YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! It’s a phrase that’s supposed to be inspiring, but sometimes the more I hear it the more horrifying it sounds. I can do anything…anything…? If we have anything and everything to choose from, how are we supposed to choose?
I was just talking with a friend about this–how infinite possibility often leaves me feeling lost, creatively speaking. And totally uninspired.
But I’ve found that sometimes when I’m in a dry creative spell all I really need is a set of limitations, to at least narrow things down enough to give myself a starting point.
So here are some things to help you find that starting point: 4 ways to set limitations that spark creativity.
1. Find an assignment. An easy way to do this is to look at a “calls for exhibitions” list like this one. Do any of the themes sound interesting or challenging? Choose one and use it as inspiration for your next project…bonus points if you actually submit your work to the call when you’re finished.
2. Get better at using what you already have. I understand there’s something to be said for the inspiration that can strike with a new tool or piece of gear, but listen up: you don’t need a new piece of gear. I promise you. You don’t need a 36 MP DSLR or a 1.2 lens or a different light mod. Look at what you’ve got, limit yourself to one camera and one lens and one light source and ask yourself how you can use it differently than you have before, what do you still have to learn?
3. Turn to another medium. Looking at other photographers’ work can be inspiring, but other times it can lead to a “why aren’t I that good/creative/accomplished?” pity fest. So I find it helpful to look outside photography. Choose one movie or book and challenge yourself to create something inspired by the story or imagery or mood. See what it stirs in you.
4. Choose one place: a trail or city street and take a nice long walk. Go ALONE, no headphones, put your phone on silent. Let your mind wander. Good stuff will happen.
Creativity is one of my favorite things to talk about, so I’d love to hear about what helps you be more creative, and if setting limitations for yourself has helped you in the past.