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How Photography Can Lead to Inspirational Writing Ideas

I get of my writing ideas from every day street scenes and my iPhone’s handy camera.  

Sure, I do shoot with a Nikon D90, and various assoreted lenses, but as the saying goes, the best photos come from the camera you have with you. (you may view some of better photos from the D90 on my Flickr site.)


Last month, during a two week stay in Israel with Jeff Pulver, I spent quite a bit of time discovering some amazing street art,   primarily in Tel Aviv.  I started doing reserach on the subject and discovered here.

Often times, I was shooting some of these photos with my iPhone. 

Getting Up Close Leads to Looking Inside.

Especially when you travel, try to walk the streets of where you are going to meetings, meeting meeting clients or friends for dinner, or just explore the neighborhood where you hotel is.  

When you’re out of a setting that is familiar to you, look for tiny, interesting objects that might mean something – or inspire you to write.  

Not now, but later.  

And sometimes, you don’t have to have a reason to shoot what may not be obvious or even a possible subject matter.  If you see something interesting, shoot it – after all, this is digital and you don’t have to worry about wasting film.

Trust Your Instinct.  It Will Inspire You To Write Later.

90% of what I shoot, I wind up deleting.  Sometimes I don’t like the shot.  Other times, I was ask myself, “what were you thinking?”  And sometimes, there’s just nothing there.  No metaphor.  No journalistic slant. 

Then the other 10% that I save I will review when I get back to my hotel or return home.  That’s when the serious culling takes place.  Out of the 10%, I will save just a few.  And from those few, I will often wait a day or two and make a decision, have an inpiration – an aha moment that inspires me with an idea to share, a post to write, or an idea for a different way to look at a problem I am trying to solve.

You Don’t Need A Fancy High End Camera To Get Started.

Start with your smartphone camera and give it a whirl.  Get on Woot and search for an inexpensive camera for under $100.  If you have a camera already, then you’re half way there.  Discipline yourself to carry a small camera everywhere you go.  

Your Own Photos Help Personify Your Voice.

I am not a fan of using stock photos on blog posts.

You don’t buy stock blog posts or stock words, so why buy (or borrow free) stock photos?  If you are writing in your voice, your photos will personify your voice.

Grab a Camera.  Hit the streets.  Start shooting.  Get inspired.  Watch your writing soar.

All photos in this phost shot by me.  Please share.  (c) Alan Weinkrantz 2011

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