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7 ways to be more creative with photo a day

Fat Mum Slim /

Last month I came down with something. I had a case of photo-taking-fatigue. Do you know what I’m talking about? For those that have been playing along all year we’ve taken 310 photos so far just for photo day. That’s a lot of photos.

Symptoms of photo-taking-fatigue include: Lack of inspiration, no appetite for taking photos, an itch for skipping a day and a desire for chocolate {always the chocolate}.

So, this month I decided to give myself a kick up the butt and be more creative. I know that there is creativity whirring inside of me, I just had to tap into it. Here are 7 ways you can be more creative with your photo-taking:

Check the prompt early

There’s nothing more dampening of the creative spirit than having to rush through the photo-taking process. A few days last month I left it to the last minute, the sun was going down and I had to find something {anything!} to take a photo of. Looking back at the day I had multiple chances to take a great photo while I was out and about, but I just wasn’t prepared {and I’d forgotten what the prompt was!}. So it’s a good idea to check the list each morning {you can find it here} and then keeping it on your mind as you go about your day.

Take 3 photos of the same thing

Once you’ve found what you want to shoot, it’s great to explore it a little more. So today, for example, the prompt is ‘a favourite thing’. Let’s say your most favourite thing is a bunch of flowers in vase. Take three photos of the same object, but make sure each photo is a different shot. Take it from above the object, get down low and shoot up at them and then for the last shot get really creative {get up close, step all the way back or try something new}. Try and change up your style a little bit and see what happens. Choose your favourite shot from the 3 to share.

Download a new app

I get excited when I find a new photo App, and I want to explore it a bit when taking photos. By trying a new photo App you can try new filters over your photos, play around with the contrast and clarity, and even add new borders or words to your photos. The possibilities are endless. I love Camera+ {you can get it here for $0.99} but you could always try {it’s free and online here}.

Look at everything as though it’s the first time

Can you imagine how children see the world? As they grow they see so many things for the first time, and there’s a bit of magic in that. This is one thing I’ve learned to do often, seeing the world as if it’s the first time. For example, the very first time I went to my local shopping centre we parked the car and I saw a pole with beautiful red and white stripes and big number on it {it’s so you know where you’ve parked}. I loved the colours so I had to take a quick snap of it. I’ve seen that pole every week since, and I’m sure the locals don’t even see them anymore – but it made for quite a cool photo. Put your mind into holiday mode and get excited by the everyday.

Challenge yourself

This month I’ve seen a few people express their dismay at prompts being similar to past prompts. And yesterday one photo-sharer on Facebook noted that she really disliked the time prompts {like 5 o’clock}. I think this is when you really need to push past that ‘ugh’ feeling and get the ‘ooh’ sensation! So say, for example, we’ve done breakfast before, right? Instead of taking a photo of your toast again, why not go out for breakfast or make something different? The best motivator is yourself, so challenge yourself to do things differently.

Find a friend

Hubby surprised me at the start of last month by telling me he wanted to do the photo a day. I was gobsmacked. I’d never even entertained the thought. He’s not really creative, and I just wasn’t expecting it. My heart just about doubled in size and my smile grew from ear to ear. It’s been so much fun having someone so close to me play along. The other day we took a photo of the same thing, without knowing, and I love having him to share it with. Photo-taking is more fun with friends {or lovers!}.

Find inspiration

If you don’t have a friend to play along with {don’t worry, I’m your friend and I’m playing along with you!} or even if you do, it’s a great idea to go through the hashtag on Instagram or check out my wall on Facebook and find 2-3 people that inspire you. Follow them, start commenting on their photos and be part of the community. It’s so easy to get swept up in the fun of it all. There are even groups on Facebook that have buzzing, supportive communities. You can join them here and here.

How do you stay inspired and creative? Do you sometimes get stuck in a rut?

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  • Sandra Peters

    Thanks for the hints Chantelle. Sometimes you do lose inspiration a little so nice to get new perspectives on it all.

  • Great tips, thanks Chantelle!
    I’m up to my 4th challenge and I’m loving it.
    I tell my whole family what the daily prompt is and we all have fun searching for something to snap. Sometimes we go out of our way just to take a photo, it makes the weekend more interesting. 🙂

  • Great tips Chantelle. Craig and I are making more of an effort to participate daily. I am making sure I know the prompt in advance (and used that handy calendar feature you posted) It’s making a difference. And it is fun doing it with your partner and trying NOT to take the same photo

  • Stacy

    Fantastic ideas! I’ve had to use many of them. I hit a slump beginning of this month also. I do two photo challenges and feel crappy when I am not totally satisfied with my photo. I did a good one for my other challenge today to hoping for the momentum for that to jump start my excitement again. I really like this months categories, great job Chantelle, thanks so much.

