Day 239: Creating Photo Ideas

Coming up with photo ideas can be a very big road block to many people, especially during times when it feels like all the inspiration in the world has dried up. Even the best of us have periods of time when creating can be incredibly hard to achieve, but creativity and inspiration are muscles that can be strengthen enough to withstand even the hardest of times.

A long time ago while I was attending a workshop a photographer gave the audience a tool for creating a photo idea no matter the circumstance and I wanted to share it with you today. You are only as creativity as you believe you are and I’m here today to tell you that you have more inspiration in your little finger than you could have ever imagined.

The tool for creating a photo idea goes like this. Grab a blank sheet of paper and write out the following categories with five lines in-between each one. The categories are location, color, wardrobe, prop, and theme. Once you’ve written on these categories I want you to pick five things to match each category and please, be as random as you see fit. Say for instance under wardrobe you could list top hat, ballgown, tuxedo, pearl necklace, and a pair of jeans. Fill in each category. For theme think of things like good versus evil, courage, etc. Use the internet if you ever need help.

Once you have your items listed out look up a random number generator online. If you look it up on google it should come up with a little box and have a minimum and a maximum, put the maximum on five. Generate a random number for each category and circle whatever word the generator selects. You can also just select a random number between 1 and 5 yourself, but it’s more exciting when you don’t know what the answer will be.

And there you have it, you have every element of an image needed. Your location, your main color and wardrobe, the prop and even the theme. There will always be a recipe for a photo within this exercise, trust me, I’ve used it many times. In fact I will do it here to give you an example of how it can be used.

For me it will go like this:

Mountain Cliff
Thick Forest
White Wall
Outer space

Deep Red
Light Blue

Flowing ballgown
Poet shirt
Vintage suit

Water Glass
Several balloons

Life before death
Desire to escape
Overcoming weakness

Now to pick a random number. For location I got: White Wall. For color I got: Black. For wardrobe I got: Bedsheet. For prop I got: Flower. For theme I got: Decay. Now for a photo I would combine all of those elements in some way where I was photographed in front of a white wall wearing a black bedsheet (you would be surprised at how dress like sheets can look) using flowers as a way of representing decay.

As you can see it’s quite easy to come up with a photo idea using such a wonderful way to challenge the mind to connect sometimes random items. And if you don’t feel challenged, ask a friend to come up with the items, they’ll usually pick things we’re not comfortable creating with and provide us with a challenge. Happy creating, I look forward to creating my own image from this exercise.

Until Next Time,
Lillian Merritt

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