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7 Helpful Ideas to Break Out of a Creative Rut

7 Helpful Ideas to Break Out of a Creative Rut

Creative ruts are something we all go through at one time or another, and they can be frustrating if you are a hobbyist and downright dangerous if you are a professional whose income relies upon your ability to come up with interesting and effective ideas and content. So, what can you do when the creative juices stop flowing? This excellent video tutorial will give you seven ideas to help you get back on track. 

Coming to you from First Man Photography, this awesome video tutorial will give you seven helpful ideas to help you break out of a creative rut. The thing that has always helped me has been placing arbitrary limitations on my workflow. This can be something as simple as only shooting at f/11 for the day or only using square crops in post. The idea is not that these will somehow be a magic key to great photos, but rather that you are forcing your brain to solve the problems created by those restrictions, and in doing so, you reinvigorate your creativity and discover ideas or techniques that you can take back to your normal workflow when you lift whatever rules you have placed on yourself. Check out the video above for lots of helpful tips.

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How Boredom Can Spark Creative Ideas

How Boredom Can Spark Creative Ideas

There are few more frustrating feelings than boredom, particularly if you need to be creative for a living. However, if you can harness that and make it work for you, boredom can be the catalyst for outlandish creativity you might not have otherwise thought of.

We have all experience mini-ruts. Those times where you just cannot bring yourself to do anything, and everything you would typically do bores you. If you work in any sort of creative industry, these mental blocks can be a real nightmare. There is little said on the topic of how difficult being creative can be when you are expected to consistently churn it out, and incidentally, I’m writing an article on that at the moment. It can be an irritant at first, then it can become all-consuming frustration, and then it can potentially be dangerous if you need to be creative to earn a crust.

Over the years I have developed a number of ways that will help me turn my jaded state into a creative and inspired one, which is the source of the aforementioned coming article. To give one away, however, I will go for a walk or a run and listen to a podcast or audiobook. Music rarely brings about ideas on command for me — though I understand it probably does for most people — but listening to fiction and non-fiction does.

How do you convert your boredom into creativity?

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Creative Portrait Lighting Tips and Ideas

Creative Portrait Lighting Tips and Ideas

Once you have the basics of using artificial lighting down, you can start to really explore your creativity and develop a recognizable personal style by exploring more unique ways of using lighting. This quick and to-the-point video tutorial will give a few helpful tips and ideas for creative lighting for portraits. 

Coming to you from Manny Ortiz, this awesome video tutorial discusses some tips and ideas for using creative lighting for portraits. We usually talk about lighting in terms of how to use it to create a correct exposure and to illuminate the subject in a flattering or interesting way, but I think we do not explore how to use lighting to create interesting stylistic effects as much as we could, such as the leaves silhouette Ortiz makes in this video. Once you are comfortable with the basics of lighting your subjects, don’t be afraid to branch out into more creative scenarios like these. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Ortiz. 

And if you really want to learn about lighting for portrait photography, be sure to check out “Illuminating The Face: Lighting for Headshots and Portraits With Peter Hurley,” which is currently on sale for 20% off, along with the rest of the Fstoppers store

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6 Creative Street Photography Ideas You Can Do With Your Phone

6 Creative Street Photography Ideas You Can Do With Your Phone

Say what you will about mobile phones, their cameras have improved faster than anyone could have predicted with the blend of hardware and software upgrades, as well as a lot of innovation. In this video, watch some creative shots that can be taken with just a phone.

I first started taking my phone seriously as a camera two years ago when I didn’t want to take my long prime lens off of a camera I was reviewing. I decided to see what my phone could do as a replacement for a wide-angle setup. I was thoroughly impressed. That’s not to say it’s always right when you need a wide-angle lens, but if you don’t need a narrow depth of field and the file is unlikely to go under heavy scrutiny, post-production, or cropping, it can do a job.

