Ever feel like your creativity is  at a standstill?  Something got it on hold?  The common belief is that creative or mental blocks come from trying too hard to actually be creative.  So, how can we stop trying to hard?  It’s not that we should stop trying per se. It’s more that we need to stop trying to make every image a powerful image.  Being playful often starts with just laughing at yourself.  Seriously…laugh at yourself.  Do something stupid or silly.  That becomes infectious and can move you forward to play, which in turn will spark your creativity!.

In being playful with your work, it’s often even more helpful to put down the tripods, and SLR’s.  Put down the lenses and filters. Put down the soft boxes and fill flashes.  Being playful means letting go of the “rules” of photography.  I’m reading David DuChemin’s book, The Inspired Eye and in it, he speaks to this idea that that inspiration can come from play.

Some ideas from David include taking a day and try taking pictures whenever the mood hits.  Even if you are shooting through wet glass, or in a moving car.  Take a picture with your focus ring taped down.  The softness from the out of focus shot can force you to look at something more generic like the lines and energy of a scene.  It really is inspired capture that David is going for here, and that can definitely come from play.

One of my favorite images from my own library is a niece – I was literally playing.  I wasn’t expecting anything great, or show-stopper quality.  Just goofing around.  I was laughing and being silly, and so was she.  I took the camera to ridiculous angles, knowing it wouldn’t work (or so I thought).  Just goes to show you the power of play in photography:

Laughing

The upshot?  Take time to play – only good things can come from it!

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