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Being a photographer is a passion, not just a career choice. The thought of “missing a shot” crosses every photographer’s mind yet how many times have you caught yourself unprepared? Not only could the shot you capture make a great addition to your site or blog, it could end up being one of those “must have” images by a stock or news agency that goes viral.

1. Always Carry Your Camera

This not only shows you are serious about your craft, it identifies you as a professional photographer. After all, you can’t predict what you will come across in your daily travels.

2. Study Other Photographers

This may sound a bit obvious but seeing what your fellow photogs are up to can be insightful and inspiring. Don’t just stroll around online through sites such as Flickr. Go to a local bookstore and peruse some real photographic art books. Try books like Photography After Photography and Looking at Photographs to name a few. Or, spend an afternoon at your local library browsing the stacks and see what strikes your eye. Read, read, read! Visit photography blogs such as the Selby or 500Photographers.

3. Get Lost

Always walk the same route to work? Try a different way each day. Or, take the bus instead of going underground on the subway. If you’re a driver, use public transportation and take the opportunity to kick back and snap away. Try using your lunch break to escape on a mini-adventure each day and photograph the hour away. Getting lost is a great way to find yourself – artistically and otherwise.

4. Have a Burning Desire

This comes from the classic book by Napoleon Hill, “Think and Grow Rich.” Hill notes that most successful people are so fired up by what they do that their enthusiasm is infectious. In turn, this drive can lead to seeking new experiences. Not having a fixed destination as you go about your day can have open doors to meeting new people and having these creatively fulfilling moments.

5. Practice Good Habits

Being prepared for your next outing will make it more likely that you’ll grab your camera bag on the way out the door After a long day of shooting, get into the habit of charging your batteries, cleaning your camera and lenses and emptying the CF cards, formatting them and cleaning the camera and lenses.

6. Exhaust a Subject

“I’ve said about a million times that the best thing a young photographer can do is to stay close to home.” – Annie Leibovitz

It’s a common misconception that you need to travel far distances to break out of your creative rut. Look around your room, street, yard or studio and find a mundane everyday object. Then be sure to photograph the heck out of it. You should exhaust the subject, always trying to imagine it in a different light (literally and figuratively). Here’s a few to try: water towers, trees, bottles, clouds.

7. Give Yourself Assignments

  • Shoot Hi/Low – Shooting extremes in angles to give you a dramatically different perspective can open you up and get your creative juices flowing.
  • Shoot Texture – There are so many possibilities with shooting texture. Go for detail, try a bit of drama, arrange an interesting composition and capture the contrast in a scene.
  • Shoot Color -This is one of the more fun assignments you can give yourself, especially in an urban environment. Choose a color yourself or have someone pick for you. You’ll be shocked out how this one particular color will begin to jump out at you. Color assignments also look great when viewed together in a collage you can easily create in post-production using Photoshop.

See Also: 2 Photo Projects to Keep Your Eye Sharp

8. Go See an Exhibit

Don’t just focus on photographic exhibits. Viewing what artists are creating in other mediums, such as sculpture or painting, can lead you to some fantastic new subject matters.

In short, keep your eyes, ears, and mind open, and allow yourself the joy of developing a fresh new artistic eye along the way.

Cheryl Woods

Cheryl Woods is an accomplished photographer, designer and branding consultant with a career spanning 20+ years. Her photographic work includes editorial, fashion, portraiture and product photography for major companies in the consumer products field including QVC and Hanover Direct. She received a B.F.A. in Photography from the University of the Arts and an M.F.A. in Media Design from Full Sail University. Cheryl's work has been exhibited at the Lowes Museum of Art in Coral Gables, FL, The New York Independent Film Festival and the Rosenwald Wolf Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. Check out her website here!


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