Like I said before, being creative, or just having to create, is one of the greatest assets you can have in this day and age. Being creative doesn’t mean you always have the juices flowing through your body. Sometimes we get into the rut. I know some of you have fallen into this black hole where you feel like you can’t get out of it. Believe me, we can all use a boost every now and then. Creative people can always use a new method to refresh their minds.
Everyone is stuck; it is a typical part of the innovation cycle. Grooves don’t last forever. In fact, most creatives have this hiccup every now and then. I’ve found that this series of challenges can help you get back on your feet and start creating again. I know these kinds of challenges help me. Sometimes they even help me find new concepts. I definitely challenge you to try them out.
Challenge 1: Silhouette
Make an ordinary place look great by capturing the silhouette of a subject in the area. Pick a spot at sunset or even at night, and stay in one spot without moving your feet. Look around and capture that amazing figure you see. Take a dozen images and choose the best of them all.
I thought I was stuck with this one. I ended up in a parking lot for a local clinic. I looked around to see what I could capture, then I looked up and saw the sun go down. These trees definitely caught my eye.
Challenge 2: Lost
Find several small items and put them in a bowl. Then try to capture the image with only one different element. For example, a bunch of white paper clips and a red one or a bag of green and blue M & Ms with a red one. Be creative.
I was walking around the mall, looking for something interesting. Being a kid at heart has helped me with this one. I came across a garbage can at the Lego store full of Lego character heads. I walked over and filmed it with an iPhone.
Challenge 3: Limits
Use a single lens for a month, such as a 50mm. Get out of your comfort zone, and learn to compose your photographs. If you only have a zoom, stick to one focal length. Limit yourself.
Challenge 4: Restrictions
Restrictions can be difficult but fun; limit yourself with a ruler and do it for the weekend. You cannot use any equipment other than the one you started with. So if you are using your camera then you cannot use your smartphone to take pictures at all. Limits may include:
- A main objective
- A location
- Black and white only
- A specific time only
- Manual mode only
- Overexposing or underexposing everything
- Spot meter only
- Photographing while seated
- Only the things above you
- Only the things below you
- No person in the frame
- No structure in the frame
- Fill the frame
- Negative space in more than three quarters of the frame
Challenge 5: Shooting a movie
You can only photograph with a film camera; if you don’t have one, you limit yourself to 24 or 36 shots. This challenge will make you understand how to cherish your shots because you will be limited. To make things more difficult, set yourself a time limit, for example: you have 24 hours to photograph something interesting.
I was planning on going to this place but every time I tried it was always closed. This store was interesting, but I never got into it. I photographed this looking from the outside; you can also see my reflection from the glass door.
Challenge 6: Sequence
Find something that has the same sequence, like a fence or something with lines. Something with a layered look could be interesting. Buildings can be great too, but be sure to make your images look endless.
It is our gateway.
Create your own
Are you still hungry for challenges? There is nothing like practice to improve your photography and get out of this creative rut. Getting out of a rut can sometimes take a long time, or it can be quick. Just keep pushing your methods and challenging your creativity on a daily basis, and you’ll start to see that creative juice building up. Post your photos in the comments; I would love to see them.