Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to take outfit photos when you're uninspired

Maybe you've had a bad day, and just aren't feeling up to taking pictures of your outfit. Or maybe the season's cold snap has you reverting to sweats instead of expressing your sense of style. Or perhaps you're feeling less than creative, and want to get that spark back. What began as an exhilarating, fun project has suddenly become monotonous and tedious, and you feel like it's beginning to show on your blog. What to do when you're not feeling up to taking photos?

I try to take my outfit photos everyday, but there are times when I'd rather just stay in my pajamas. Here are some tips that I think about on those kinds of days, and what I do to prevent drudgery from seeping into the blog:

- Reflect. Try to understand what's the root of your lack of creativity. Is it a problem with not having enough energy/time to take photos everyday? Not knowing what to wear when the weather dips? Understanding what's bothering you will help you figure out a solution.

- Take inventory. One of my favorite scenes in the movie "Clueless" is when Cher has a directory of everything in her closet saved on her computer, so that outfit combinations become a simple (and fun!) equation in her morning routine. Though you don't have to take pictures of everything in your closet, perhaps writing a list of the items that you do have or organizing these items in your closet may help jog your creativity.  I try to keep a list of things in my Moleskine notebook, and I jot down outfit combinations to try out. For the days that you're running late and don't know what to wear, it's nice to have 10 ideas already written down for you!

- Play around with your camera. Maybe you're frustrated with how you look in photos and want to take more flattering shots, but don't know how to do so. Take some time to experiment with your camera and try taking your outfit shots with different angles, settings and lighting. I try to take as many as 30-40 photos per outfit, just to see how different it looks in each one. You'd be surprised that the difference between harsh and flattering can be a simple switch.

- Try a new photo location. Maybe you've got your outfit down, but don't feel like taking photos because you don't like your location. Spend a weekend exploring your city, and take note of the places that interest and inspire you the most -- perhaps it'll be an old, crumbling building, being in the middle of a busy street or a forgotten mural downtown. Examine how the sunlight is at certain times of day. For me, my favorite places are more rural --- near farms, in the woods or near bodies of water.

- Keep an inspiration log, and think out of the ordinary.  Whenever I'm feeling uninspired, I turn to my favorite blogs and magazines to get some ideas for photo places and outfit combinations. You could try keeping a blogroll of some of your favorites, or make a collage of some magazine and book cutouts of your favorite photos, scraps of fabric, scenery illustrations. You could also find a new inspiration source, too -- maybe finding blogs that don't necessarily fit your personal style will help you find a new perspective. I like to look at, Vanessa Jackman, Chictopia as well as a cavalcade of personal style blogs to kickstart my imagination. In addition, I'm also making a concerted effort to look at more landscape photography to help fuel ideas for my outdoor photos.

- Try to write/take photos anyways. We all have those days when we feel shlumpy, and don't want to make the extra effort. Consider taking photos and writing anyways -- even if you don't feel it's your "best," it doesn't have to be perfect, and it's all about the learning process.

What keeps you going with your blogging on those days you feel uninspired? How do you handle it?

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  1. Joanne, as someone who has been feeling pretty uninspired lately I think these are great tips. I'll have to try some of them out to try to get my groove back.

  2. Beautiful, JoAnn! A gorgeous shot!

  3. Great tips - I def need to get out the house with my photo shoots!

  4. I love the idea about writing down outfits. Sometimes I put together a combo I really like, then end up forgetting about it or something that. I work afternoons so I am very rarely running late, but it would be good to have them just in case. Perhaps I will be trying to find a notebook to start doing this!

  5. What a great topic, and wonderful suggestions! Sometimes, when I feel I'm in a rut, I will try putting together outfit combinations that I thnk push the limit a little bit -- whether it's out of my comfort zone or something I think may raise a few eyebrows at work. I very seldom actually take risks with what I wear to work, but the creative process of coming up with new combos gets me out of a funk!

  6. I love these ideas for becoming inspired again - you are truly inspiring :). XOXO, Natalya

  7. wonderful tips.
    i always do at least 20 different shots so i have a lot to chose from because usually 15 of them are no good.

  8. JoAnn! YAY. This is easily my most favorite post you've ever done! I'm feeling awfully shlumpy lately, due to lack of creativity, stress in a new job, crappy photo location, and parenting on opposite shifts from my husband. I'll take these tips and hopefully run with them. It's so generous of you to help US better our blogs. :)

  9. I just started taking daily outfit photos, but I'm sure burnout will come eventually!!!
    Thanks for the tips.

    And it's my first visit to your blog :)
    Nice to "meet" you.

  10. great post!! and I have been keeping a running inventory of photoshoot locations when I am out driving to a meeting or something and I see a great colored wall, or fenceline or something.. so now when I get dressed in the morning I also have an idea of where I could go to take my photos.. it makes the day more fun and my outfits too!! great post, thanks for this!! I am still a new blogger and want to make sure I keep spicing it up!!

  11. Um, how did you read my mind? I was thinking this just this morning, must get better at consistency! You do such a wonderful job, it's inspiring and you can tell the dedication you put into your posts!

  12. Such a great write up. I'm starring this one to save for those uninspired days! Something that helps me is distance- I rarely post an outfit on the day I wore it. As long as I motivate myself to take pictures, by the time I post them I can forget how blah I felt that day.

  13. I remember the first time I saw Clueless I was floored by Cher's organization thing, and desperately wanted one for myself. Enter: blog. :)

    Also, these are such great tips. I'll definitely be coming back to read this post any time I'm feeling apathetic about my photo-taking.

  14. Fantastic post, JoAnn! I have always loved that scene from Clueless (and maybe my blog is my way of making my own Cher-like outfit database...), too.

    I agree with you that sometimes just doing, just beginning the process and the ritual of blogging gets me out of the "I don't want to blog today" funk. That and going through my Reader. I'm always inspired by other bloggers. Always.

  15. I found your post on IFB and really love your ideas - you've put so much effort into your post. I'm sure I can use some of them and I love the shot you've chosen. You have a new follower:) xo

  16. very inspiring article with so many good tips worth considering. like the inventory taking idea. I am also tending to loose track of what I have, and am surprised when I re-discover what I have all :)


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