The benefits of a camera phone are obvious. You more or less always have one on your person, they fit in your pocket, and they are inconspicuous. The downsides are that you can’t change the lenses, you can’t get optical narrow depth of field, and the files aren’t overly malleable. All of these downsides can be worked around in one way or another. What I found to be the most important tip for phone photography is that composition is essential if you want a good shot. This is true of most types of photography, but becomes even more important when you’re using a camera that isn’t dedicated.

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5 Top Ideas To Improve Your Coastal Photography

5 Top Ideas To Improve Your Coastal Photography

Head out to the beach in time for the sunset and shoot some coastal imagery during and after the sun has set on your seaside location for another day.

Landscape and Travel

Coastal photography


It might seem strange to be out on the beach at night with your camera but you can get some interesting pictures so delay the visit to the pub for a little longer and do some night-time coastal photography once you have your sunsets in the bag.


1. When To Shoot

The usual thinking for low light work is to shoot while there is still some colour in the sky and this helps avoid those stark black backgrounds. This is definitely good advice and helps you avoid pictures with too much light pollution, which comes out a yucky yellow and can look horrible. But after you’ve got your sunset shots, stay out after the twilight hour and continue shooting to even later.

You can try this photography at any time of the year, however you may prefer to wait until later in the year when the sunset isn’t as late so you don’t have to stay out for as long or late.


2. What To Shoot

As the sun sets, try shooting silhouettes or if the sky is particularly impressive, make this your focus. Later on, what you shoot is dependent on where you are. If you are at a traditional seaside resort with some nightlife there may be a pier and amusements that are worth shooting. On night’s that are clear and the moon is full, try shooting some seascapes decorated in moonlight.


Coastal photography

3. White Balance

The colours you get with different artificial lamps can vary, and you can get orange or green colour casts depending on the light type. Leave the camera in auto white balance and see how it copes with the light source. If you do not like the look of the results, try setting the colour temperature manually. To be honest, though, do not worry too much about weird colour casts because they can embellish the moodiness of the scene.


4. Flashguns

You could introduce your own light to close-by subjects thanks to flashguns. The flashgun on the camera hot-shoe will work fine for many scenes but beware of glare off glossy surfaces. 


5. Longer Exposures

Another way is to have the camera on the tripod, open the shutter on a long exposure setting of a few seconds or use the Bulb setting with a remote release to keep the shutter open while you fire the flash several times to light up foreground features. If you’re working on the sand do make sure your tripod is balanced and secure.  This painting with light technique is fun and will need several attempts to perfect so don’t expect to get it right straight away. When trying this technique, do not stand between the subject and the camera and fire the flash because your ghostly image will show. 


You’ve read the technique now share your related photos for the chance to win prizes: Daily Forum Competition

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10 Fun Spring Photography Ideas

10 Fun Spring Photography Ideas

Spring is here, and with the weather warming up and the outdoor world coming to life, there are numerous fun photography opportunities waiting for you. This great video will show you 10 ideas for springtime photography across a variety of genres. 

Coming to you from Maria Perez with B&H Photo and Video, this fantastic video will give you 10 fun ideas for springtime photography. No doubt, with everything blooming and the temperature warming up, it is a wonderful time to head out. Even if you are not going out for client work, just grabbing your camera and spending an afternoon on a casual photo walk can be a great way to unwind a bit and get back to the pure fun of photography. Beyond that, laid-back photography in which you are not under the constraints of client requirements is the best chance to experiment a bit creatively and try things you might not be able to otherwise. And often, it is the little ideas you experiment with and discover during these private, low-pressure sessions that end up becoming the things you implement into your professional work and become known for later on. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Perez.

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Jazz Up Your iPhone Videos With These Ideas From Apple

Jazz Up Your iPhone Videos With These Ideas From Apple

Jazz Up Your iPhone Videos With These Ideas From Apple 1

If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to shoot more engaging videos on your iPhone — or any smartphone for that matter — then check out a new video released by Apple with exactly that aim in mind.

Made in collaboration with creatives Donghoon Jun and James Thornton of Incite, the video, titled Everyday Experiments: Full Bloom, offers up lots of flower-focused ideas to take your videography skills to the next level.

