National Photography Month is upon us, and there are quite a few lessons writers can learn from photographers. In fact, the tips photographers use to create inspired, memorable photos can also have the same effect on your writing.
Photography Tips That Work For Writers
1. Know your tools! To practice great photography, you need to know how to work your camera. How does changing your aperture and your shutter speed change the look of your photo? Understanding the basic features of your camera and lens and knowing how the mechanics of your equipment affect the look of your photos is the key to taking consistently good photos.
In the same way, having a good grasp of writing rules and tools will help you to create consistently well-composed pieces. Make sure you take the time to review or learn grammar and writing essentials.
2. Use what ever is in front of you as subjects: family, friends, favorite food, yourself, etc. Photographers find the extraordinary in the ordinary by showing unexpected angles, by contrasting light and dark, or by drawing your eye to where you never thought to look. Writers can use these same techniques to explore familiar experiences and people in unique ways to create intriguing stories.
3. Some of the best results start with most common, ordinary items. You can photograph something that might not be considered special or beautiful because of how common it is, and then create something breathtaking by playing with the parameters of the image: focus, depth of field, background, etc.
As a writer, you can take a typical story that’s been told thousands of times, but put your own creative spin on it. Approach it from a new point of view, and let readers see the story in a totally new way.
4. Changing the time of day you work can inspire new ideas. How a tree, a bridge, or even someone’s face photographs in the morning can look very different from the image you would get of the same subject at the end of the day.
When writing, you might want to try changing when and where you write. Find a new café to sit in, and let the thoughts flow. Try writing in the evening if you’re someone who normally writes early in the morning. Break routine to give yourself a new perspective.
5. Give yourself plenty of time to get the best results. For example, if your photo subject is a sunrise or a sunset, always arrive at least half an hour earlier than you think necessary. You want plenty of time to scout out the perfect angle for your shot.
The same can be said about writing under a deadline. Schedule and pace yourself so you have plenty of time to write, edit, and rewrite your piece. Figure out how to make the most of your writing time.
6. Try something new to boost creativity and inspire you further. A wedding photographer might take photos of urban architecture to stretch his or her skills. So don’t be afraid to attempt to write in forms that are relatively new to you and tackle topics or themes you haven’t approached before. If you always write short stories, maybe it’s time to try your hand at poetry.
7. Follow your heart. For an unforgettable photo, a photographer looks at the subject or scene with his or her eyes first before looking through the camera lens, then brings that emotion into the shot.
When writing, emotionally connect to the characters, theme, or setting of your piece. That connection to your work can make all the difference in the quality of your writing, and will help readers to understand the emotion you’re trying to convey.
Photo via PublicDomainArchive