I've spent the last year now working hard to better my shooting techniques. From composition to lighting and everything that makes a photograph worth looking at. Despite my efforts, I found myself lacking something. My pictures were pretty yes, but were they interesting? Unique? Not quite anything special in my opinion. I battled this dilemma by experimenting in different genre's of photography including portraiture and off camera flash. While this satisfied my need to try out different things and keep myself inspired, it didn't solve my problem. I realized recently that while all of my pictures are improving technically they are lacking creativity. Now, I shoot primarily landscapes as it is what I personally enjoy but I began to research ways to force myself to expand my creative perspective.
One of the first things I did when trying to expand my horizon was literally changing my horizon line. We are taught to place your horizon line through the center of the frame. When we move that line either up or down it creates an entirely new perspective of the scene. Play with your placement and see what works for that specific shot.
TIMES OF DAY
Another thing I have been playing is with the time of day I'm shooting. Sunset or golden hour are obvious choices because it requires no extra effort to get up early and you get beautiful natural light. However, dragging yourself out of bed for sunrise is always a special treat. What we are told is never to shoot in harsh mid day light. Well I've not only begun shooting in harsh mid day light, but I've also been shooting long exposure with a 10-stop filter. It's given me some beautiful photos and has also forced me to really take my time being sure that there is no glare or reflection from the sun. So get out there during a time you're not used to shooting and give it a shot!
As a landscape photographer I have a true appreciation for Mother Nature and the natural world. I try my best to represent an image as close as I can to what I experienced with my naked eye. I've always hated photoshop and composing images to create a photo that isn't really a photo but more of a digital creation. That being said, I have so much respect for the art of digital media and photoshopping. Try getting creative with your editing process to see what you can come up with. There is nothing wrong with composing and creating an image that you conjure in your mind, just always be sure to be up front about your editing process and do not lead people to believe you have captured an image that you actually created.
We all love a good black and white photograph but the art of film photography itself has seemingly gotten lost amongst the advances of digital imaging. Not often, but once in a while I will take out my old Nikon film camera and shoot some good old 35mm. This forces us to engage more with the camera, our environment, and our subject. There is no editing in Lightroom or Photoshop (for the most part) so you really need to make an effort to get the shot you want in camera. It brings us back to the primitive art of photography and really working with compositions and different techniques. If you don't have a film camera you can grab one for cheap on Ebay! Though don't be shocked at the high cost of film. Processing the film is also quite inexpensive for the most part. You can also always scan in the negative's so that you have them saved on your computer.
These are just a few ways of many to really try and push your creativity when it come to photography. Don't forget that you can always change your subject matter or genre. The world of photography and art is limitless if you just open your mind to trying new techniques and compositions!