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How to Break Through a Creative Brick Wall


Happy Friday!

How has your world changed since the Governor issued a “shelter in place” order? Initially I thought it would be a breeze to get through a few weeks of staying at home. I am one of those people that always has multiple projects going at the same time, photography, art, woodworking, and a variety of other crafts. Things didn’t go as I had planned. What I didn’t count on was hitting a brick wall when it came to inspiration and creativity. I love my camera and have lots of still life and macro supplies on hand. The problem was I had no desire to take or process a photo.

What I did is what I always do when I get stressed, I deep cleaned my house. I tackled at least one project a day. It cleared my head and gave me time to think through how to get past my creative block.

I reflected on what inspires me to be creative?

The first answer was my family. Unfortunately, Facetime isn’t the same as spending time with your grandchildren who are frequent subjects of my photography. My daughters and their families went into complete isolation mode. I was told I was a “vulnerable senior adult” and they kept sending me articles on how to keep safe, followed up by phone calls questioning if I was following their directives. Really? When did I become a senior in their minds?

The second thing that inspires me is our camera club, WCPC. I miss our meetings, talking about great shots, locations, and techniques. I miss this talented group of women, friends that share a passion for photography. I don’t think I am alone in hitting a creative brick wall. So, I went back to the basics and this is what I came up with.

How to break through a creative brick wall:

1. I went to a park and with my camera at least twice a week, with a mask on. Sometimes you just need to get outside and photograph. The result was that each time I reviewed my photos from my outing I deleted all of my photos.

2. I was cleaning my craft room and came across a scrapbook of photo inspirations that I started early on in my photography. Instead of keeping every photo magazine I ever had, I clipped photos from these magazines photos that I wished I had taken. I included information about the camera settings, lens used, with notes on techniques. I had even made notes on the criteria for judging a photo:

a. What is the subject?

b. Does the photo tell a story?

c. Does the photo have impact or interest?

d. Does the composition of the photo enhance the photo?

e. Is the photo creative in its use of composition of light, line and creativity?

f. Was the technical handling of the photo processing done well? What would have made it a better photo?

3. I went on Pinterest for photo inspiration and techniques that I had pinned to my boards. I started reading the articles I had pinned. Inspiration and creativity started to stir.

4. I reviewed a few of my favorite Photo websites:

a. The Lightroom Queen, which has great free resources for Lightroom, https://www.lightroomqueen.com/

b. Youtube has some great videos on photo techniques and tutorials. One of my favorite tutorials is how to restore old photos by Aaron Nace. My theory is, if you know how to repair your photos, it gives you better understanding of the best methods for processing a photo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abXAvWuteI4&t=3

c. Digital Photography School, which has free tips and tutorials, https://digital-photography-school.com/about-digital-photography-school/

The next day I went to the park with my camera and when I reviewed my photos, I had one photo that I kept. I had made a breakthrough. I will be going out to photograph 3-4 times this week. I have so many local locations to photograph, I can hardly wait.

Please share how you get through a creative block with your photography. How do you find your creative inspiration?

Have a great weekend!

Beverly Hawkins

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