Inspiration at Home

It's easy sometimes as a photographer to feel like you need to go far out into the world to find beauty or interesting things to photograph. I, myself, am guilty of this thought process. Sometimes, I don't actually make it out to shoot anywhere because I can't think of anywhere to go. I think that I've already seen that or been there or it's cliche or overshot already. Is that really fair to myself? Should I really not go somewhere because I've already been there before? I probably haven't been there in that light or that time of day or with that sky, etc. It's always worth revisiting a spot.

I'm also guilty of day dreaming about exotic locations I should visit just to take photos of them. I wonder where I should plan my next vacation around the idea of a good photo opportunity. Honestly though, I think we photographers are too hard on ourselves like this. We shouldn't think we have to go seek out the world just to make a good photograph. Sure, it would be nice, but we forget that inspiration and beauty can really be found nearby. It can be in our city, or in our neighborhood, even in our own backyard.

One night I was sitting at home on my deck watching the sunset start to fade away and thinking how I should already be out looking for a great sunset somewhere. I needed something new to photograph, something I hadn't shot before. The longer I sat there pouting about being lame for being lazy, I started to notice my own hostas in my yard. They were all at varying blooming stages and before I knew it, I had been inspired. There were lots of color and texture in the leaves alone and then add in the interesting buds and flowers and I had something fun to photograph and study from different angles. I grabbed my camera and just had fun with no pressure of finding a new location.

So, the next time you are thinking you need to get out into the world, stop in your own backyard first. You might be surprised at what you find or what you've been overlooking. When you don't have to go as far, you'll have plenty of time to practice your skills. Try photographing from different angles, different apertures or different lighting. Hey, it's there everyday, so study it. It will only make you better and the best part is that you didn't have to go anywhere exotic to make a good image.

Here is my quick study one evening of the hostas in my garden that were right under my nose. What do you have under yours?


I'm constantly inspired by the world around me and one of my biggest inspirations comes simply from being a Midwesterner. I take pride in being born and raised here and my favorite subject is all things nature in the Midwest. So, there you have it. I shoot what I know and see. I think I secretly want to work for Midwest Living and travel the Midwest photographing little cafe's and their owners, colorful backyard gardens, and delicious mouth watering pies for the pages and covers of Midwest Living. I can't get enough of their photography and style. Ah, a girl can dream right? Until that day comes, I'll just keep diving into their colorful spreads looking for inspiration and yes maybe a few new locations too. ;)