I've been trying out different things with my photography and digital imaging lately, so I would like to share a few tips. Some of these new methods and techniques have really helped me expand my creative horizons. 

Mid-Century parking structure, downtown San Diego
Mid-Century parking structure, downtown San Diego

1. Explore your town or city

This tip might seem obvious, but have you really seen all that can be seen in your city or town? One of my recent photo goals is to explore and take photos of parking garages in downtown San Diego. I've been having a lot of fun taking photos of some amazing cars, vistas, and architectural styles around these structures. San Diego has some really interesting parking structures, and one that's mid-century modern style architecture. 

2. Assign yourself a project

Giving yourself a photographic project is an ideal way to expand your digital creativity. Doing this helps you focus in on something specific, and gets you thinking a specific way creatively. I've been participating in the Instagram weekend hashtag projects. Instagram's projects typically feature a particular subject.  Recent weekend projects have included "Futuristic" (#WHPfuturistic), "Make Believe" (#WHPmakebelieve), and "Abstract" (#WHPabstract) to name a few. These projects really have helped me expand my photographic styles and creativity. I wrote about the weekend hashtag project in my post, 7 Tips How to Up Your Instagram Game.

Toy car scene with bokeh effects in the background
Toy car scene with bokeh effects in the background (ISO 2000, F2.0, 1/30th Sec.)

3. Use objects in your images

In a recent project, I use a toy car and place it in various scenes in the city. I use my Fuji X100T for these photos as it is renown for its ultra-high F2.0 aperture. This alllows for a very shallow depth of field with nice bokeh effects in the background. The X100T excels with high ISOs and minimal noise, so it's ideal for hand-held image captures in low light. Another thing I've been wanting to try along these lines is taking photos with a crystal ball in the scene. From the looks of it, you can get some really nice and fun effects (link to 500px).

4. Get inspiration from others

I've been spending a lot of my free time on Instagram. I'm continually amazed at the amount of awe-inspiring images. I find that I will see an image and it will give me ideas for a new photo series. Here are some of my favorite hubs and people I follow. 

Hotel in Bankers Hill, San Diego
Hotel in Bankers Hill, San Diego

People

Hubs

5. Buddy-Up

Whenever I go out to take photos, my wife usually accompanies me and this is always fun. The added benefit of taking photos with someone else is that each person can point out potential photo opportunities to the other person, or give instant feedback by viewing the captured digital images.

We often joke that my wife plays "Art Director" for me and it's actually true. She often sees something along the way that I might have missed that ends up as a great photo. So my advice is find a buddy, friend, or significant other and go take pictures with them. You'll be surprised what you might learn from the other person and the creative give and take that occurs.

Summary

As you can see, there are a lot of possibilities to expand your creative horizons photographically. This is just the tip of the iceberg. One thing that's important is to make notes when you get an idea so you don't forget about it. I like to use Evernote for things like this. I tend to keep lists of ideas in Evernote, since you can access Evernote from your smartphone or computer and it will automatically sync up. I recently wrote a post about managing Instagram hashtags with Evernote.

 

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