emotional self portrait face in water

How to Come Up With an Idea

One thing I get asked over and over again is: ‘’How did you come up with this idea?’’.

Even though I can’t say for sure how, keep in mind that everything we see/hear/feel influences us!

That means all the things around us imprint themselves in our subconscious and come up when we least expect them to. So, to come up with an idea I sometimes use this process:

(C) Isabella Bubola
Iva is a model I love to shoot with. Red-haired, freckle-faced, both fierce and delicate, she’s a real inspiration!

It could be a completely awesome model or a beautiful sandy beach in the evening, but it’s important that you absolutely adore it! You have to love what you see because it makes you proactive and that’s the key to creation. For example, I love abandoned buildings since I’m interested in stories about decay (both literally and metaphorically) and I feel SO inspired every time I come across a ‘new’ oldie! Do you know that many artists in the past have had muses? The Merriam-Webster dictionary explains that the meaning of the word muse is: a source of inspiration; especially :  a guiding genius. Let someone or something become your muse and you’ll see what a rush of creation that’ll cause!

Now that you’ve got your subject, start adding other elements that could create a story. I’m not literally talking about a ‘story’, it’s more of a matter of feeling. What feelings does an image convey? How do we feel when we look at it? Is the atmosphere dark or light, moody or cheerful?
Don’t worry at this stage, just let your mind brainstorm. I love using mental maps for these kind of things when I get stuck. They allow you to connect different things together and create concepts more easily, not only in photography, but also writing or graphic design.

Now that you know the elements you want to incorporate, it’s time to think of a story. What is the relation of the model and the environment? Why is the model there? What does she/he do? What time of day is it and why? How do the clothes suit the story?
All of these are questions that need to be answered before the shoot in case you want to be fully prepared.
But spontaneity is also part of the fun, so if you see something’s not wrapping up nicely, think on the spot of something else.

Tweak, play, experiment, change the concept completely if needed! – and don’t freak out if it doesn’t all go as planned, some of the best photos were captured by mistake!

(C) Isabella Bubola
I was bored the day I shot this because I had to write my final thesis but, of course, I was reluctant to do it. I had no exact idea what I wanted to shoot, but decided to experiment anyway and in the end really liked the result.


photographer self portrait with cameraAbout the author
Hi! I’m Isabella and I’m a photographer, blogger and applied arts graduate. I love spending my time creatively, or watching movies, drinking tea, playing with my cats and hanging out with friends.
Find me here isabellabubola.com or on Facebook and say hello!


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