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Picture taking tips and ideas, plus great places to find some inspiration
Where do you get your photography ideas? Without keeping an eye out for potential sources of inspiration it's easy to get stuck shooting the same kind of stuff.
Luckily there are loads of things you can do to get the creative juices flowing and reinvigorate your photography. Looking at brilliant photos is amongst the best - go to an exhibition, check out some photo sharing sites, get hold of a book of images.
Below are my thoughts on the best places to go to discover new photographic possibilities, as well as some picture taking tips and ideas of my own!
My Photography Ideas
One of the best ways to sharpen up your eye for a good photo is to literally take a fresh perspective - go somewhere else!
When asked what would be the best piece of advice he could give to other photographers, the legendary Steve McCurry answered, 'leave home'.
The visual stimulation of unfamiliar cultures, colours, landscapes and people is undoubtedly a pretty great way to liven up your photographic eye.
It's easy to get into the habit of shooting in the same area all the time and to look too hard for an image, trying to force something out of nothing. Just about all the best shots I've ever taken seem to have leapt out at me. So it pays to take your camera when travelling!
Nevertheless, leaving home could be a mentality too:
|Photographers stop photographing a subject too soon before they have exhausted the possibilities - Dorothea Lange|
Make the most of everything a subject has to offer. Try different perspectives, focal lengths, depths of field and so on. Get on your back and shoot from a low angle, climb on your car and get up high!
Shoot in different lighting conditions - including night time!
Night photography can yield some striking results and is well worth having a go at. Whether it's natural landscapes, seascapes, carnival rides or fireworks, this is an exciting area of photography that can be a lot of fun.
Here is a tutorial to get you started:
Where to get some inspiration!
1. Photo Sharing Sites
One of the best ways to pick up photography ideas and discover what can be done with a camera is to join a photo sharing site.
My favourite is Flickr, which contains thousands of images and collections by some really talented people. You can bounce ideas around, make new photographic contacts and generally immerse yourself in all the cool pictures.
I've often seen an image on Flickr that immediately inspires me to grab my camera and see if I can create something similar.
Including Flickr, I think there are 4 photo sharing sites that really stand out.
Each of them has a vibrant community with groups based around thousands of different themes, discussions, competitions and other great features.
Some of the best photo sharing sites even allow you to convert your galleries into a little business and put images up for sale (How to sell photos online). They are also great places to find inspiration, photography ideas and general digital SLR photography tips.
Here is a quick guide to the top photo sharing sites, with summaries of their main features:
Going to see a really good photography exhibition is a sure way to remind you of why you love taking pictures.
It's often photographs in themselves rather than specific picture taking tips that are the most instructive. Here is a list of current or soon showing fine art photography exhibitions.
Photography is on show everywhere these days, so look around, but the following locations almost always guarantee something really good:
London - The Photographers' Gallery
Paris - The Pompidou Centre
Berlin - Museum Fur Fotografie
New York - Museum of Modern Art
Los Angeles - The Annenberg Space for Photography
Sydney - Australian Centre for Photography
Tokyo - Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography
3. Other Cool Resources
I'd highly recommend signing up to e-photozine
It's an incredibly comprehensive resource where you can share your work, your thoughts, read articles and tutorials and get the latest news in the world of photography.
Plus - the big seller for me - there is an area called ephotozine.tv which compiles all of the best photography video tutorials from the internet into one place, how useful is that?! It really is a goldmine of brilliant picture taking tips.
Invest in a few well chosen photography books
There are some great, easy to follow guides out there on both digital photography and Photoshop, full of great photography ideas. Perhaps more importantly, get hold of a well produced book of images that you find inspiring (coffee table photo books).
Soaking up great work will start to show in the shots you produce. Here are some short reviews on the best photography books I own.
If you enjoy learning through videos instead of written tutorials, these Photoshop lessons will be perfect for you.
If you find yourself grappling with some impentrable problem that's ground your photography to a halt, the web abounds with busy forums full of knowledgeable users eager to help out (Photography-on-the-net has a great forum here) .
There are so many resources online it's not necessary to be stuck for long, but it can be tedious finding exactly what you need. Searching in quality-controlled photography directories like Photography Homepages, The Photography Directory Project, Photo Clicks , Free Photo Gallery or Photography Directory Index can be a good shortcut.
Do you have any photography ideas to share? Perhaps you've discovered a great website or know some handy digital SLR photography tips. Get in touch here...
Here are some more photography ideas including tips on composition and landscape photography.