adding your own twist. By emulating the works of photographers that are of interest to you, you find yourself newly inspired and developing and/or practicing new techniques that you didn’t  know before.

 

  1. Look To Magazines, Books and Other Media for Inspiration. Along the lines of studying the masters and other photographers’ works, look through your favorite magazines for inspiration and new ideas. Other forms of art can also be just as inspiring and motivating to cause a boost in your creative juices.

Look through magazines and other media for inspiration.

 

Things such as a good song, a movie, a tv show, a work of art or even a good book can help generate new ideas for things such as still life sets or portrait or fashion sets to create and shoot, destinations for photo walks, interesting lighting techniques and much more.

 

  1. Start an Art Journal. An art journal can be a great tool to start not only for artists, but for photographers as well. Keeping a small notebook with you at all times can come in handy for jotting down that fleeting idea that you might have during the day (or night) that you may forget after 10 minutes otherwise. Art journals can also serve as a place to create sketches of things like wardrobe ideas you would like to shoot, recording lists and descriptions of things and/or places to shoot and much more.

An art journal can be a great tool and record to save you when you goes through those times of a creative block.

 

An art journal can serve as a record of your thoughts and ideas – something you can refer back to during those times when you might have a creative block.

 

  1. Take a Photography Class. There’s nothing more motivating to get you shooting again than taking a photography workshop. Taking a workshop can force you to shoot, to learn new techniques and to share different visions with fellow photography students. A photography class also forces you to produce work in a more structured environment. You might find that the exercises and assignments that a photography instructor might give you helps to open that creative door again.

 

  1. Participate in a Photo Contest. Sometimes a photo contest can be all it takes to get your head back in the creative game when shooting, especially when there is some type of incentive involved.

Competing in a photo contest can help get you motivated to produce, especially when there’s a theme.

 

Many photo contests and competitions are based on a theme, such as “best travel destination” photo or a “show us your pet” photo contest. Since the actual “what” to shoot is already decided for you, it’s only up to you to determine how to shoot it. Any time you pick up your camera, you are allowing yourself a chance to jumpstart your creative juices. Participating in a photo competition can not only get you shooting again, but may also yield you some type of reward!

 

  1. Have patience. Creative blocks are not the end of the world. They are just a small bump in the road to becoming a better, more creative photographer. Creative blocks can provide you with opportunities to look at other works and try new techniques granting you continued education, practice and production. Have patience. Don’t look at a creative block as an obstacle, but as part of the creative journey.
Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments
The Nikon Guide Mode: Guiding You Toward The Perfect Shot

The Nikon Guide Mode: Guiding You Toward The Perfect Shot

Nikon goes above and beyond in assisting new photographers in creating better images and proper exposures with its Guide Mode. The Guide Mode allows you to easily take, view, delete and to adjust settings to your most frequently used functions of your camera. Geared toward the budding beginner photographer, the Guide Mode is a more intuitive way of creating an image, taking the guesswork out of settings to allow the user to focus more on framing the shot.


Image courtesy of Imaging Resource.

 

What’s the difference between Scene Modes on the camera and the Guide Mode? Guide Mode settings allow you to adjust the settings whereas the Scene Mode settings are set for you by the camera making a judgment call on the scene. It’s like shooting in Auto but for a given scene situation.

Guide Mode Operations on the Nikon D3300 to include a Retouch Operation.

Image courtesy of Google.

 

VIEW/DELETE OPERATION

The View/Delete operation allows you to choose how you view your images during playback and to delete your images when you need to.

 

SET UP OPERATION

In the Setup menu, you can set up a multitude of things such as image quality, size, auto off timers, print date, display and sound settings, movie settings, playback folder, playback display options, DPOF print order, clock and language, format memory card, output settings, wireless mobile adapter and slot empty release lock.

Image courtesy of the Nikon website.

 

SHOOT OPERATIONS

You can choose between two Shoot operations using the Guide Mode: Easy Operation or Advanced Operation.

Image courtesy of Google.

 

Easy Operation

The Easy Operation Mode allows you to easily choose and set some of the following shooting scenarios: Auto, Moving Subjects, Landscapes, Portraits, Night Portraits, Night Landscapes, No Flash, Distant Subjects Closeups and Sleeping Faces.

Images courtesy of Google.

 

Advanced Operation

Some of the Advanced Operation modes include Soften Backgrounds, Bring More Into Focus, Freeze Motion (People), Freeze Motion (Vehicles), Show Water Flowing, Capture Reds in Sunsets, Take Bright Photos, Take Dark (low-key) Photos and Reduce Blur.

Image courtesy of Google.

 

Soften Backgrounds. This mode allows you to bring your subject into focus while making your background and foreground out of focus to put more emphasis on your subject.

Images courtesy of Google.

 

Bring More Into Focus. Opposite of the Soften Backgrounds mode, if you want everything in your image to be sharp, select Bring More Into Focus mode. This will make your subject, as well as your foreground and background sharper.

 

Freeze Motion (People). This option is perfect for shooting a subject moving at an average pace, such as someone walking or playing an instrument.

