So, you want to do some photography, but your mind draws a blank and you can’t think straight. It’s a mental lapse just like writer’s block. As a photographer you’re in a creative rut and have to overcome it to pre-visualize the photos you want to capture, so what do you do? Well here are ten photography tips to get your brain started.

10 Photography Tips to Get Your Brain Started

Every photographer will experience a creative rut at some point, but if you follow the 10 photography tips to get your brain started in this article, you can overcome this dilemma .

Take Time for Yourself

First, take time for yourself, whether it’s yoga or a warm bath. The idea is to clear your mind before you populate it with ideas. Think of this time as a brain reset button for your future photography mindset. Like an aquarium water change or fresh clothes out of the dryer, the concept is simple, you’ve got to cleanse your mind and get rid of the clutter.

Photography Jog

Take a jog to make your blood flow throughout your body.

Blood Circulation

Once the clutter’s gone, you got to get your mental gears to turn and one way to do that is for your blood to circulate in that brain. So, stand up and stretch, touch those toes, stretch like you’re getting ready for a good sprint. Now that you’ve stretched those muscles, walk outside or if you prefer, take a jog and observe what you see.

Look at how light strikes the building, the trees, the cars and other objects around you. Teach yourself to Learn to See and Feel the Light in Photography.

Suck it all In

As your blood flows, you must stimulate your creative mind before you go back inside. So, find a rest spot then drink some water and watch the people and things around you. Don’t stare or gawk, just suck it all in as you rest while your body cools down.

Take Notes

Once you’ve had a little bit of that “me time,” head out to the local library or book store. Walk the isles and notice the popular book covers plus their designs. Take note of other’s creativity. If you see something you like or don’t like, ask yourself, “How can I make it better?”

Head Out to an Art Gallery

Still need a bit more inspiration, then head out to an art gallery. Study what you see, look at the techniques each artist used to create their artwork. Notice how the lights and darks intermix, or the chiaroscuro used to create the depth and illusions in their art work.

Observe the subject matter each artist captured. Look for “form” in the artwork itself. Make mental notes then jot them down in your phone’s notepad.

Get Rid of Distractions

When you arrive home, get rid of any distractions. Put your smartphone on silent and place it facedown to avoid social media urges. While it’s still fresh in your mind, transfer what you wrote in your phone in a notebook. Use bullet statements and leave space between so you can expand on them further, but don’t do that just yet.

Lifestyle Model Photo

Sometimes all it takes is a simple walk to motivate your mind.

Make the Environment Lively

First you must make the atmosphere a bit lively, so open up the blinds and let some light in. Turn on some music and adjust it to a comfortable audio level. The idea is to get in that groove like when you drive down a road and you no longer hear the sound — that’s the atmosphere you want to build in your mind.


Once the atmosphere is conducive, expand your bullet statements, doodle if you must, but expand those observations. Pencil-sketch a storyboard about a future shoot. Write down any details underneath your creative sketch.

The concept is to brainstorm and put it on paper while your creative mind flows. These notes and storyboards come in handy on your shoot day, especially if your brain farts that day. You’ll be surprised how these sketches and story ideas will get your creative juices to flow again — in fact, this process will provide starting points for your photography.

Don’t Let it Scare You

Storyboards are common in television production, and they’re just as common in the advertising world, often provided to the photographers by an art director of what the client wants the photographer to create. Don’t let drawing or sketching your ideas scare you even if you’re drawings are stick figures, as in the end, you only will showcase your best photos, not your storyboards.

If it makes a difference and you don’t like pencils, no worries, breakout the crayons, whatever works for you it doesn’t matter as long as you go through the process.


So, you emptied your brain when you took time for yourself and then refilled it because nine of the 10 photography tips to get your brain started worked, now it’s time to execute. Yes, you didn’t go through this whole process to sit on your laurels, so break out your camera and go capture your photographic concept. Do it while you’re motivated and inspired.

In the end, it’s all about the brain. There are other methods too, but hopefully these 10 photography tips to get your brain started will provide you a creative boost. They will work if you let them work, but don’t over-focus on many things, focus on one objective at a time so your creative juices can flow naturally.

Rolando Gomez is a professional photographer and author of five photography books that has traveled to 45 countries for assignments. The former soldier and U.S. Army combat photographer has taught hundreds of photography workshops for almost two decades. A 2016, 2017 and 2018 Top Writer for Quora, his partial credits include Newsweek, Parade, Playboy, Rangefinder, Maxim, Rangefinder, New York Times, Stars & Stripes, and various other publications.
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