Apple’s video starts off with the pair making a stop-motion movie, where you take a sequence of photos while making small adjustments to the subject in the frame. This way, you can come up with some really creative clips, with Jun and Thornton using the technique to seemingly transform fruits and veggies into flowers. And whether you have an iPhone or an Android device, the availability of stop-motion video apps like Stop Motion Studio (App Store; Google Play) means that anyone can have a go.

Moving on, the two creatives then play about with the iPhone’s slow-motion mode, experimenting with various techniques to see which produce the best results. Check out what they come up with using flowers, highlighter ink, and UV light.

More than anything, the video is a reminder to dig into your smartphone’s camera functions rather than just using the shutter button to snap a straightforward picture every time. Do you ever use the time-lapse feature, for example? Jun and Thornton achieved some pretty impressive results by simply setting up the feature for an overnight shoot and then checking back in the morning.

This isn’t the first time Apple has worked with the two photography enthusiasts. Soon after the iPhone 12 launched last year, for example, Jun and Thornton produced their first Everyday Experiments video offering suggestions on how to make your iPhone videos more eye-catching. Like the pair’s most recent effort, the video also made use of the iPhone’s slow-motion mode, while also highlighting its Night Mode and macro capabilities.

Oh, and be sure to check out this Apple video, too, featuring some inspiring ideas on how to make your video clips look more like something out of a Hollywood movie.

Editors’ Recommendations

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16 Top Town & City Photography Ideas To Get The Mind Thinking

16 Top Town & City Photography Ideas To Get The Mind Thinking



A city or town offers a photographer a plethora of potential photographic subjects, making them a great location for an afternoon, morning or even a whole weekend of photography.

To give you some inspiration next time you’re out in a city with your camera, we’ve put together a list of 16 top photographic subjects you can find in a city / town, plus links to top tutorials that’ll help you perfect your shots of them. But first, let’s take a look at some of the kit you may want to consider taking next time you’re off for a photography walk around a city’s streets. 



What Gear Will I Need?

Telephoto Zoom Lens

Of course, you’re going to need a camera and this can be anything from a DSLR to a smaller compact. If you’re planning on taking some shots after the sun has set you may want to consider carrying a support, particularly if you’re going to be capturing light streaks. Do remember that some locations, such as cathedrals and stations, won’t allow you to use a support so do take this into consideration when planning your day.

ND and polarising filters don’t take up too much room and could come in useful as too would a variety of lenses if you’re not planning on using a compact camera. Consider taking a wide, tele-zoom and macro lens along if you have room in your camera bag for them. When it comes to bag choices, everyone is different so the best advice we can give you is take a bag that’s comfortable, will hold all the kit you’ll need easily and that’s easy to access. Sling style bags are popular in city locations due to how easy it is to access kit without having to remove the bag but an everyday backpack will be just as fine. 

What Should I Photograph? 



1. You Can’t Ignore Architecture

Buildings, old and new, surround our streets so you can’t really visit a city and not shoot some building-themed images. Click the link above for more tips on photographing architecture or visit the technique section to see the full list of architecture photography techniques we have on site. 


2. Have A Go At Street Photography

A busy city can be the perfect location to experiment with street portraits, particularly as you can blend into the crowds and shoot from the hip to capture some interesting candids.


3. Photograph A Landmark 

Famous landmarks have just one problem – they’re famous which means finding a shot of them which isn’t already on a thousand other cameras can be difficult but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. 


4. Get Up High 

One of the simplest ways to change the way your city image looks is to get up high. So climb a mountain, stand on some steps or use a lift to get to the top of a tower to give your images a different perspective. 




5. Capture Shots Of Traffic & Transport 

City streets are busy places with buses, cars, cyclists and more getting from A-to-B giving you ample opportunity to get creative with your transport shots. 


6. Get Creative And Add Some Light Trails To Your City Shots 

Did you wonder how people get car lights to streak through their images? Well click the above link to find the answers. 


7. Photograph A Church, Cathedral Or Other Place of Worship

These structures make great subjects for architectural shots but if the weather turns or you want a break from walking along the streets with your camera gear, the inside of these buildings is well worth capturing, too. 


