3 Simple Daily Creative Exercises Every Photographer Should do
The secret to success is found within your daily routine
They always say that success is found in your daily routine.
This backs up the belief that we must do something daily or almost daily for it to become a habit that leads us to success.
This is no different for photography.
As photographers, we all should try and do little things and habits every day to develop quicker and become more consistent with our creative lives.
Sometimes this can be hard if we have commitments or demanding jobs and as such, I have developed a quick list here of 3 simple creative exercises you can do, as a photographer, to improve your creativity skills.
If you are able to do one of these exercises on a daily or near-daily basis, you will be well on your way to growing as a photographer and your photos will become much better.
Play around with a new genre of photography you may not normally shoot
As a photographer, you may be used to shooting a certain type of photography.
Maybe you love portrait photography and you are obsessed with taking pictures of people.
Maybe you love interacting with the natural environment and you are eager to take endless pictures of animals and wildlife.
This is great!
As a photographer, it is important to make sure that you love taking the pictures that you are taking and that you are passionate about that type of photography.
However, that doesn’t mean that it will harm you to try out a new type of photography.
By doing this, you will expose yourself to a wider range of creative stimuli and you will grow both as a photographer and as a creator.
You may also realise that you love this new type of photography you discovered and you want to take it further.
This can help you boost and diversify your portfolio and you might get different clients who will ask you to shoot in another type of photographer rather than just what you are currently used to shooting.
ACTION POINT: On your photoshoot, shoot what you would normally shoot and then take 5–20 mins trying out a new type of photography.
For example, you have just spent an hour taking portraits of people in the shopping centre and you love shooting portrait photography.
Perhaps try and take 10–20 mins after the session trying out some architecture photography.
This can be done by shooting the shopping centre at different angles (such as shooting from the bottom up).
This will help you gain new skills and an appreciation for the architecture built around you.
If you can do a little bit of this every day or on a regular basis, you will be able to master new types of photography and this will allow you to grow much, much quicker than by locking yourself into just one type of photography.
By doing this, you will expose yourself to a wider range of creative stimuli and you will grow both as a photographer and as a creator
It will also expose you to new people and clients and this can boost your revenue and your reputation in your local area as mastering another type of photography will make you stand out, particularly if no other photographer specialises in that type of photography in your local town or city.
During your photoshoot/session, restrict yourself to just one prime lens
This can be whatever prime lens you wish, such as a 50mm, 35mm or even 85mm lens.
The challenge is to stick to that lens and use it for the entire duration of the photoshoot.
The prime lenses lack of a zoom function will force you to move around and be mindful of your composition before you hit the shutter button.
This stops you from being lazy as a photographer and just zooming in from a fixed position to get a certain composition.
It is important, however, to make sure that the lens you are using is suitable for the photography you are shooting.
For example, will a 50mm lens be to narrow for you if you are trying to capture architecture or large landmarks, both of which can typically only be captured fully using a wide angles lens, such as a 24mm focal length?
If you are trying to shoot portrait photography, take your nifty fifty with you. You will get an amazing bokeh background and the details on your subjects face will be pin-sharp.
If you are trying to capture street photography a 50mm will still perform well but a 35mm lens may be a better option if you are trying to capture more of what’s in the background, too.
The prime lenses lack of a zoom function will force you to move around and be mindful of your composition before you hit the shutter button
ACTION POINT: Decide on what type of photography you are going to shoot for this session and then decide on the lens best suited for shooting that type of photography.
Then go out and shoot, but only use the said lens for the entire session. Once you come back from the shoot, take a good look at all of the photos you have shot.
Are the compositions better?
What about the depth-of-field?
Did you fit more into the frame?
If you believe, after asking yourself these kinds of questions, your photography has improved then try and use a prime lens more often in the future.
What you should notice is that you are far more mindful of the compositions and the environment around you.
You take more time to appreciate photography and you take a minute to pause before you dive in headfirst and hold down the shutter button.
If you can do this consistently, you will grow as a photographer and as an artist.
You will appreciate the work of other photographers more knowing just how much effort it takes, rather than just pressing the shutter button and hoping and praying you end up with a decent picture.
Intentionally break every rule of photography
As a photographer, you will probably have rules being shoved in your face wherever you go for photography advice.
You will no doubt have heard about the rules of thirds, negative space, leading lines, using the scale in your images, among an endless array of other rules.
The advice I am about to give you will probably contradict everything else you have learned, but BREAK THE RULES!
Yep, you heard that, break the rules.
By that I mean don’t worry about making your photo conform to the rule of thirds or whatever rule you are thinking of at the moment.
Just shoot and see what works for you.
You may never know, these could be some of your best photos and your Insta followers (if you do post on Insta) will appreciate your newfound style of rulebreaking.
This will also set you apart from others as they will try to fit into the rules, while you try to think outside the box and become a better creator.
ACTION POINT: When you are out shooting, just take the picture. Don’t worry about leading lines or negative space.
Rules like these should be focused on in another photoshoot.
Use a set amount of time or a quick stroll as an opportunity to shoot whatever you wish, without the fear of rules or unwritten ‘advice’ holding you back.
You could do this by shooting new photos in new locations where you ave never been before or you could try to take portrait images without worrying about the rule of thirds.
Your results may surprise you, and this newfound creativity will boost your imagination and your thinking skills.
This will also set you apart from others as they will try to fit into the rules, while you try to think outside the box and become a better creator
If you can do this on an occasional basis, you can use this time to escape the usual photography rules you are locked into and this can be the time to let your creativity free.
This will also expose you to new photo opportunities and scenarios and, who knows, maybe these opportunities will be part of your regular shooting workflows as well.