3 Simple Ways
to Find Ideas
Train Your Brain
People always ask me where I find ideas for my work. I usually respond by recommending a wonderful essay by Neil Gaiman titled Where do you get your ideas from?,
because each and every word there is on point.

However, I also know some methods designed specifically for photographers,
which I naturally use myself. These methods are best suited for food shots, applied photography and still life, but in reality, anyone who prefers to take shots in a controlled environment
and plan the shot beforehand can find them useful. Here are my five simple methods
for coming up with new ideas.
Dina Belenko
Photographer and magician
1. Solo
Take any object (an apple, a pencil, a cup, salt shaker, or some scissors) and come up with 15 different ways to shoot it.

You can shape the object, change the angle and light, add one or two other objects if you need to create some contrast
(but not more than two).
For example, let's take an apple. Try to make at least 15 sketches with it as a main character. This could be:

– a green apple on a Pantone palette card,

– a red apple with a shadow of a witch, like the one in Snow White,

– a pattern made from a cut apple,

– an apple covered in gold (hey, Midas touch),

– an apple core in a globe frame.

Don't stop until you have 15 ideas that you can implement. Then choose one, finish your sketch and take a shot.

This is the simplest, and yet the hardest, method of all.

2. My dog ate the palette
Use limited colour palette as your prompt.
Pick one colour and think about its significance for you personally. Does red represent love or violence? Green represents sickness or growth? Is yellow associated with lies and scandals or with sun? How can you express these ideas in the form of a still life? Which objects are known for being that colour? Which items are associated with it?

Let's take pink for example. For me, it signifies love and tenderness. That is why pink peonies in my works are the main characters in shots about sentimental stories and love letters.

The most important things here are the palette based on a certain colour and the story to explain the presence of that particular colour in your shot.

3. Changing the scenery
Each item has its usual context. Cups belong to the kitchen, submarines are found in the ocean and a sledgehammer is usually kept in the forge. We do not really pay attention to these items, because they are a part of their context.

Our task is to take them out of it, place them against an unusual background and justify this change.
We can, of course, simply bring a chair to a forest. Yes, we have changed the scenery. Yes, it looks unusual. But that is just a chair in a forest. However, if you bring a chair, hang some banners around it, make a sceptre out of a random branch and a crown of pine cones, now you have the throne of a forest king. This can even be a king from a children's game. For that you may have some of them drop their toys around.

If you take a toy chair and put it under a mushroom, you create a cozy reading corner for a fairy. A chair shot in a water tank with seaweed and bubbles now belongs to a sunken civilization.

Take the item you personally prefer. Create a broader context for it, a scenery or background, like a kitchen, a forest, a theatre, a sea, maybe a desert, ancient Greece or a library. Come up with at least 10 developments for your story. Pick one and take the picture!

Do you want to learn more?
Books with secrets to the craft
of unique still life photography are waiting for you!
Still Life Cookbook
E-book with 31 projects to try
This book is essentiallyeverything I know
about still life photography.

It contains 31 photo tutorials exploring different techniques of creating an impactful still life image.

You don't need any fancy equipment!

Join me in this adventure of exploring the easiest (and most fun!) ways to create a unique and exciting photo!
Learn more
Still Life Bungle
12 video tutorials
A collection of short video tutorials,
covering a variety of ways to create
a unique still life!

From Safe explosions and
Secret of Liquid Flame to
Creative Flower Photography
and Creatures from Ink and Milk!

Learn more
The Ultimate Guide
to Splashes
E-book with secrets of frozen motion
Let's learn how to freeze the motion of flying coffee cups, spilled milk or splashes of tea!
This book (PDF, 67 pages) contains
the technical theory behind creating realistic and exciting splashes as well as practical workshops
where I show you step-by-step
how each photo was created.

No technobabble or unnecessary digressions.
Just necessary theory and step-by-step practice!
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