Following our first RIUH Talks: Worksheet series with Nikola Hassan on the topic of Marketing & Branding, we are expanding the series to cover a different branch of an equally important creative segment these days. Introducing RIUH Talks: Worksheet - Photography Edition in collaboration with All Is Amazing! In this series, All Is Amazing, a team of renown professionals will share their expert take on everything photography.
This series is made for everyone with the littlest interest in photography to professional photography business owners - whether you’re looking for a new hobby to get your creative juices flowing while we’re still stuck in the national lockdown, or you're trying to turn your photography passion into a money-making business.
All Is Amazing is a professional event and creative photography company based in one of South East Asia's most vibrant city - Kuala Lumpur.
A team of professional photographers who come from different cultural backgrounds. Together, they are a leading creative photography collective in the music, entertainment and nightlife industry.
Synonymous with All Is Amazing is their ability to bring life to amazing visuals. They have a diverse clientele and work with agencies, labels, and organisations on numerous projects including projects such as; documentary, portraiture, food and beverage, lifestyle, interior, travel, cultural, fashion, event, music, editorial, commercial photography, and other bespoke shoots tailored to client’s requirement. From boutique and high-end shows for Gucci, Rolex, Hermes or Givenchy to sold-out weekend-long music and art festivals, from regional music bands to the world known music titans like Metallica, Sigur Rós, The Killers, Selena Gomez, Tame Impala and profound DJs like Moby, Armin van Buuren and Tiësto, they have covered it all!
In this first entry, team All Is Amazing will discuss how each of them overcome creative blocks - it happens to the best of us!
Hello everyone! My name is Meng, a photographer at All Is Amazing. First off, we would like to thank you for taking the time to read this article, and to the wonderful team at RIUH for giving us this platform to air our thoughts.
We thought it would be best to start off this series with addressing something all of us creatives (not only photographers) face. The Creative Block. Big disclaimer; we don’t have the end-all be-all solution to the creative block (trust me, we wish we knew just as much as you!). The team and I would just like to offer our humble suggestions on how we deal with our creative blocks. It might not all be for you, but hopefully something here will resonate with you and help you jump that imaginary hurdle in your mind.
In this article, you will see some practical advice like getting enough rest, websites to browse and some hard and fast truths like exercising and talking to someone smarter than you! All we hope is that you will gain some inspiration from this, just as we have.
The main cause of creative blocks for me is repetition. Be it through work or life, we get comfortable with maintaining a set routine. After a while, we start working on autopilot, and our brain starts to take a backseat. I believe “injecting some uncertainty” (someone make that into a t-shirt pls) in our lives can help get our minds thinking and get those creative juices flowing again. Just getting out of that same routine can give your mind something new to do and focus on.
For me as a photographer, it was to challenge myself and shoot something that I was not used to, or have not done for a while. It could be something as simple as taking portraits of your friends if you have only been shooting products or interior spaces (or vice versa).
Nia, September 2018 - Nia and I shot these portrait series after a long couple months of back to back events. I came out of that portraiture session feeling refreshed with a bunch of ideas on how to improve my photography and what to shoot next!
I also like to revisit some old work with fresh eyes, and set your mind that there are no rules to what you want to create. I feel that it is the best time to unleash your creativity, with no deadlines and expectations from clients, just whatever you can come up with!
I created this GIF from a bunch of still images from a shoot I had done. I liked it so much I started incorporating them more and more into client work!
Like it or not, creative block happens to most of us. No one can escape this struggle in any phase of our lives, especially those who work in the creative industry that craves fresh ideas constantly. Doing that over and over causes our creative fuel to burn out and we’ll end up staring at blank pages alongside a frustrated mind for countless days. You could be thinking too much about what people will think of your work or you could be feeling that the current big idea you have won’t be big enough, that it won’t exceed expectations that you and potential clients have in mind. Though that feels quite specific as everyone’s creative block definitely varies from one another, so down below are some of the ways that I use to beat a creative block.
