Forums > General Industry > Creative Roadblock

Model

IDiivil

Posts: 4128

Los Angeles, California, US

The subject title about summarizes it... It's been a while since I saw something and went, "I WANNA SHOOT ALONG THOSE LINES NOW!" ... I think it's akin to a burn out, honestly. I feel very lacking in artistic inspiration.

Do you have this problem? What do you do to fix it?

Do you have any images (that you've taken, modeled for, or otherwise like) that you could share with me? Sometimes getting flooded with beauty reawakens my need to create.

May 16 13 10:02 pm Link

Photographer

Jerry Nemeth

Posts: 28014

Dearborn, Michigan, US

I'm surprised.  You have made beautiful creative images in the past.
Maybe it's the change of your location.   smile

May 16 13 10:05 pm Link

Model

IDiivil

Posts: 4128

Los Angeles, California, US

Jerry Nemeth wrote:
I'm surprised.  You have made beautiful creative images in the past.
Maybe it's the change of your location.   smile

No, I've been feeling it for a while. I've done a lot of stuff recently, including before my move, so it's becoming hard to think of things I still need or want to shoot sad

The burnout doesn't influence my paid gigs... but I like getting together with close friends and experimenting and trying new ideas, and it's certainly getting in the way of that.

May 16 13 10:08 pm Link

Model

K I C K H A M

Posts: 14636

Los Angeles, California, US

My number one solution when this happens is to call up a friend photographer and just screw around. Really, just play.

Otherwise I recommend going to a museum. If you're having trouble finding inspiration in pictures, try looking at paintings. Statues. Even fashion design or architecture if you think you can bridge the slightly larger gap.

I also recommend coming to see me. I CURE THINGS.

May 16 13 10:13 pm Link

Photographer

Will Snizek Photography

Posts: 1387

Beckley, West Virginia, US

I understand the situation.  For me I've been letting stress stifle my creativity.  I honestly feel a little less creative each year.  I've been told I need to start doing new things and having more unique experiences.  I'm going to try that out for a while.  Maybe go outside my box and see why happens.  I do think everyone is capable of a fresh start with creativity.

May 16 13 10:15 pm Link

Photographer

DougBPhoto

Posts: 38621

Portland, Oregon, US

K I C K H A M wrote:
My number one solution when this happens is to call up a friend photographer and just screw around. Really, just play.

Otherwise I recommend going to a museum. If you're having trouble finding inspiration in pictures, try looking at paintings. Statues. Even fashion design or architecture if you think you can bridge the slightly larger gap.

I also recommend coming to see me. I CURE THINGS.

Ahhhh...   devious...

I like the way you think wink

May 16 13 10:24 pm Link

Model

IDiivil

Posts: 4128

Los Angeles, California, US

Rofl, well, within a half hour of really focusing on it, I've come up with some solid ideas... I think maybe it just helped to acknowledge the frustration and know that it isn't a solitary issue ;P Thanks, guys.

Totally using this MM forum like a casual whatever forum >___> Mi'bad.

May 16 13 10:32 pm Link

Photographer

Vintagevista

Posts: 11053

Sun City, California, US

I've been in the same shoes - and sometimes focusing on other artistic areas (books/music/other inspirations) gives me super new ideas.

A H.P. Lovecraft - book of stories - suddenly yields like 4 shoot ideas for me

Single song by Mary Fahl gave me like 3 shoots that I need to do.

If you look around the corners and into different mental rooms - you can sometimes find new worlds to explore.

May 17 13 05:06 am Link

Photographer

Phantasy Photo

Posts: 448

Maryville, Tennessee, US

I'm glad you solved it.  With a portfolio as beautiful and extensive as yours, I can imagine it would be a challenge to come up with something really new and exciting, but I'm sure you will.

My suggestion would be to explore genres a little more like the old classics.  Below are some links to Imogen Cunningham's work from the early 1900's.

