Getting Inspiration

As you’ll know from other articles like this I admit that I’m not the most creative photographer, I lack ideas for poses and dont always see the shots, but the main thing is that I recognise that, and know how to compensate for it.
If I’m doing a baby photo shoot I’ll spend several hours trawling though my favourite sources of inspiration and get a dozen or so images in my phone ready, just to keep me going. I did exactly that when I shot a couple of weddings, I’d got photo ideas for the bride at home, like getting a reflection in the mirror and her shoes, right through to the first dance. I wasn’t trying to necessarily recreate the other photos but they just gave me some ideas.
Now I’m keeping the themes deliberately loose and here’s what I suggest you do.
Let’s take for example ‘leaves‘ which may or may not be a topic 😉

Think it through

I’d have a think first about what I could do without looking anywhere. Spotting the last lead that hasn’t fallen off the trees (in the west anyway), a pile of leaves on the ground, a frosty leaf, maybe if you have young kids you could get them doing some creative art painting and decorating leaves and you capture them having fun doing it. If you’ve got older children could they grab a pile of fallen leaves and throw them above their head on command, or be buried under some leaves!
That would be my start and I’d make some notes in Evernote, or you might prefer a note pad.
I’ve recorded myself looking at the following sites and showing you how easy it really is to get a wealth of inspiration on a simple and broad topic like ‘leaves’.








Magazine archive

Now as you know I LOVE my monthly magazine and so over the years I have somewhat of a library of magazines. These can be great for flicking through and it breaks up staring at your screen!

Now what?

Well, hopefully after going through here you will have a few good ideas up your sleeves and the next thing is to analyse the photos and deconstruct them as I started in some of the videos above. What is it about them that you need to consider? Can you work out the time of day, is it nice warm light with the sun low, does it need to be a frosty morning, is it a really shallow depth of field (blurred background), will your current lens cope with it or do you need a nice little 50mm for Christmas! 😉
I’ll be giving you a starting point for each topic and I encourage you to return to this page if you need more help and post your comment below.

Share your ideas

Personally I’d encourage you to post your initial ideas on the theme’s page and ask me and others to help deconstruct it if you’re struggling, or you tell us what you think is going on. Don’t worry about someone copying your idea, be pleased to have inspired someone and after all we’ll all see that it was you who posted the original idea!
This challenge is going to be pointless if you don’t make use of the comments and get involved so please, please please get signed in to Disqus and be ready to get stuck in!


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  • Darren Goodall

    Hi Adrian,
    I have been busy,
    with 1 fish tank,
    2 off camera flashes with wireless triggers
    3 tripods
    Canon 600 D
    24-70 lens
    For the droplet into the water
    Boom arm clamped to my camera tripod with a leaking plastic freezer bag dripping into the fish tank.
    1 flash set to 1/16 just above the height of the just below the camera
    Different coloured paper was taped to rear of the tank for the various colours,
    Shutter, 1/200
    ISO, 100,
    F stop. F8
    Editing was a little cropping, that’s it
    Manual focus once the focal point was established using auto focus first.

    The fruit and peppers,
    The flashes were set to 1/16 power,
    1 flash directly above the tank firing to the centre.
    1 flash at 45 degrees off to the right and firing up to the centre of the tank.
    Shutter, 1/200
    ISO, 100
    F stop , F8
    Cropping , darkened a little to black out he back ground some more.
    Adjusted the brightness.
    And took about 100 or so pics to get a few I thought were reasonable .

    Thanks Adrian.

    • These are great mate, sorry for only just finding them under a pile of Christmas emails! Water drops like these are some of my favourite project ideas and you’ve done a super job of it! The fruit too, although I’d be inclined to do the items one at a time and keeping a simple plain backdrop. Do you know what I mean? Do you have any like that?
      Awesome work though, that studio is really paying off and I can see this is your ‘happy place’ 🙂