1. Stay away from social media
While there are great contents for you to browse and get inspiration from, they could also be the very reason you’re struggling to come up with new and creative ideas. There are a ton of repetitive and recycled contents throughout Instagram and it’s hard to find something new. When you keep seeing the same content over and over albeit from different creators, you’ll end up boxing yourself in with the others. It’s hard to break out of the box with new ideas if you’re already in the deep end of the hole. So, the easiest and best way to deal with this is to stay away from social media and go out to shoot what you like and or have in mind without having any references, experiment and build upon your mistakes. Instagram is a highlight reel of people’s best works, don’t let it fool you into thinking failing now means the end forever.
2. Go to other mediums for inspiration.
For me, I often find myself getting inspired by movies and how the director-DP often presents their movies to the audience. How they line up each frame and how the story evolves from the start to end. Most of the time, I would learn something new and could think of ideas from watching the movies. So try and find inspiration from mediums that you like, it can be from reading the books or even painting, you could create a lot of stories and ideas through painting.
Watching movies that convey scenes such as these can be mind opening as it often leads to you thinking of concepts that people haven’t discovered or touched on yet which makes it an interesting experience to try something new and different.
3. Themed projects
Create themed projects and set yourself a deadline. Your mind will move forward even more if there’s a due incoming.
This is often overlooked but get yourself well rested. Have enough sleep every day and avoid exhausting yourself until late at night with unnecessary things such as browsing social media. When you’re having a creative block, you’re most likely going to be stressed in that period and when you don’t get enough rest, it will be much harder to think and your frustration level will go up higher than you want to.
The most important thing to do when you have a creative block is to acknowledge that you have it and take action to get rid of it. Action is the key word here. After action, comes consistency. Once you’ve tried one of the solutions that our team has offered you, turn it into a good habit. Something that will not only help you to fight creative blocks, make you healthier and happier, but also will become part of your identity. Something that when people will ask you what do you love to do besides your work, you will say - I love becoming smarter by listening to podcasts, reading books, learning new things. Develop the new you, always evolve, always re-invent, always progress.
Here’s some activities that works for me that you can try to get yourself out of the funk of a creative block:
1. Doing physical exercise (HIIT, workout, running, walking)
As long as you’re moving, your brain is thinking better. If you don’t like running, try walking, it’s also a good way to get to know your neighborhood. You will be surprised by the wonders a good 30 min run can do to your mind and body.
2. Taking a long shower
Definitely helps me to think. I bet you’ve heard it before, but it’s true.
3. Try writing things down on the piece of paper
I found that physically writing things in a notebook gives a better solution to creative block, than typing them on a computer. It’s like writing yourself a letter. Somehow things become more clear and focused.
4. Look for visual inspiration
If you’re looking for visual inspiration, browsing Behance or Pinterest for simple visual inspiration, for ideas, for that small creative spark. (you can even check our behance profile here: www.behance.com/allisamazing or pinterest www.pinterest.com/allisamazing).
5. Checking out creative studios, advertising agencies and their portfolios
Usually it’s next level work that you find there. (https://www.adweek.com is a good place to start).
6. Listening to podcasts or interviews with smart people
This inspires me a lot, especially when I run, I listen to podcasts. For me it’s like having a conversation with those super intelligent people, but you can listen at your own pace. I really like the Jazz Shapers podcast on JazzFM (https://www.mishcon.com/jazzshapers).
7. Talk to people smarter than you.
Talk to your loved ones. Hear different opinions without judgement. It's especially healthy to get an opinion from somebody who is “operating” in a different field than yours. They usually have a side perspective that can give you a good starting point for overcoming a creative block.
Hopefully some of the advice here will find a place in your heart and will be transformed into actions. Try, experiment at your own pace. It’s always just you against you. Don’t compete with anyone else, but just yesterday's you. Share your results with us at www.instagram.com/allisamazing DMs or just email us at email@example.com (Paul should reply in a day ;) and we will be more than happy to see you grow!
Never stop exploring, always move.