All links probably 18+:

http://www.imogencunningham.com/page.ph … &index=376

http://www.imogencunningham.com/page.ph … &index=360

http://www.imogencunningham.com/page.ph … &index=184

Since you recently moved to California, you may not be aware of some of the incredible outside venues north of you.  My best suggestion would be Point Lobos, a State park just south of Carmel.  Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, and Anzel Adams spent years shooting there.  While you'd probably need to work early or late to avoid some of the public, Point Lobos has some of the best settings for nudes in nature that I've ever seen.

Best of luck.

May 17 13 07:47 am Link

Model

Isis22

Posts: 2577

Muncie, Indiana, US

Just chit chatting with other creative people gives me ideas. Sometimes inspiration strikes as I am falling asleep and I jump up and write it down. Other times I am packing an item I have sold on Ebay and ideas come to me. Always be on the lookout.

May 17 13 09:29 am Link

Photographer

AMCPhotograpy3

Posts: 43

Los Angeles, California, US

How about some dance inspired stuff? I get burned out with dance, and I shoot a different genre for a bit, then go back to dance, and then shoot something different. If I happen to enjoy whatever I'm shooting I add it to the list of genres, locations, etc that I like to use.

Step out of your comfort zone for a bit, and maybe you'll find something new that you'd enjoy.

May 17 13 09:40 am Link

Photographer

Herman Surkis

Posts: 8875

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

K I C K H A M wrote:
My number one solution when this happens is to call up a friend photographer and just screw around. Really, just play.

Otherwise I recommend going to a museum. If you're having trouble finding inspiration in pictures, try looking at paintings. Statues. Even fashion design or architecture if you think you can bridge the slightly larger gap.

I also recommend coming to see me. I CURE THINGS.

Can I be your friend photographer???

Humour, love. The travel costs would kill me.

May 17 13 12:48 pm Link

Photographer

Flex Photography

Posts: 5297

Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Since you state definitely in you profile that you won't do TF shoots, you are left with 2 options. Shoot the photographers ideas that they pay you for. (without images for you) Or, for your own ideas, to get images of them, you are left with the option of paying photographers to shoot them for you. Don't expect photographers to shoot for your concept & your portfolio, and pay you for that.

May 17 13 01:22 pm Link

Photographer

sospix

Posts: 21396

Orlando, Florida, US

I think every "creative" gets some level of blockage at some point  .  .  .  usually just blasting away on (in, around, over  .  .  .  ) something that has nothing to do with your usual direction will allow you to "reenjoy" what REALLY stimulates you  .  .  .  OR, ya kin jest get drunk fer a few days until it passes  .  .  .  wink  Hope you recapture the spark soon  .  .  .

SOS

May 17 13 02:32 pm Link

Model

IDiivil

Posts: 4128

Los Angeles, California, US

Flex Photography wrote:
Since you state definitely in you profile that you won't do TF shoots, you are left with 2 options. Shoot the photographers ideas that they pay you for. (without images for you) Or, for your own ideas, to get images of them, you are left with the option of paying photographers to shoot them for you. Don't expect photographers to shoot for your concept & your portfolio, and pay you for that.

... eh? Considering I say people can write me with offers to TF, I think it's pretty clear I'm open to it. I just don't TFP that often, so I don't like getting flooded with offers regarding it.

Trust me, though... I TF. It's usually just for publication or with a close friend I've already made through connections or by chance.

I think you're totally harping on the wrong angle here considering you're talking about getting people to shoot my ideas when my whole thread is about how I can't think of any -____-

May 17 13 03:57 pm Link

Photographer

T-D-L

Posts: 10303

Los Angeles, California, US

What I would do in this situation is just call up a model who I work well with and more or less just inspires me to try new and creative things.  A couple hours with them and I'm usually recharged and ready to start shooting again.

May 17 13 04:00 pm Link

Photographer

B R U N E S C I

Posts: 25319

Bath, England, United Kingdom

IDiivil wrote:
I think it's akin to a burn out, honestly. I feel very lacking in artistic inspiration.

You seem to have been working a great deal lately, mostly paid shoots I'm guessing.

