Today I’ve got 5 tips to keep your creative portrait ideas flowing

Tip #1

Be on the lookout for inspiration EVERYWHERE.

Whether it’s video, other photographers, music, other art, a pattern you see in clothing, a material, a lyric, or a book, the entire world is FULL of inspiration if you just open your senses to it.

Here’s an example:

I created this photo with Amber Page.

The inspiration for this photo began with a material. The initial idea came in a discussion with Cassandra three or four years ago, and the idea we discussed back then was pretty simple.

It was, “Let’s do a shoot with tulle!”, and I loved it, because I love tulle as a material.

That there is a cue that something is an inspiration to you. If you are exposed to something that evokes a positive emotional reaction, that’s something you can use for inspiration!

Cassandra and I never got to create that portrait, but I’ve held onto that idea, and when Amber and I started discussing the details of our photoshoot, I shared that I’ve been wanting to use tulle, and we built up the idea from there.

The world is full of things that will spark ideas for your creative portraits if you just open yourself to it!

Tip #2

Capture and record the things that inspire you!

If you don’t have a record of the things that spark your ideas, you’ll eventually forget them and lose the spark.

If you record them, then you can refer to them when you need inspiration, and when you’re working to develop a portrait idea.

There are a million ways to capture these things, and it doesn’t matter how you capture them as long as you have them organized so that you can find them when you need them.

Tip #3

Review what you capture!

Reviewing the things that inspire you will not only keep the your creative portrait ideas fresh and flowing, it’ll allow you to combine different ideas together, which will spark more new ideas.

I’m constantly flipping through my idea files to keep things fresh, and another benefit of this is exposing your brain to this inspiration as you’re developing your technical skills to execute the creative portraits you want to create.

As your technical skillset develops, you’ll see these ideas in a new light, to a point where your brain will be able to near instantly visualize how you would technically and creatively execute the portrait.

Tip #4

Visualize what you want to create.

Inspiration is all well and good, but it’s the act of taking that inspiration and molding it into your own vision that leads to a truly creative portrait.

Regularly trying to visualize the portrait you want to create, with the elements of inspiration in it, will really flex and grow your creative skill.

How you visualize is not important. What matters is that you put your brain to the task of forming the idea.

As you begin to do this, it’ll be frustrating and difficult, and that’s okay. Just like your first photos suck, your first visualizations will suck because you haven’t developed your creative skills.

You have to work through the suck just like everyone else. The more you make an effort to visualize your ideas, the easier it will become, until you get to a point that your brain does it near automatically.

And no matter how strong your creative skills, it’s important to realize that sometimes ideas will need a bit of coaxing before they’ll flow.

Tip #5

Discuss your ideas with others.

With the tulle, and many other ideas I’ve worked on, they evolved for the better after discussing them with someone else.

For example, as Amber and I were discussing the shoot, I kept referring to an “ocean of tulle”.

At the same time, for whatever reason, I was thinking about using black and purple tulle for the portrait.

When it came to discussing the colors, I shared that with Amber, and she said, “Are you sure you don’t want blue?”

and I said, “Blue tulle?”

and she said, “You’re talking about an ocean”, and I realized how right she was. I was using this word ocean, and blue tulle ended up being the PERFECT color for the portrait we created.

And that’s it! If you follow these five tips, I promise, you’ll never run out of ideas for your creative portraits!

Your camera is an amazing tool, but it’s no good to you if you don’t know how to use it!

If you want to take control of your camera and use it to take amazing photos like a pro, check out my Guide to Shooting in Manual Mode video course.

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