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How to Choose the Right Domain Name

Your domain name is a super important part of your blogging identity. You want to choose something memorable and distinct – not always the easiest combination to arrive at. Today’s blogger has some great advice for choosing that perfect name that suits you and your blog! How to Choose the Right Domain Name Are you […]

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The SITS Girls

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5 ways to jump-start your creativity

As a photographer, you know there are ups and downs along the journey.

There are times you feel wildly inspired and the miles zip by. There are other times when you’ve hit a plateau, the flat road stretching out endlessly in front of you. Sometimes the hills are steep, and it’s slow-going.

In the worst times, it can feel like you’re just sitting on the side of the road with a dead battery, watching everyone else fly by, hoping for some little spark of inspiration to come along and get you moving again.

Here are five tips to help you jump-start your creativity and keep it rolling.

5 ways to jump-start your creativity

1. Cultivate your curiosity

  • Brainstorm a list of things/topics that interest you
  • Expand an Idea
  • Develop a Personal Project

Ask yourself: “What interests me?” The key to brainstorming is to write down ANYTHING that comes to mind, without judgement. Start with general topics (e.g. Birds, Swimming, Horses, Twins, Coming of Age, My Kids…)

Next, you can edit, refine, and dig deeper into each topic. Ask yourself: What specifically interests me about this topic? What do I want to know about it? Again, without judging, jot down a stream-of-consciousness list of short answers (or further questions).

Here’s an example of one of mine:

Twins – uniqueness and sameness, closeness, How do they play together? What does this special relationship look like on a day-to-day basis? Shared: touches, glances, laughs…

Then take your camera, and use it to explore your topic, learn more about it, document it, and tell a story. See where it leads you. This process may turn into a fascinating project on its own, or it may lead you to something unexpected. Go with it.

black and white photo of two boys sharing an apple by Meghan McMackin

2. Let the masters inspire you

Here’s a short list of some of my favorites (in no particular order) to get you started:

  • Henri Cartier-Bresson
  • Annie Leibovitz
  • Sally Mann
  • Mary Ellen Mark
  • Edward Steichen
  • Jodi Cobb
  • Alessandra Sanguinetti
  • Dorthea Lange
  • Irving Penn
  • Walker Evans

I’ve recently discovered a treasure trove of inspiration by seeking out “the masters”.  Last month, I checked out a stack of coffee table photography books so big and heavy that it took me three trips to carry them all to my car.

The beauty of this research is that often, you can see a large body of one artist’s work in one place. You can also read about how a photographer’s life experiences influenced different periods of their work. You can see how they consistently evolve, and how their style changes over tiime. They experiment. And they sometimes fail (at least in the eyes of their contemporary critics).

For me, It’s a helpful reminder that it’s okay to change styles, try something different, experiment, and yes, even fail along the way.

black and white pic of two boys outdoors by Meghan McMackin

3. Carve out space

  • Clear the Clutter
  • Have Inspiration Handy
  • Light a Candle
  • Grab a Notebook or Journal

Make yourself room to work. This does not have to be a major project. It can be as simple as cleaning your desk, stacking some inspirational books, and lighting a candle. Make sure you have a good notebook or journal nearby for writing down inspired ideas.

Don’t have a desk? Organize your bedside table so that you wake up feeling inspired.

photo of toddler boys eating by Meghan McMackin

4. Build a creative routine

  • Find a Little Time
  • Include Self-Care
  • Make Coffee or Tea
  • Separate Creative Work Time from Email and Social Media
  • Repeat

Pablo Picasso said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Carve out daily time for work so that inspiration knows where and when to find you. Including some aspect of self-care in your routine goes a long way to helping you feel more centered and receptive when inspiration shows up.

As a mother of three young kids, I’ve found the only way to make this happen for me is to wake up early. I’m not naturally a morning person, but having the time to myself to work (and getting to drink my coffee while it’s still hot) is more than worth it.

bedside table photo by Meghan McMackin

close up picture of a blue flower by Meghan McMackin

5. Try something new and PLAY

Finally, sometimes it’s fun to just play with your camera and not worry about the results. If you’re doing something for the first time, there’s much less pressure to do it well.

For me, this is key, because I have a strong tendency towards perfectionism (just ask my mom about the first drawing I made of my face, and the ensuing tantrum when I realized that it didn’t look like me.)

Here are some ideas:

  • Try a new genre: Always shoot people? Try landscape or macro.
  • Do a creativity exercise: There’s a great resource on the CM forum with so many ideas, it would probably take you years to get through all of them.
  • Follow a prompt: Join the fun with CM Glimpse, or just google “photography prompt”.
  • Use a specialty lens: Rent or borrow a Lensbaby, a tilt-shift, a fish-eye…or try freelensing!