Maybe it's time to kick back a little and do a few trade shoots with friends with no fixed expectations? I often find that doing stuff just for the heck of it allows for greater freedom and creativity than either paid work or more formal TF/trade arrangements where everybody goes into it knowing what they want out of it.




Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com

May 17 13 06:25 pm Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12836

Atlanta, Georgia, US

Just couroius why you feel the need to come up with creative ideas?

May 17 13 06:31 pm Link

Photographer

BlueMoonPics

Posts: 4440

New York, New York, US

T-D-L wrote:
What I would do in this situation is just call up a model who I work well with and more or less just inspires me to try new and creative things.  A couple hours with them and I'm usually recharged and ready to start shooting again.

I wish I could do this.  I keep trying.

May 17 13 06:44 pm Link

Model

IDiivil

Posts: 4128

Los Angeles, California, US

AJScalzitti wrote:
Just couroius why you feel the need to come up with creative ideas?

Sometimes I am asked for input and to bring my own ideas into shoots - including paid ones. Many people hire me for my creative process.

Other times, I meet up with friends and explore new ideas for funsies.

Either way, I am running out of ideas!

... so I think the advice to just meet with a friend and have no expectations helps smile I think I'm overplanning and burning out that way.

May 17 13 06:54 pm Link

guide forum

Photographer

PashaPhoto

Posts: 9726

Brooklyn, New York, US

IDiivil wrote:
... so I think the advice to just meet with a friend and have no expectations helps smile I think I'm overplanning and burning out that way.

that could be it...

i too tend to burn out quickly, so i feel your pain...

for me the trick is to take a step back out of the forest, so i can see the trees... how i get there is always different... sometimes i just go shoot something different that i happen to like, usually kids/babies/puppies or other cute things etc... lately, video games have been very helpful... i find Civ5 or SimCity incredibly relaxing, and usually feel rejuvinated and ready to rock after a few long sessions smile

May 17 13 07:58 pm Link

Photographer

LA StarShooter

Posts: 1875

Los Angeles, California, US

Creativity has always been easy for me. One of the things that has been helpful to me is that I am often thinking creatively. For years I wrote a lot, novels, plays, and the friends I have are very creative. So, I have been creative for decades in different fields. It's become a habit for me. And I feed the stream with a lot of reading, sometimes in different languages, and when it comes to images, I look at images a lot. I have read  a lot of art history and seen so many paintings and works of sculpture that in a sense I have deepened the well of my creativity. I associate being creative with playing. I find it delightful.

Going to a museum, etc. as someone suggested is a good idea. Going and exploring the scenery of California from beach to desert is an expedition that can inspire one in so many different ways. I yearn to go to the shore. I find watching the waves soothing and the sea itself inspirational and seeing beautiful landscapes always triggers ideas.

May 17 13 08:11 pm Link

Photographer

Click Hamilton

Posts: 34762

San Diego, California, US

You seem to want to conquer the world all at once.

Ambitious people often expect more of themselves than they can deliver, by their own measurements, and a common counter-reaction to that comes in the form of a mental block or frustration, or a feeling of burnout.

Take a break, or switch to work on something entirely different for awhile. If you are not in the mood, don't try to force yourself through the motions of an empty routine.

Slogging along with repetition won't reignite the inspiration. Seek inspiration from fresh sources. Clear your schedule, reboot your brain, and start a new hobby.

When you resume what burned you out before, pace yourself.

May 17 13 08:17 pm Link

Model

IDiivil

Posts: 4128

Los Angeles, California, US

Click Hamilton wrote:
You seem to want to conquer the world all at once.

Ambitious people often expect more of themselves than they can deliver, by their own measurements, and a common counter-reaction to that comes in the form of a mental block or frustration, or a feeling of burnout.


Take a break, or switch to work on something entirely different for awhile. If you are not in the mood, don't try to force yourself through the motions of an empty routine.

Slogging along with repetition won't reignite the inspiration. Seek inspiration from fresh sources. Clear your schedule, reboot your brain, and start a new hobby.