8. Visit A Museum

Museums are not only educational and interesting, but they offer plenty of photographic opportunities. Plus, many are free to enter which is always a bonus! Have a look around the outside of the museums too for interesting architectural shots worth capturing. 


9. Search For Interesting Architectural Patterns

Stop looking at buildings as whole structures and focus on the small pockets of interesting patterns and shapes they’re made up of.


10. Capture Reflections In Buildings 

Thanks to modern architecture that favours glass and steel over bricks and mortar cities are full of reflections which give us an alternative way to photograph the places we live in.


11. Photograph A Station

There are few towns and cities that do not have a station and they are fantastic places to take pictures. Interesting architecture, people to capture candids of and close-ups of interesting detail are just some of the shots you can capture around these locations.


12. Look For Stairs And Steps 

Stairs may sound a little boring but if you start thinking about the materials they’re made from and the shapes and styles that exist, you’ll soon realise there’s plenty of steps to keep you and your camera occupied.


13. Photograph A Bridge

Bridges come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, plus you can capture them from all angles making them a subject you can spend quite a while on. 


Clock Tower


14. Spend Some Time By A Canal

Canals were once used to transport goods to towns and cities right across the UK and as a result, there are still plenty of waterways running through our city streets. The long canals, bridges and lock gates that once supplied goods now supply ample photography opportunities and as they all have public walkways, you’re not going to upset anyone if you spend an hour two with your camera at the side of one.


15. Go For A Walk In A Town / City Park 

The green spaces found in towns and cities are a haven for many and are a great place to take your camera when you want a break from the busy streets. 


16. Capture Shots Of Shop Windows & Signs

Spend some time in your town and capture some interesting images of displays and signs. They’ll be plenty of interesting signs, plus head back out at night and the shop fronts will have a completely different look to them. 

You’ve read the technique now share your related photos for the chance to win prizes: Daily Forum Competition

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dudler’s latest blog : a short blog but long on ideas

dudler's latest blog : art, snap or reportage


A short blog but long on ideas

25 Apr 2021 7:36AM  
Views : 102
Unique : 89


It’s short because I was busy yesterday, and so I’m writing this at 7-20 in the morning, and I have things to do this morning. That’s different from much of the last year, for me! And the model returned some kit I lent her around Christmas 2019…

Yesterday, for the first time since October, I went out with a model to take pictures. We drove in convoy to Cannock Chase, and spent an hour or two wandering around and occasionally stopping for pictures. It was relaxing and delightful on a cool and sunny day. And when I got home, there was a daughter wanting to come round and do her lesson preparation in the garden…

So there will be blogs about my Alpha 900 and how big and heavy it feels after a break. And possibly why it convinced me that there might be something to this digital stuff after all. A blog about walking and looking for pictures. Maybe one about light and ‘seeing’ it for its possibilities. But that’s all for now…


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Best Father’s Day Gift Ideas & Photographers Gift Guide

A man with blue sunglasses over his head taking a picture with a professional camera on his hands.

Finding the perfect gift for a photography-loving father doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience, because the best Father’s Day gift ideas are ones that come from the heart. Of course, it helps that we’ve narrowed down the options for you. The photography gifts for dad in this guide are great choices for both professional shutterbugs and those who just love capturing life’s everyday moments with their camera. 

For example, the best point-and-shoot camera, or perhaps an upgrade to the best mirrorless camera, can be an excellent gift for dads who are just getting started, while a customized camera strap or a portable light might be a better option if your dad has been shooting pictures for a long time and is more particular about his camera gear. Heading out on vacation to a national park? One of the best drones could be perfect. And if you’re not sure about a bigger investment, a classic photo book is a welcome gift for all varieties of photographers, especially if you’re unsure of your dad’s favorite camera equipment brands. These are 10 of the best Father’s Day gift ideas that we think your dad would love to unwrap.

Best mirrorless camera bundle: Canon Mirrorless EOS RP Camera with Accessories

A black Canon camera mirrorless with all package of his set in one photo.