 

Freeze Motion (Vehicles). Select the Freeze Motion (Vehicles) option when you want to freeze the motion of something moving at a fast pace like a runner, a moving car or a high speed boat.

 

Show Water Flowing. Opposite of freezing motion, the Show Water Flowing mode slows the shutter speed down and allows you to capture movement such as the movement found in flowing water. As with any long exposure captures, its optimal to use a tripod to stabilize the camera otherwise images just turn out blurry instead of soft and flowy.

Images courtesy of Google.

 

Capture Reds in Sunsets. This setting ensures that you obtain the truest colors found in sunsets by using the White Balance settings to emphasize the red hues of a sunset.

 

Take Bright Photos. This setting is great for capturing high key images, which are images that are bright, white and pure. Nikon recommends this setting for photographing small objects and food.

 

Take Dark (low-key) Photos. This setting uses exposure compensation to take an underexposed image and is used for taking photos of darker objects.

 

Reduce Blur. This mode is best used in low-light situations where you may not have a tripod and you want to reduce camera shake by increasing ISO to allow for a faster shutter speed.

Screen once you make your selections.

Image courtesy of Imaging Resource.

 

USING THE GUIDE MODE

  1. Switch your dial to GUIDE.

Image courtesy of Google.

 

  1. Select an operation such as Shoot, View/Delete or Set up. (We’ll use Shoot for purposes of this tutorial…)

 

  1. Select Easy Operation or Advanced Operation. (We’ll go with Advanced Operation for purposes of this tutorial…)

 

  1. Select an effect that you want to adjust, such as Soften Backgrounds.

 

  1. Read the description of the Mode and click OK.

 

  1. For Softening Backgrounds, use the multi-selector to adjust the aperture using the assist image as a guide to determine how much you want to soften the background. How much a mode affects an image is determined by how much you change the values.

 

  1. Select whether you want to shoot using the viewfinder, the Live View or to create a movie.

 

  1. Select OK and you’re ready to shoot!

Image courtesy of the Nikon website.

 

A Little Guidance Never Hurts…

I found the Guide Mode to be a great educational tool for new photographers to learn what settings make good options in particular shooting scenarios. I think it’s a great confidence builder for new photographers as photos come out properly exposed without the photographer needing a bunch of technical knowledge. I wouldn’t use this as a permanent substitute for learning how to operate a DSLR camera as it’s invaluable to be able to fully control your camera, but a great start for budding photographers!

 

Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments
Kendall Jenner, Model Turned Photographer

Kendall Jenner, Model Turned Photographer

The fashion industry is brimming with talented moving parts, from fashion designers to photographers to models and more. Each part working closely with the other, so much so, that it’s not unusual for a person to change roles in the industry. However, sometimes, that is also when an outrage from competitors is born. Recently there has been an emergence of models, such as Bella Hadid and her sister Gigi Hadid stepping from in front of the camera to behind the lens.

Kendall Jenner.

Image courtesy of Google

 

Fresh off the line of role crossovers in the industry is model-turned-photographer, Kendall Jenner, who debuted as a fashion photographer last summer while shooting Kaia Gerber, the daughter of supermodel Cindy Crawford, for LOVE magazine.

A few of Jenner’s images of Kaia Gerber for the cover of LOVE magazine.

 

Jenner has always been in the spotlight for almost all of her life, so she is no stranger to the camera. She has spent her life in front of a camera working on the family reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. In 2014, she made her high fashion debut on the runway for the Marc Jacobs Autumn/Winter 2014 line.

Compilation of images of Kendall Jenner, individual images courtesy of Google Images.

 

It has only been until recently that she took to making photography a her next career move, not because she fears an end to her shelf life as a model, but as she states in an interview with the U.K. publication, The Daily Telegraph, “I think it’s more about showing my eye.”

Jenner images on recent LOVE magazine covers.

Image courtesy of LOVE magazine

 

Kendall Jenner has already been shooting selfies and photos of other favorite people and things along with posting images from her major jobs for as she can remember, sharing them on her social media, mainly Instagram, where she now has 74.7M followers.

Screen capture of one of numerous image posts Jenner’s Instagram page.

 

What Kendall Jenner has accomplished thus far in scoring a major campaign – like shooting the covers of LOVE magazine – might be all fine and good but is this going to be a new trend among celebrities and influential people, not to mention, other non-photographers in general? After all, it’s not the first time we’ve seen models crossing over to photography as Helena Christensen and Ellen von Unwerth also went the way of the lens.

Kendall Jenner

Image courtesy Google

 

If this does become the new trend in hiring photographers for major campaigns, this could cause a lot of problems for the working professional photographer who may not have the weight of their name, the unlimited connections to high rollers in the fashion photography industry and/or the money to sustain the costs necessary for running their own photography business when having to compete with new photographers like Jenner, who appear to be getting these opportunities effortlessly.

Kendall Jenner with a Polaroid camera.

Image courtesy of Google.

 

It is already a concern among working photographers that the cost of services will win out over experience and the level of quality of work. Like with many other areas of life currently being effected in this matter, why would you pay a bunch of money to a reputable working photographer to shoot your extraordinary portraits or even your daughter’s wedding photos when your brother’s wife can churn out not-too-shabby looking images for a fraction of the cost or even for free? Now add celebrity or influential status and one can see where the outrage ensues.