When you resume what burned you out before, pace yourself.

... you know me very well, Click smile

May 17 13 08:24 pm Link

Photographer

Click Hamilton

Posts: 34762

San Diego, California, US

IDiivil wrote:
... you know me very well, Click smile

Empathy is my job tongue

---

Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm going to reboot too ...

I'm going to throw a steak on the barbeque and open a nice bottle of red wine.

Tomatoes and a vegetable salad. Cracked black pepper.


Baby steps smile


PS, then I think I'll fold my laundry.

May 17 13 08:26 pm Link

Model

IDiivil

Posts: 4128

Los Angeles, California, US

Click Hamilton wrote:

Empathy is my job tongue

---

Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm going to reboot too ...

I'm going to throw a steak on the barbeque and open a nice bottle of red wine.

Tomatoes and a vegetable salad. Cracked black pepper.


Baby steps smile


PS, then I think I'll fold my laundry.

Man ;P Come up to LA and bring some steak and wine. I'll fold your laundry then, haha.

May 17 13 08:33 pm Link

Photographer

Jorge Kreimer

Posts: 2393

Los Angeles, California, US

Happens to me all the time Christine, especially when I get a string of bad models in a row, and it all looks hopeless.
I have announced my retirement from photography many times.

But I also think it's part of the experience of being an artist.

May 17 13 08:34 pm Link

Photographer

Click Hamilton

Posts: 34762

San Diego, California, US

IDiivil wrote:
Man ;P Come up to LA and bring some steak and wine. I'll fold your laundry then, haha.

Sorry, I can't.

You have to come here.

I'm not taking my laundry to Burbank to be folded.


After you fold my laundry you can wash my dishes. I'll help you work your way through this troubling time.


The barbeque is warming up as we speak, and the wine is oh-so-fragrant. Azamor, Portugal, the bottle says. 2004. I know nothing about anything about Portuguese wines, but it tastes great, so it serves it's purpose.

May 17 13 08:40 pm Link

Photographer

B R U N E S C I

Posts: 25319

Bath, England, United Kingdom

Click Hamilton wrote:
You seem to want to conquer the world all at once.

Ambitious people often expect more of themselves than they can deliver, by their own measurements, and a common counter-reaction to that comes in the form of a mental block or frustration, or a feeling of burnout.

+1000




Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com

May 18 13 04:56 am Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12836

Atlanta, Georgia, US

IDiivil wrote:

Sometimes I am asked for input and to bring my own ideas into shoots - including paid ones. Many people hire me for my creative process.

Other times, I meet up with friends and explore new ideas for funsies.

Either way, I am running out of ideas!

... so I think the advice to just meet with a friend and have no expectations helps smile I think I'm overplanning and burning out that way.

You may be putting too much stress on yourself and over thinking it

May 18 13 05:21 am Link

guide forum

Photographer

Justin

Posts: 21925

Fort Collins, Colorado, US

Some of my work that I've liked the best has simply been through driving somewhere with a model and stopping and letting the environment work some inspiration.

This thread makes me think I should do that again. It's not always an easy concept to sell to a new model, though.

OP, I understand the "need" to create versus the lack of inspiration to do so. You've gotten some good input here. Good luck.