Mirrorless Made Easy

This Canon mirrorless camera bundle has everything dad needs to upgrade. Adorama


Gifting dad a camera for Father’s Day can be tricky, but if he already owns Canon DSLR gear you can make the switch to mirrorless easier. This best mirrorless camera bundle includes a full-frame EOS RP digital camera body, an ED-EOS R adapter (which means he can use his old lenses on a new lighter body), a 64GB memory card, a battery, and tons of other helpful accessories. The EOS RP has a 26.2MP CMOS sensor, fast autofocus, 4K video capture, and a DIGIC 8 processor that makes it excel even in low-light situations. It’s much lighter than a DSLR, meaning that dad will be able to capture all of life’s adventures.

Best camera for a dad who loves to vlog: Sony ZV-1 4K HD Camera

A black Sony camera with tripod for Father's Day gifts

Tiny And Powerful

This is the absolute best camera for vlogging. Adorama


If dad loves going live or creating content for YouTube, the ZV-1 is the camera for him. It features a vari-angle LCD screen, a directional three-capsule mic with a windscreen, and a one-touch bokeh switch to make his videos look more interesting with minimal effort. It can shoot 4K video and Full HD up to 120 fps, plus support for HLG and S-Log2/3, which means that dad can color grade his footage in post-production. Although it’s designed with vloggers in mind, it’s plenty able as a stills camera, too. This kit comes with an all-in-one Bluetooth grip and a memory card.

Best lens for the creative dad: Lensbaby Creative Bokeh Optic

A black rounded Lens Bokeh Optic with different creative forms in front of it.

A Focus On Flair

Unleash dad’s creativity with this clever Lensbaby lens. Adorama


Photographers love bokeh as much as they love chasing that good light, and this unique lens from Lensbaby will give your photography-loving father the unique opportunity to control those out-of-focus bright points into incredible shapes. The lens has s single uncoated 50mm glass element, an internal 12-bladed aperture, and 11 magnetic drop-in apertures features shapes such as hearts, stars, seagulls, and more. This optic is designed to work with Lensbaby’s Optic Swap lenses, which are compatible with a wide variety of digital camera systems.

Best instant camera for Father’s Day: Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Hybrid Instant Camera

A black Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Hybrid Instant Camera with two boxes in green Fujifilm Instax Instant Film, a grey Photo lens cleaner piece, a red and gold memory card and also a black compact camera case.

Let’s Hear It For Film

This unique instant camera lets you record a sound to play with your picture. Fujifilm


They say a picture is worth 1,000 words and this unique camera from Fujifilm will actually let dad record a few of those precious words as he gets a mini Instax print. The Instax Mini LiPlay is the best point-and-shoot camera because it also functions as a printer and allows users to record a snippet of audio that can be played by scanning a QR code printed on the piece of film. It’s a great way to hold onto the sounds that might have accompanied the moment that a picture was snapped. This bundle comes with two packs of film, a 32GB microSD card, and a compact carrying case.

Best portable LED light for dad: Lume Cube Broadcast Lighting Kit

A broadcast lighting kit with a long holder stick with three legs as a support to ground.

A Bright Idea Indeed

Lighting is a breeze with the Lume Cube Broadcast Lighting Kit. Lumecube


Photographers love good light and the Lume Cube Broadcast Kit makes it easy for dad to look his best when he hops in front of the camera. This bi-color LED light panel comes with a monitor mount and a desktop tripod with a 360-degree rotating ball head for easy adjusting. It’s a great tool for video chatting, presenting at digital conferences, or throwing a bit of extra light on a subject while shooting. Lume Cube products are known for being extremely portable, easy-to-use, and durable, and this lighting kit checks all of those boxes.

