Breaking the Creative Block.....


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Nov 18, 2013
At one time, when video and stills were part of my services, I would get my employees gathered once a month and do a creative round table. I'd set the topic and then we would story board the concept into a producible video or stills shoot. I find that when isolated from creative types it is harder to break through a creative block (which I am in now for a series of youtube videos I want to create).

Being retired I am a one-man-band (figuratively and actually) do all creative aspects of this project. From the writing, to shooting the video, post on the video, and music creation (all things I've done in the past at some point for hard cash).

Here are somethings I do to break creative blocks:
1. go to an art museum or galleries.
2. list to particular type of music (depends on the project for what type).
3. look at photo books
4. Surf the net
5. Walk my small forest or sit by the creek (love that sound)
6. Take a long drive to the mountains or the coast
7. talk to some of the creatives I know

What do you do when you have a creative block?


Mu-43 Top Veteran
May 18, 2020
David Lynch has talked about how having daily routine and habit help him be more creative:

Maybe, as a photographer, routine and habit also means using the same gear over and over.

I think if you are a fan of other artists and you enjoy other people's work, you will get ideas eventually. It could be from a gallery or a book or online. I think ideas in art don't come out of nowhere. They always come from somewhere.

Maybe you can try revisiting your own work too. Maybe you are not satisfied and want to re-edit them. Even the post-processing can be very different. What is captured by the camera is only a starting point. Maybe there are photos you previously dismissed that you realize you can make something out of. Or maybe the old photos remind of ideas you had back then that you still haven't yet fully realized.

Also remember what you are passionate about, what is it you want to say about something. For example, the reason I bought my first camera was because I was obsessed with skyscrapers, and urban development issues continues to drive my work as a photographer. It's not just photography for the sake of photography.

You can set a topic, but if that topic is not your passion, maybe it won't help. Same with a walk in the forest. Is the forest what you really enjoy the most outside of photography? Maybe it's something else. Maybe it's a walk on a beach. Maybe it's a walk in New York City.

I think the most important thing is not to get too comfortable. You can see this with a lot of successful artists. They become successful, then they try to repeat their success. They no longer try to push themselves or expand their own boundaries. They just start playing it safe, and creativity is ultimately about taking risks.


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Apr 24, 2018
SF Bay Area, California, USA
I look as as much stuff as I can, because I never know where the idea will spring from.
Sometimes I see something that breaks through a barrier in my mind.

In the past, I ignored the art museums, as old fashioned.
Then my photo teacher made a museum review a part of the class, so I HAD to go.
And I'll be danged, I learned stuff.

Looking at paintings was like a kick in the butt. It is an image, just like a photo. Composition is composition. Color is color.
The advantage the painter had, is he can easily not include an bothersome object, whereas it is more difficult for us with a camera. And if they don't like the color of something in the scene, they just use a different color paint.

Looking at late 1800/early 1900 pics got me interested in a different type of subject, that I want to try, SLOW moving water. Although to do that today requires something like a 10-stop ND filter, to get the SLOW shutter speeds of the past.

Something I was taught before.
Don't just "shoot the usual postcard pic."
Move around, left/right, up/down, close/far, etc. to look for a different perspective of the same subject, to make it different and interesting.
Don't just stay in the parking lot, get out on the trail.

Find a group of people where you can do a video meeting.
As you did in the past, sometimes a different person with their unique experience and point of view is needed to bring a fresh viewpoint in.

John M Flores

Super Moderator
Jan 7, 2011
I want to continually evolve as a photographer, so getting new inputs is critical.

Other people's art inspires me to look at the world in new ways, which ultimately affects how I take photos. So I look for art that challenges me and my preconceived notions about what is "good." I am often asking myself what thought processes got the artist to where they created a piece of work, what life perspectives informed their work, and how I can use that nes knowledge to inform my own work.

And then, after the "why? " of their motivations comes the "how?" of their technique.

Thanks for starting this thread.


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Nov 18, 2013
A Adam's showing is coming to our main museum (I've seen his work many times) and I might just go to see "Moon Rise" again, always inspires....
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