  • oskandoly

    Thanks for this, it really made me smile as I have just written a post about losing my photo-mojo ( and you writing this has just come at the right time for me. Thanks for the tips, hopefully this will kickstart my mojo and I can get back to being my old creative self and enjoying my photography again. xx Pen xx

  • Marissa Bosworth

    Thanks for the tips! I was just thinking the other way of finding my inspiration after a short break last month!

  • I have gotten both my husband and daughter involved with finding ideas and props and if its an outside shot hubby will drive around until we find something, so we get a family outing, spend time together as well as taking photos.

  • Terry Beth Tucker Barnhart

    Love your tips. I got discouraged and just took the last 3 photos of October to get it done.Then I promised myself to step out of the box every day in November. It is hard, but I started one of your tips on my own; taking several views of the same thing, and then choosing my favorite. That helps to see that I can take a different look at things. I have looked at others’ pics also, that helps you to step out of the box. Maybe don’t be so literal and think of what you wish you could do, and do it, just try it once,, see what happens, I mean, maybe you will even like it!

  • Ranch Mama

    This is a great list. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been at it since Feb. and now my Mother in law, 2 of my nieces, 2 of my sister in laws and many of their friends are doing it. It’s just addicting! I marvel at the work you put into it. Thanks for the fun!

  • This is my first time doing photo a day and I’m loving it! It’s so fun and my daughter is playing along too….thanks for the tips, although I’m completely motivated…thanks for the opportunity to play along…

  • Steph

    This is my second month at attempting photo a day (the last time I tried was about August!). But since then I’ve got a newer iPhone (last one was so old it didn’t like instagram!) so I decided to get really organised for this month and I loaded the prompt list as reminders in my phone. Now I get a little beep at about 9am everyday telling me what the prompt for the day is. I missed yesterday (I too struggle with the time prompts when I have a 20mth old demanding my time), but I’m going to endeavour to catch up and do two today. I love that a prompt gets me inspired to look beyond my everyday world.

  • Elf

    This is my third month and I love it! It’s always a challenge to come up with something fun/exiting/creative/new/etc… and see hat others have photographed!

  • Love your post, Chantelle! And I love the community at FMS. What a giving, warm bunch of folks. And the talent! They’ve got it in spades.

    I frequently hit a wall with photos. But then, there are weekends when I’m shooting for pay, where I may shoot for four hours at a go. And then I have to process ’em. Oy.

    So I set up a challenge for myself this month. I’m tying your photo-a-day prompts to National Novel Writing Month. Each day, I’m shooting something pertaining to my story, or the writing process, but tied to your shot o’ the day. Now, I’m posting late. But I’m shooting. And writing. And enjoying.

    Can’t ask for more than that.

    Hugs to ya, my friend. You so rock. 🙂

  • Puahahah!!! Here I am trying to find “I Love Camera+”! The light bulb finally went on when I realised that YOU love Camera+. Doh!

  • I put my list for the month on my iPhone lock screen so I can easily check it. My kids love keeping me up to date and ask what I’ve to do

    • Claire Warner

      Great tip! Off to change my lock screen now 😀

  • taniamccartney

    I work in a creative industry so I never get stuck for inspiration. I love the ‘challenge’ of thinking outside the square and finding new ways to view and interpret photos – and life, for that matter!

  • Papersidewalks

    Love these tips and will definitely use them when I take my snapshots. Great point about looking something (anything) as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Definitely will use that for inspiration.


  • Kim Metcalf

    This is my first time playing along, so am not in any kind of rut just yet, having loads of fun! 🙂 Hopefully won’t ever get stuck, but great tips if I do!

  • I am actually playing along this month and I am having a lot of fun thinking of different photos to take 🙂 It sure is a great way to connect with others and see what they take 🙂

  • I’m house-bound at the moment having no car and having not long had shoulder surgery so I’m finding some of the prompts a bit of a challenge around the house… but they’re making me think! And that’s a good thing… this is the first time I’ve done anything like this and I’m a novice photographer so it’s all about learning for me…

  • Great tips Chantelle, thank you. I’ve participated in the challenge a number of times throughout the year and totally agree with your tip #5 of challenge yourself. I did just that for September by setting myself the challenge to only post black and white pics. I’m again challenging myself for November by adding a twist that all my pics must be a diptych. It keeps it interesting for me and mixes things up a little.
    Love your challenges though, so thank you – they are heaps of fun.

  • Denise

    I really appreciate that you make these and I have been playing along since April. I try to do them every day, there are just some days I can’t. No sweat. This is fun, and thank you for playing along too. I also like your fav 4.

  • wendy:)

    I try to never take a photo of the same thing twice… so if breakfast if the prompt for two months I MAKE myself photograph something else. Sometimes it helps to simply look the word up in the dictionary for inspiration, or I go look at what others have photographed on your wall. I have learned so much about photography by pushing through and MAKING myself take photos when I don’t really feel like it. Thanks for posting this list!