If you ever find yourself in a bit of a creative rut and have a hard time coming up with new and fresh ideas for your work, I’ve got a method that has helped me out: self-assignments. You can assign yourself in many different ways, and be as hard or as easy on yourself as you want. The important thing is that you challenge your own creativity in an effort to bring about new ideas and thoughts for your work.
Over the weekend, I decided to challenge myself to go out and shoot in downtown San Diego with my camera and only one lens. So I packed my shoulder bag with my D90 and a Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 lens and set out to the Gaslamp. The challenge was that I couldn’t be lazy. If I wanted to be closer than the 35mm focal length would get me, then I had to move. That affords me to see things that I might not have seen because I would have normally relied on the other lenses in my camera bag.
You can challenge yourself with a particular subject – like buildings, windows, doors, light fixtures, leaves, and the list goes on and on. You can apply it to all categories of photography too. Landscapes, portraits, products, nature, architecture – it doesn’t really matter. What DOES matter is that you’re out and about with your camera in hand, making pictures based on your self-assignment.
Challenge yourself creatively and see the results. Force yourself to hone your skills and stay sharp with your craft. Your images will improve and your creative juices will flow like a river into an ocean.