Looking back at the start of my creative career as a photographer, there were many moments where I simply could not think of any new ideas, in terms of creative direction for my photoshoots. I spent countless nights conceiving concepts for my shoots, only for the exhaustion to hit and knock me out. It was so frustrating.
However, as I enter the ninth year of my photography “career,” I have learned a lot about creativity. I never thought that a simple interest in photography would turn into an opportunity to work on a paid photography campaign. Now, with a little more knowledge under my belt, I will be sharing a few tips that I wish I knew about creativity earlier.
1. Relax and go about your day
We all have those days where we feel motivated to get a lot of work done, but we have absolutely no idea what to do once we get started. From staring at a blank piece of paper for an hour straight to restarting the drawing board every five minutes, it is truly vexing.
So, when you are feeling committed and motivated, but just unable to develop ideas, the best thing to do is just relax and keep the thought of your project in the back of your mind. According to A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young, a renowned American advertising executive, you will experience a sort of creative epiphany, sometimes out of nowhere, when you stop straining for an idea to pop up in your mind. Just relax, rest your mind, and the picture will come to you when you least expect it.
2. Start with a morning exercise
You know when you wake up one morning and immediately get to work because of worries about a jam-packed to-do list, but fatigue makes it almost virtually impossible to think about anything other than laying back on that comfortable pillow?
Instead of jumping right to work, you should start your morning off with a morning exercise to get your brain running. In her book, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, Harvard Business School Professor Teresa Amabile states that regularly updating your journal allows you to realign your perspectives and ambitions, while also becoming significantly more productive.
When you have just woken up, all groggy and unmotivated, use your journal to wake yourself up. Whether it is writing in a free-form style or doodling artwork, try to spend around 10 minutes working on your journal before you start your day.
3. Listen to music while you are working.
When I first started conducting creative shoots, the nights before, I had trouble producing concepts. Faced with worries and pessimism, I sat in my room most nights, just staring out my window in silence.
But truthfully, music really helps jumpstart your brain. Personally, playing background music while working on producing ideas has dramatically helped with my mood and productivity. Whether it is listening to classical music to dance-heavy electronics, my perceptions have been positively impacted by music. Consequently, my work has improved, as well.