5 Sources of Inspiration

by Samuel F. Sherring 10 months ago in how to

Other than Instagram

5 Sources of Inspiration
- Surfer Jake Sage - 

The list is at the bottom. Predicating that are some thoughts about Instagram, and how it affects photographers.

Is Instagram bad for your creativity?

Sometimes. Instagram is only bad for your creativity when you only look at other Instagram accounts for inspiration, or rather, trends. For example, you can't scroll two digital meters without seeing the sought after "Teal and Orange, cinematic, vertical landscape with photo-shopped birds" - my opinion is this sucks and doesn't really require anyone to be creative.

Anyway, I say "only" because there are loads of great photographers sharing their work on Instagram who can trigger new ideas in you. The question is...What makes these guys inspiring? Why do you follow who you follow? Asking these questions might put you on a path to improve your creativity with photography.

Who inspires you on Instagram?

Forgive me if I go in a little hard about this.

To be blunt, if all you're inspired by on Instagram are lifestyle photographers, the kind who take self-timer shots of them in a van with a dog and their girlfriend who also has a slightly more famous Instagram account, then you're not ever going to produce real art. Why? Because making art is fucking hard.

Scrolling on the gram, choosing a location that's trending, driving out there, and slapping whatever peter McKinnon preset just came out on your photograph isn't art. I don't want to shit all over everybody's dream of becoming a freelance photographer who travels the world doing what they love; that's awesome and you should go for it. But you know as well as I do that if it's been done, then nobody gives a shit. There's no Ben Brown mkii—he was doing what he wanted at the right time. We, as photographers need to find what we love and do it often.

Rant over. Check out the list below and I hope you look at something new that fires off some new neurons and you create something real.

5 Sources of inspiration

1) Behance.

If you haven't already downloaded this app, I really recommend that you get on it. Follow not just photographers, but graphic designers, digital artists etc. Often, they will produce a visual effect that you haven't seen in photography. See what you like, understand why you like it, then go make it for yourself.

2) Photography books.

Programmes from a gallery, second hand from a charity shop or fresh and crispy from WHSmith, books are key to understanding the bigger picture in photography. What makes photos last? What kind of photographs should go to print? Also, artists will inevitably talk about their own motivations and inspirations behind their work.

3) Advertisements

Check out Ad's wherever you can, maybe start on Pinterest or Ads of the world. Advertisements are inherently creative, because the creators have had to think about how they can make their ad effective. Photography also plays a huge role in marketing and adverting so you'd be mad to ignore it. They often use photographic techniques that you already know, but in a different way.

4) Documentaries.

Abstract on Netflix. It's so good. Watch it.

If you've seen it then check out Dark Side of the Lens—Mickey Smith.

5) Old school art.

If you cant even spell ren-ay-sance then get familiar. Art's rich and diverse history is filled with compositions, interesting lighting techniques, and provocative artists who weren't recognised in their time, because they were so bold.

how to
Samuel F. Sherring
Samuel F. Sherring
Read next: 4 Ways To Find Inspiration As A Beginner Photographer
Samuel F. Sherring

I work as a producer at a creative agency in Cornwall, UK. Here I share my thoughts on film and photography. Cool.

See all posts by Samuel F. Sherring