8 ideas to rejuvenate your photography & stir your imagination


This is Diana today. How are you? 

I hope you are all well and fine in this holiday season, if indeed it’s a holiday for you where you are. 

Maybe during the holiday season you don’t have the time or inclination to take photos. But we can still spend time developing our imaginations and our creative mindset whatever we are doing, so that when you find time you are excited and full of ideas for your photography.

It’s nice to remember when we are busy that when we are being creative we inhabit a totally different world to the one that we are usually in – the one of work and busyness and looking after people. 

Today I wanted to offer you some beautiful ideas that I hope will stir your imagination, to stoke the embers of your creativity.

Spiderweb Du Gia Vietnam

1) “Take notes. Everything is copy” Nora Ephron

I recently watched the Netflix documentary The Creative Brain, which gave a really interesting take on the creative process – looking at it from a neuroscience perspective. 

What fascinated me the most was learning that – and I am distilling some more complex ideas into a very basic form here – from a scientific point of view creativity is made from the unique way that the human brain works: that it starts with the act of having multiple diverse ‘inputs’ coming into your brain.

These ‘inputs’ are everything in the world around us that mixes with our ideas, experiences, feelings, moods, thoughts, memories, visual stimuli etc. 

Because our brains are bigger than other animals’, we have the opportunity to analyse these inputs, to not just react to them.

And it is this multitude of inputs coming into our brains, smashing against each other, that we take in and contemplate, look and analyse in a way that is totally unique to each person, that creates the ideas and vision that form the foundation of creativity.

Thus, when the writer Nora Ephron wrote that ‘everything is copy’, meaning everything she did, saw and experienced could end up as material for her writing – it means that we do have the same ability to use what happens around us to feed our ideas for photography.

We can use everything in our world as subjects, and everything in our world for inspiration. 

Woman with umbrella Du Gia Vietnam

2) We are all innately creative – you just might have forgotten that

The human mind is built for creativity because of our how our brains are built. 

We have millions of ‘inputs’ – and the ability to reflect, digest and contemplate these inputs is what gives us the material for creativity.

If our brains are intrinsically able to be creative, it then means that there isn’t anyone on this planet who does not have this exquisite ability to make things. 

So anytime you are thinking:  I am just not a creative person! Remember that the science tells us that just by having a human brain, you have the ability to be creative.

Sunrise over Du Gia Vietnam

3) We need the mystery and beauty of making things

There is something in being creative and immersing ourselves in the creativity of others that nourishes a part of ourselves that nothing else seems to. 

Perhaps because our brains are built to question, explore, ruminate and generate ideas, we need to use that part of ourselves in order to feel whole and complete. 

To be having a creative practice is as essential for me as taking long walks, having fun with my kids or having deep conversations with friends. It brings something wondrous that is impossible to quantify, but easy to feel when I am doing it. 

I agree with Pablo Picasso when he said: 

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” 

Gulls in Fog Istanbul Turkey

4) “Inspiration exists but it has to find you working.” Pablo Picasso

Building a strong creative practice is like using a muscle; we need to do it regularly because it just gets easier and easier when we keep that part of ourselves alive and working.

When we move our ‘creativity muscle’ every day it gets stronger and more limber. 

But we also do it because if we want to feel that magnetic and exhilarating sensation of inspiration, we have to be doing something creative to allow it to strike.

5) When we are creative we explore the extraordinary beauty of the ordinary

When I read or see or hear things that focus not on the most exotic things in our worlds, but instead celebrate what is here with us in the everyday, it helps me to stop and pay attention:

“Within the mystery of life there is the infinite darkness of the night sky lit by distant orbs of fire, the cobbled skin of an orange that releases its fragrance to our touch, the unfathomable depths of the eyes of our lover. No creation story, no religious system can fully describe or explain this richness and depth. Mystery is so every-present that no one can know for certain what will happen one hour from now. ” Jack Kornfield

6) Untether yourself from the idea of doing

“So you see, imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and sputtering.”  Brenda Ueland

There is I think such a misconception that being creative is a similar process to working or doing the other things us adults are required to do.

But creativity comes from a very different place – and requires your mind to have freedom from that achievement-based way of thinking. 

Whilst having a regular habit of being creative is important, so too should our life include the rejuvenating and inspiring activities of drifting, day-dreaming and getting lost in whatever ways that feed our imagination.

Sunrise over Du Gia Vietnam

7) Photography is magic 

Even though I am not a photographer, I find photography to be a magical medium. I think in all honesty I married Anthony partly for his ability to create such beautiful photographs. 

(I know this to be true because when he first showed me some of his photos, and I didn’t like that particular project, I wondered to myself – Can I continue to go out with you, even though I don’t like your photos? Thankfully he showed me more of his work, which I loved, and I gave myself permission to continue to date him.)

I spend hours with Anthony’s photos, and looking at other people’s photos. In a way that music can take you to places emotionally and in your imagination and you are not sure where that is, or why, that’s what photography does for me. 

“I believe in the photographer’s magic — the ability to stir the soul with light and shape and colour. To create grand visual moments out of small and simple things, and to infuse big and complicated subjects with unpretentious elegance. He respects classic disciplines, while at the same time insists on being fast, modern and wild.” Amyn Nasser

Sunrise over valley Vietnam

8) Creativity brings new dimensions to the world

When we are being creative we are working in a realm away from the 24-hour news cycle, the fractious emotions of politics, the exhaustion of life. 

This is rejuvenating for the mind and soul in and of itself. 

With our creative practices we can move and inspire people, we can show them new places and new ideas. It’s an exciting time to be creative because nowadays we have so many ways to share what we have made.

It’s an honour and a joy to be creative.

But also because…

“The painter has the universe in his mind and hands.” Leonardo da Vinci

I hope some of these ideas and have sparked something interesting for you. If you have any thoughts please let me know in the comments below. 

Have a wonderful day,