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10 Things to Shoot When You Have Absolutely No Clue

Some days, it just sucks to be out with a camera.

Content is unexciting. It seems like there’s nothing to shoot.

When days like this happen, it causes you despair. Here you are, with a fully charged camera battery. Your memory card is poised and ready for harmonies to happen in front of your lens.

And nothing.

Or is there really nothing?

On days when you’re absolutely clueless what to shoot, go outside and find some of these situations that could very well be what you need to get those creative brainstorms.

1. Look for lines.

Because humans like order, we build things that have linear features. We also attribute linear features to things that aren’t really lines, like the stream of clouds that seem to form when we tilt a wide angle lens. People form lines; there are ropes and wires and structures that form lines. You never know where lines may lead you: they might lead to inspiration.Balinese morning copyright Aloha Lavina.

2. Go to a show.
Some dinner shows, like this dance show in a restaurant in Bangkok, have performances where they allow tourists to use their cameras. Enjoy a nice dinner out, and when the show begins, try to capture beautiful parts of the performances. The artistic expression on the performers may just nudge your creative spirit into making some great imagery.Dancer copyright Aloha Lavina.

3. Look for emotion on faces.

People are constantly interacting, even just outside your street. Go to a crowded place, have your camera ready, and snap away at a respectful distance when people begin to show emotion on their faces. You never know the portraits you might make when people show emotion.Burmese girl with thanaka and smile copyright Aloha Lavina.

 4. Look for shapes.

Geometry is a great subject because it’s everywhere. Especially when the light is coming from one side of a scene, shapes can become beautiful.Rocks on roof in Bhutan copyright Aloha Lavina.

5. Shoot a simple theme.
Sometimes, all it takes to focus your creative energy is a simple theme, like “sticks.” It will amaze you how much you can find on one theme, just by focusing on it. You will also discover that a simple theme can be expressed in so many different ways, and this discovery just might inspire you.Inle Lake in duotone copyright Aloha Lavina.

6. Look for texture.

Texture is everywhere—on a man’s face, on someone’s hands. Texture is found in almost every surface on earth. Finding textures and ways to show them can inspire the most mundane day.Burmese man and cheroot copyright Aloha Lavina

7. Look for action.

Like emotion, people are constantly in action. Practice your camera shutter priority settings, and capture action. You don’t have to go to a sport stadium to find action, either. You can find children playing, people rushing from one place to another, just outside your neighborhood.Burmese boy diving into lake copyright Aloha Lavina.

8. Find reflections.

Reflections are great to photograph. You might find inspiration in beauty reflected on a surface, and make some imagery that has story and impact.Burmese woman on lake and reflection copyright Aloha Lavina.

 9. Shoot numbers.

Like themes, numbers can guide your shoot, and become a focal point toward inspiration. Take the number 3. For some reason, our brains love things that come in threes. You could practice your composition and photographer’s eye by spotting this number in your subjects.Three rice farmers in Burma copyright Aloha Lavina.

10. Play with the camera’s timer.

Setting your camera down at a café or restaurant table, and then using its timer to capture images on slow shutter can yield some interesting results. You might wait for an interesting moment to move into the front of your lens before you press the shutter.Selling silver rings in low light copyright Aloha Lavina.

Once in a while, you might feel some despair that you don’t know what else to shoot. Maybe you can try some of these tips, and start getting back into seeing images. As someone once said, it’s not really what’s in the image that is important. It’s how you make the image out of mundane things.

What do you shoot to get your vision back?

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About Aloha

I am a photographer and writer currently based in Bangkok, Thailand. My work has appeared in CNNGo, Canon's PhotoYou magazine, Seventeen magazine, The Korea Times, Thailand Tatler, and a few photography books including recently Blogging for Creatives, a book published in the UK. I believe there is nothing you cannot imagine that you cannot do.

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