Best drones for Father’s Day: DJI Mavic Mini Combo

DJI Mavic mini drone with accessories for Father's Day

Small But Mighty

The Mavic Mini is DJI’s smallest drone, making it one of the best drones for curious dads. DJI


The rules around flying drones can be complicated and depending on where you live, everchanging. The DJI Mavic Mini is one of the best drones because it’s compact enough that it can be flown without registering it—a great choice if your dad is curious about drone photography and videography. The Mavic Mini can stay in the air for up to 30 minutes at a time, and this bundle comes with a camera that shoots 12MP aerial photos and 2.7K video, and works with the DJI Fly app, which takes the headache out of flying it. This kit comes with the drone, mini remote controller, three flight batteries, three pairs of spare propellers, two micro-USB cables, an RC cable, spare control sticks, a two-way charging hub, and a carrying bag—everything dad needs to launch his drone photography passion.

Best action camera for dad: GoPro HERO8 Waterproof Action Camera

GoPro Hero8 action camera for Father's Day

A Compact Accessory For Big Action

If dad loves adventure, this is the camera for him. GoPro


The GoPro HERO8 is a versatile, easy-to-use action camera that will allow dad to capture all of his adventures with ease. The GoPro HERO8 features HyperSmooth 2.0 stabilization system for smooth footage regardless of the activity being captured. If your dad loves to enjoy the outdoors, this is the camera for him. It shoots 12MP photos, 4K 60fps video,  8x slow-motion video, and the ability to livestream. It’s been redesigned so it’s easier to swap out mounts and a lens that is more resistant to impact when dad is capturing all of his adventures.

Best photobook for a Father’s Day gift: “The Americans” by Robert Frank

The black and white first page of the photobook called

An American Classic

Robert Frank’s book “The Americans” changed 20th-century photography. Robert Frank, Jack Kerouac


No photo book collection is complete without Robert Frank’s “The Americans,” a photo project that changed the way the world thought about photography. Originally published in 1958, the book was initially panned by critics in the United States, but over time his asymmetrical black-and-white images have gone on to inspire countless photographers. The book contains 83 photographs captured during Frank’s road trip across America that revealed a less-than-rosy view of the so-called “American dream.” Frank is a photographer’s photographer, and looking at the photos feels a bit like reading a poem. As photography gifts go, it’s as relevant today as when it was first released and deserves a place on every photography lover’s coffee table or bookshelf.

Best customizable camera accessory: Personalized Custom Camera Strap

Colorful personalized camera straps as Father's Day gifts

Customizable Quality

A customized leather camera strap to secure dad’s favorite gear. Tags & Straps


A quality leather camera strap is one of the best Father’s Day gift ideas if you want to put a smile on dad’s face. These straps are adjustable between 22 inches and 50 inches, work with any style of camera, come in a variety of colors, and can be personalized in one to three locations with words or symbols that will remind him of family. A beautiful strap like this is sure to last a lifetime.

photo-themed cuff links as Father's Day gift ideas

Dial In Some Style

These cufflinks are shaped like a camera dial for a pop of style. Cuff-Daddy


Photographers can be tricky to shop for, and if dad is picky about his camera gear it might make more sense to get him a photography-themed gift instead. Cufflinks are an old-school gift that can transition from the office to nights out. These clever cufflinks are shaped like a camera dial found on most modern digital cameras and will make for a fun accent piece for your photography-loving father.

The final word on the best Father’s Day gift ideas for photographers

If your dad loves photography, chances are he has an eye for detail. We know these photography gifts will show dad that you appreciate nuances as well. The best Father’s Day gift ideas show that you did the research about what your dad loves when selecting the perfect gift to show him that you care. The best point-and-shoot camera or the best mirrorless camera can be an amazing upgrade if he tends to do most of his shooting on his phone, while a dad who has been shooting pictures for longer might appreciate fun camera accessories or a classic photo book. Whether selecting the best drones and action cameras or something more stationary, these camera gear gifts show you’re, well, focused on supporting what makes him happy.

Here’s another gift guide, in case you also need help finding the the best Father’s Day gifts under $100. Popular Photography wants to help you find the most useful and expert shopping recommendations for the best gift ideas. Searching for more unique gifts? Check out more gift guides here: books for photographers, practical gifts, the best photography gifts for Mother’s Day.

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