May 18 13 07:14 am Link

Photographer

Camerosity

Posts: 5317

Saint Louis, Missouri, US

Here's something I posted about a month ago in another thread that was started by a member who had hit a creative roadblock. Maybe it will help.

~~~~~

First thing I’d suggest is to not put pressure on yourself. There are many people who do many things best under pressure, but being creative generally isn’t one of them. Possible exceptions are tv writers who have to crank out a monologue every day or an episode every week. Having worked several years for daily newspapers, I suspect that the pressure doesn’t help; people just get used to it.

Second thing is start a list of ideas – and even potential seeds of ideas. Write everything down. Potential locations you see. Ideas for props. Wardrobe. Makeup. Not-yet-seen hair styles. Concepts. Poses. Dreams (even Dali dreams). Stories (true and fictional, recent and historical). Color combinations. Anything that has (or that you believe might have) the germ of an idea somewhere in it.

Ideas can come from anywhere. I got an idea from something I saw while driving home from the grocery store. I got another idea (which I'm  now setting up with a male model) from a three-second cut to the drummer in a Bon Jovi music video.

I have a list of 70+ concepts, ideas, themes, etc., that I go to once in a while. Most of the concepts are fairly complex, and I save those for special models (experienced models who I know can rock the shot) and locations. The oldest one has been on my list since the 1970’s. All I need is a female model, 20-25 male models, lots of expensive props, hard-to-find wardrobe for one of the male models, and a third-world prison yard. (Castro never responded to my email. lol) Avedon did a much simplified version of it with two models decades ago – not sure in what country though.

The following is a variation of a process that I learned from a fiction writing professor (who had more than 75 published books, mostly fiction, in four genres under three pen names) in college back in the Dark Ages. This is how he generated many of his ideas.

Take a sheet of paper and write brief (often one-word) descriptions on it. Tear each of the descriptions off the sheet and place them in Styrofoam cups. Label the cups. Labels might include concepts, themes (a theme doesn’t have to be a concept – a color can be a theme), characters, locations, actions/activities, wardrobe, props, etc. You want at least four cups – and probably not more than about 6-8.

You can also divide a sheet of paper into columns or use an Excel spreadsheet and use the labels as column headers.

The descriptions don’t have to be related to any specific idea you’ve had before – or to anything really. Just let random things come to mind.

A few examples…

Props – cigarette holder, horse, crystal ball, sword, plow

Locations – river, castle, ghost town, nightclub, alley

Themes – dirt, red, triangle, fog, mediaeval

And so on…

Nothing is too off-the-wall to write down.

These are just examples. Don’t stop with five words per category. Keep going. Work on one category at a time. Try to get 50-100 words in most of the categories.  (You probably won’t have nearly that many concepts. Concepts are the end result of the process.)

Maybe the above words suggest a photo of you riding a white horse across a river in the fog. Or a Lady Godiva concept. Or a fortune-teller dressed in red in a nightclub. (No, I didn’t already have those ideas when I wrote the words a few minutes ago.)

If an idea doesn’t quite do it for you, change it. Maybe a fortune teller in a darkish room, sitting at a table that’s covered with royal blue velvet.

If you use a sheet of paper with columns, there will be one word in each column for each row. Sometimes the words in a row (or some of them) will produce some interesting combinations. Sometimes they’re unrealistic – but the combinations may suggest other ideas (change one of the words). You can let your mind work on an unrealistic combination for a day or two and possibly come up with a change that would make it realistic.

If you’re using cups, draw one slip of paper from each of three cups. If the three suggest a photo idea, write it down. If not, leave the words on your table for a day or two.

Just look at the words 2-3 times a day. Otherwise, don’t think about them. Let your mind wander – and see what comes to mind when you’re least expecting it.

If nothing viable comes to mind in 2-3 days, draw another word from one of the other cups – or start over. If you end up with seven words on your table, you can mix and match them into various combinations. You don't have to incorporate all of them into an idea. Often 1-3 descriptions will be enough.

Try it. And give it time to work.

May 18 13 04:33 pm Link

Photographer

Kalen Lea

Posts: 119

Raleigh, North Carolina, US

I hit roadblocks ALL the time.

http://browse.deviantart.com/photography/people/

Look through the different categories of "people and portraits", to the left and see if you find anything inspiring.

Hope that helps!

EDIT: I'm not saying copy ideas, but this usually helps me think of ideas of my own.

May 18 13 05:19 pm Link

Model

Alabaster Crowley

Posts: 8265

Tucson, Arizona, US

Check out some lists. I think mine is pretty great, but it's mostly alternative stuff so if you're not into that it might not be for you. I just added one of yours, too.

http://www.modelmayhem.com/list/493365

May 18 13 06:56 pm Link