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20 ways to develop creativity

20 ways to develop creativity and inspiration

We are all creative; it can be developed, amplified and honed because we all have the ability to be creative. Some practise it more than others so find it easier to be creative. Below is a list of 20 things you can do to develop and encourage your creativity. Don’t do them all at once, pick a couple at a time, then add more as you progress.

  1. Believe that you are creative
    Everyone has the potential to be creative, the difference is that some actually believe it.  Pay attention to self–commentary, “I’m just not creative.” Years of this, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  2. Do new things – create stimulus opportunities
    Is this you?
    Do you do the same things every day? Take the same route to work, read the same newspaper and listen to the same radio station? You rarely go out of your way to try new things, meet new people or go to new places?
  3. Break habits
    If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. Our own habits often keep us from being more creative, the more you follow a set pattern the less opportunities you have to improvise. You are responsible for your own experience.
  4. Make time to be creative
    Grow your creativity; sleep on ideas, take time out from work, home or your busy schedule to allow yourself to be creative.
  5. Create the right environment
    Quite, noisy, busy, peaceful find out what works best for you to stimulate ideas and your imagination.
  6. Stretch your comfort zone regularly and deliberately
    Push your limits and your personal development.
  7. Observe what’s around you
    Look at marketing campaigns, other photographers, model’s work, buy magazines on high fashion or house and gardens or similar high end magazines to stimulate your thoughts and ideas.
  8. Experiment
    Try new photographic techniques, if you do glamour mostly, try some still life; read up about it, research it. There’s many ideas that come from cross-pollination.
  9. Have an open mind
    Don’t dismiss things or think negatively, it’s self-defeating and infectious. Surround yourself with positive people, distance yourself from negative people.
  10. Learn from failures
    Why did it fail, what aspects did work, why did they work. What could be improved, adapted, changed to make it better? Wrong is a step closer towards the right.
  11. Be collaborative with other creative people
    Creativity is infectious; surround yourself with like minded people.
  12. Make things fun
    Shoots should be relaxed and fun, put on music, make time for chat, inspiration and ideas come from a fun and stress free environment.
  13. Find a mentor
    Find someone you admire and/or is good at what they do, whatever their chosen field.
  14. Be reflective
    What’s working well with your photography, what needs improving? What’s working well with other people’s photography, what needs improving?
  15. Enrol on courses, workshops, self-development
    Study not only the things you like, challenge yourself to discover things about subjects you don’t want to photography. I hate photographing weddings, so I go and learn about weddings, it’s surprising what tips, hints and ideas you pick up.
  16. Don’t follow the rules
    Tear down the often arbitrary rules that others impose, such as don’t chop off tops of people’s heads, the rule of thirds, set the white balance to the light source.
  17. Find a new prop every week
    Car boot sales are the king of props! Very soon you’ll be doing your own car boot sale to sell back all the props you’ve purchased and used.
  18. Impose a self-limit or theme
    Set yourself a theme or limit. Walk 5 steps and shoot a single frame, walk another 5 steps, shoot another frame and so on. Look for a chosen colour and shoot it wherever you see it, choose a shape and shoot it.
  19. Write things down
    Carry a notepad and pen or something to capture your thoughts and ideas. I use the notes facility on my iPhone and then email them to myself from my phone to pick up at home later.
  20. Start a scrapbook
    Create an ideas file, either electronically or on paper. Review it regularly and combine ideas, styles and themes to evolve new ones.
  • Adopt at least two or three of the ideas from the list above and put them into practise, then adopt a couple more and so on until they become habits.


“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after growing up.”
– Pablo Picasso

“Innovate don’t imitate.”
– John Tisbury