Below are my first shots with a Lensbaby. They are far from “perfect”, but the process was fun, and that was the point.

black and white Lensbaby photo of boy climbing a tree by Meghan McMackin

Lensbaby picture of boy eating a popsicle by meghan McMackin

Resources

This post was largely inspired by two wonderful books:

Now who wants to win an Acrylic Photo Block from WhiteWall? ($ 66.95 value)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Clickin Moms

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Photographers: Becoming the Lead Dog

Picture

Going through some old files, I found this shot I grabbed at the beach one day.  I don’t know who gets credit for the quote or the company who made the t-shirt. I’ll also admit it borders on pathetic when inspiration for a blog post comes from a t-shirt at the beach. LOL

However, it’s a great line, and it makes a great point. To grow as an artist as well as business owner, you have to take some risks. You have to step out of the box and change your view. You have to look at what all your competitors are doing and then do something different.

  • Do you need to diversify in your specialty? There are logical connections no matter what your specialty might be. A wedding photographer has a great segue to babies, children, family, and pets. Family portrait artists have a logical link to just about anything involving people. Commercial artists, even table top specialists, have a great connection to business headshots and better support for your clients, and the list goes on and on.
  • Do you need to ramp up your blog posts? Becoming the lead dog and attracting more readership to your blog might be as easy as being more consistent in how often you post. Posting once every full moon isn’t going to do it, but building a stash of posts in advance so you can be out there at least twice a week, might be what you need.
  • Offering something different in your services/product mix might set you apart. For example, bringing in a large format printer might give you access to different services to offer clients, along with instant fulfillment of their printing needs, especially for publicity images. And, if you just want to offer big prints with great quality, right up to poster size, check out Marathon Press and their new Bella Art Prints.
  • Are you involved in the community and do people know about it? You don’t have to brag about what you’re doing to help a community program or non-profit, just write a few blog posts about their events. Become known as somebody who gives back.

There you have it – four easy ideas to help you step out from the masses and stop looking like everybody else. If you take an hour and sit down and brainstorm a little I’m betting you’ll find dozens of things you can do differently to help you get that lead dog view!


SkipCohenUniversity – SCU Blog

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Ship Prow-like Structures Atop An Uniden Canvas Gallery Wrap 18×24 Photo On Canvas

Ship Prow-like Structures Atop An Uniden Canvas Gallery Wrap 18×24 Photo On Canvas


Ship prow-like structures atop an uniden” is an art print by Alfred Eisenstaedt from The Life Picture Collection. Get photo prints of “Ship prow-like structures atop an uniden” in a variety of frames, styles, and materials. Photographer Bio Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995), or Eisie to those who knew him, received his first camera as a gift from his uncle at 14, a few years after moving to Berlin from Poland with his family. At 17, he was drafted to the German army. His interest in photography blossomed while recovering from a shrapnel wound. He became a regular at museums, studying light and composition. By 31, he was a full-time photographer. In 1933 he was sent to Italy where he shot the first meeting between Hitler and Mussolini. Two years later, when Hitler came to power, Eisie immigrated to America. Soon after arriving in New York, he was hired along with three other photographers-Margaret Bourke-White, Thomas McAvoy and Peter Stackpole-by Time Inc. founder Henry Luce for a secret start-up venture known as “Project X.” Six months later, Life magazine premiered on November 23, 1936. The first issue sold for 10 cents and featured five pages of Eisie’s pictures. His most famous photo was the kiss in Times Square on V-J day, about which he said, “I was running along the street grabbing any and every girl in sight. Whether she was a grandmother, stout, thin, old, didn’t make any difference. None of the pictures that were possible pleased me. Then, suddenly in a flash I saw something white being grabbed. I turned and clicked the moment the sailor kissed the nurse.” Over his career, Eisie shot a total of nearly 100 covers for Life magazine and some 10,000 prints. The Life Picture Collection From one of the most iconic magazines ever to hit the shelves comes The Life Collection – an archive of some of the most recognizable imagery of the 20th Century. Documenting events in politics, culture, celebrity, the arts and the American experience, these compelling and provocative photographs include the works of some of the greatest photographers capturing some of the greatest moments in history.

Price: $
Sold by Photos.com by Getty Images

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How To Optimize Blog Posts For Today’s Reader

Writing a blog post that sustains the interest of today’s reader is a challenge. You have about fifteen seconds to capture the interest of the average reader, according to data from Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile. We are accustomed to getting our information quickly and easily, and there are thousands of other bloggers competing for that coveted few minutes of […]

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The SITS Girls

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