I post a picture on my Instagram almost every single day of the year. That’s 365 pictures… and 9 times out of 10 there’s a specific plan, vision, and story behind each unique photoshoot that requires a lot of planning. Whether I’m advertising a product, capturing a moment with my friends, or styling an outfit – the story behind the picture is usually what fuels the direction of the shot. Coming up with unique idea for each image or campaign can be so challenging, and I’m always falling into creative ruts that force me to search for creativity in different places.
Here are some of the ways I seek and find inspiration to help guide me through this creative process:
1. Intentional inactivity
I have to be intentional about being inactive to give my brain the freedom it needs to think without distractions. My best ideas usually happen: in the shower, before bed, or when I’m driving!
2. Finding inspiration in color
Color has had such an influence on the idea and inspiration behind my photoshoots with Alicia. One thing we always try to do is to create very colorful and captivating images that tie in the outfit, setting, and all other elements in the photo.
3. Saving Instagram pictures into categories on the app
One of my favorite ways to save things that inspire me on Instagram is the ‘bookmark’ tool. It’s the icon on the far right of your Instagram profile that looks like a flag. Whenever I come across something that inspires me, I save the image into one of my ‘folders’. I currently have a Paris folder (for one day!), an NYC folder (t0 save shoot spots, restaurant ideas, etc), a destination bucket list folder, outfit inspiration folder, hair ideas to try folder. So. Many. Folders.
4. Getting outside and location scouting
Getting outside to look for photoshoot locations makes all the difference. Instead of just looking for cool Instagrammable spots on the internet/IG, I have to get out and look for places to shoot in person. You really don’t know how the setting/lighting is going to turn out on camera until you’re there. We drive around town and take pics of potential locations at certain times of day to plan the time, location, and outfit around them.
I’ve always been obsessed with reading quotes. I could scroll for hours on Pinterest reading quotes + poetry that speak to me (esp. Lang Leav & Morgan Harper Nichols). I love when words are perfectly crafted into a sentence or two that carry so much insight. They help me make sense of certain things in life and give me so many ideas for topics to write about.
6. Ideas from you guys
The ideas you guys have asked me to write about and share on here have been some of my favorite topics. You inspire so much of what I create and post about! I’m so thankful for the people who take time out of their day to share their insight with me!
7. Exploring new places
This can be exploring a new neighborhood in your city, a new state, or even a foreign country. Getting outside of your ‘norm’ will broaden your horizons and open your mind up to new ideas, views, cultures, people, aesthetics, etc. “A mind stretched by new experiences can never go back to it’s old dimensions” -Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
8. Listening intently to others
THIS is huge. We’re all guilty of only partially tuning into what others have to say because we jump straight to formulating our own response or opinion. In order to be interesting, you must be interested! Which means really taking the time to listen, understand, and gather information from another person (or podcast). Don’t just listening to reply, listen to understand.
9. Bouncing ideas of off other people
All day long I bounce ideas off of people. My photographer, my assistant, my roommates, my mom, my grandma – anyone who’s opinion I value! This ties in with #8.
10. Understanding the aesthetic you’re attracted to
We all in some way try to emulate the style of influential people we admire. We look to celebrities, public figures, artists, and bloggers for inspiration. Ask yourself what are the specific things you like about those people? How can you put your own spin on things? Take risks and be mindful of who you follow and who is influencing you.
11. Pinterest browsing
A no-brainer. Forever scanning through decor, outfits, recipes, quotes, photography, etc. to spark creative ideas!
My main piece of advice is to not get too frustrated with yourself when you feel like you’re stuck in a creative rut. It happens to everyone and is completely natural – I go through it all the time! Whenever you try too hard to make an idea happen that just isn’t flowing, you need to know when to learn, pivot, and redirect your efforts. So many times we’ve sought out a location or pursued a shoot idea that turned out to just NOT work. And other times I’ve stumbled upon an idea or location for a photograph that ended up being one of my favorites. You can’t force creativity but you can take steps to ignite the spark!