5 Ways to Gather Photo Inspiration: How do You Keep It Fresh?

Super Photo Magic School

As a photographer and artist, I'm constantly seeking out the new and fresh to inspire and delight me. It can be overwhelming to distill the content, sites and sounds out in the world and use it all to motivate instead of intimidate. The question I'm always asking to others who are creative for a living, not just in a casual whenever–the–mood–strikes–me sense how do you organize ideas and keep your work going?

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1. Keep drawing. For me, growing up with a pencil and pad of paper around at all times, I still like the intentionality and meditation of sketching ideas. The practice loosens my mind and gets me off the computer, the time lets me get bored, scratch my head, look at other print mediums and use my imagination!

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2. Pinterest. It's handy, addictive, always available to catalogue ideas and seek out the new. When launching a new project, whether it be a big shoot for a client or a self assignment, creating a Pinterest board while doing daily internet life can be an essential visual tool. It's great to show an art director or future collaborator the feel/look you're going for.

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3. Instagram. Following photographers who I admire and peeking into their daily life is a voyeur's dream come true. It's the little postings about props, locations, challenges and such that can inform the way I approach my work. The global nature of this app is also intriguing to see what others are making in far off lands, such as Norway, Japan and New York!

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4. Get outside — where all the real good ideas are found! When the mind is a tizzy with confusion, monkey brain or too many ideas, stepping into the fresh air is key.

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5. Making a physical inspiration board. Maybe it's my 90s upbringing and love of making collages from a young age, but I'm constantly ripping up magazines, and carrying paper ephemera home with me and tacking it on my ever-evolving real life pin board. Before there was Pinterest, there were scissors and thumbtacks! This seasonal practice helps me imagine new things and manifest challenging work.

How do you all do it? Keep it magical, keep it going?

(Images: 1, Flickr member Jessica Wilson, 2, sketch by Leela Cyd Ross, 3, Flickr member Scotbot 4, Instagram photo via Flickr member Exoskeletoncabaret, 4, Yvestown licensed under Creative Commons)