More Jenner covers for LOVE magazine.

Image courtesy of LOVE magazine.

 

While many working photographers believe that the length of experience in shooting photography and the quality of images will trump the celebrity or influential photographer or even the non-photographer with less experience getting paid jobs that working photographers would otherwise be considered for, what happens when the new photographer’s work is on par with the work of well-known photographers for campaigns such as some of the work we’ve seen thus far from Kendall Jenner?

Kendall Jenner

Image courtesy of Google.

While I personally feel companies won’t be willing to sacrifice their brand or image to have a major celebrity or influential photographer or non-photographer come in to shoot their campaigns, working photographers may want to work on trying to stay ahead of the game as if anyone’s work is high-quality and proves to fit the visions of the company, then it’s fair game, no matter who you are.

Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments
Lino Manfrotto: A Legacy of Support to Photographers Around the Globe

Lino Manfrotto: A Legacy of Support to Photographers Around the Globe

On Sunday, February 5, 2017, we lost a “pillar” in the photography world: Lino Manfrotto – a man whose last name is well-known to almost every photographer, if for nothing else, the support he provided to photographers around the globe.

Lino Manfrotto (right)

Image courtesy of Manfrotto website

 

In the Beginning…

Toward the end of the 1960’s, Lino Manfrotto worked as a photojournalist in Bassano del Grappa for Il Gazzettino and Giornale di Vicenza while also pursuing gigs in industrial and advertising photography. While there were many options for studio flash at the time, little advancement was offered in the way of support and clamps.

Manfrotto BeFree 4-Section Carbon Travel Tripod

Image courtesy of the Manfrotto website.

 

Frustrated by heavy, cumbersome camera and lighting support, Lino took to designing and creating what he needed to get the job done including a more lightweight, portable tripod and lightweight light stands that allowed flexibility of light placement. He started this for himself, which then expanded to his circle of photographer friends.

Today’s innovation of the Manfrotto tripod: Manfrotto MT190CXPRO4 Carbon Fiber 4-Section Tripod

Image courtesy of the Manfrotto China website.

 

After meeting Gilberto Battocchio in 1972, a technician for a mechanical company in Bassano, Manfrotto and Battocchio, introduced the first Manfrotto tripod. Other equipment that soon followed that have not – to this day – found any remarkable competition are the Superboom, Autopole and the Superclamp, the latter two of which are found on display on the Museum of Modern Art’s website.

The Autopole.

Image courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC

 

The Superclamp.

Image courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC

 

A Growing Empire…

In the late 1980’s, the Avenger brand was established, support built for photographers and videographers for high load capacities extreme use in rough conditions.

Image courtesy of Manfrotto Poland

 

In 1989, Manfrotto became part of the Vitec Group, a British multinational company operating in the photo and broadcasting sector with American, English, French and German subsidiaries of which it still operates today.

 

Image courtesy of the Manfrotto School of Excellence website.

 

Several company acquisitions soon followed: in 1992, the French company, Gitzo, which specialized in tripods and ballheads and in 1993, American company, Bogen, which specialized in American photographic distribution. In 2004, distribution company Bogen Imaging GmbH began in Germany. National Geographic photography bags began distribution in 2005 under license through the acquisition of Israeli company, Kata.


Manfrotto Lifestyle Windsor Messenger Bag – Small

Image courtesy of the Manfrotto website

 

In 2010, Bogen Imaging changed its name to Manfrotto Distribution which included distribution companies in the United States, the UK, Germany, France and Japan. New distribution companies were launched in Shanghai and Hong Kong that same year. The company acquired the Lastolite brand in 2011, the premium manufacturer of photography light modifiers (such as portable collapsible reflectors) and backgrounds.

 

Fast Forward to Today…

Since 2010, the Manfrotto brand has taken a firm grasp of the future of technology with its mission and slogan “Imagine More” as it builds for the new generation of photography gear. This mission brings with it products designed for cameras (as they get smaller and smaller), smartphones and their use in the social realm.

Manfrotto Lumie Muse LED Light

Image courtesy of the Manfrotto website.

 

In recent years, Manfrotto has catered to the surge of this new technology allowing the average everyday person photographic capabilities through creating accessories and support for use with iPhone. New products such as mini LED lights for smaller recording devices have been introduced providing more innovative solutions for those shooting both stills and video.


Catering to today’s camera technology: Manfrotto TwistGrip Universal SmartPhone Clamp

withManfrotto Lumie Muse LED Light  on a  Manfrotto PIXI Evo 2 Section mini Tripod

Image courtesy of the Manfrotto website.

 

May His Legacy of Innovation Never Rest…

The man behind the Manfrotto brand was innovative and every product he produced in his lifetime has come with the highest satisfaction ratings in quality and performance. From a photojournalist to an entrepreneurship stemming from the drive of wanting better convenience and performance from the equipment he needed to use, we hope that his legacy of innovation will live on continuing to help support photographer and videographers around the globe.

 

Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments