Camera Position 74 : Project Planning Roadmap – New Idea Germination and “Hard & Soft”

The second part of the Photographer’s Project Planning Roadmap series looks at idea germination; how do you find new ideas and nurture them?


9 thoughts on “Camera Position 74 : Project Planning Roadmap – New Idea Germination and “Hard & Soft””

  1. a good start on a difficult topic. It seems like for some people, ideas are a big, scary thing to find. Yet for others they are everywhere – just waiting to be picked up.

    I find for me the difficulty is I have too many ideas that I want to do. New ones appear every day. The selection and follow through is the challenge. I know from talking to other people that for them, coming up with ideas is a struggle, perhaps because they don’t know what an idea looks like.

    I like how Twlya Tharp describes the process of finding ideas in her book ‘The Creative Habit’ when she talks about scratching for an idea. Scratching is the process of noodling around, reading books, looking for inspiration, in her case, improvising dance phrases, for a photographer, probably this means going out and shooting in a casual way.

    The trick is while you are doing this play, to be paying attention to what interests or excites you in the process – those things become the sources of inspiration for further investigation. Capture them, write them down, run with them.

  2. Gordon… thanks for the comment. I must be one of those “strugglers” because it’s hard for me to find a project idea. Interesting that so many others have no problem with finding ideas; I’ll see if I can corporate it at some point.

    All best… thanks for your continued support!


  3. Maybe you have lots of ideas too, but you don’t recognise them as such. I find writing in a journal really helps me explore and recognise ideas for what they are – I write for 30 minutes a day, on fairly random, freeform topics, and ideas fall out of that quite often. ( the best description of this is the ‘Artist’s Way’ morning pages )

    For a while I was convinced that ideas had to be these ground breaking, novel, wonderfully original things, or they weren’t worth doing. After a while you realise a good idea could just be pictures of breakfast, or the first 35 things you touch in a day, or a walk with your dog.

    The idea is just what gets you out the door (or not I suppose) it doesn’t have to be jaw-droppingly brilliant before you can start. In fact I think waiting for it to be that is just another form of procrastination.

    Another way of looking at ideas is that novel ideas are usually just made up from a couple of simple concepts, put together. The combination often makes it interesting. Ideas are everywhere – everything and anything can be a source of inspiration, if you are open to looking for them. Ideas are like air, all around you.

    Where I don’t think ideas are found are ‘brainstorming’ sessions, or post it notes, or whiteboards, but that might be just pushing back at a corporate background. They are found in books, or podcasts, or looking at photographs, or reading about well anything.

  4. Gordon… yeah, that whole “whiteboard/flipchart/brainstorm corporate thing doesn’t work for what we’re trying to do. What *does* work, though (I think, anyway) is a “mission statement”… we’ll get to that coming up. It makes the corporate veterans cringe, but… they manage.


  5. Thanks a bundle Jeff, for this series. Like Gordon, I don’t seem to run short on ideas, but I don’t shoot with a plan in mind, either. I just shoot what I see. I think this will be a very good exercise to actually create a project, create some focus about what I’m shooting. And I’m very interested, not being a professional photographer, in workflow. I’ve thousands of pictures, and while I can find what I need in a short amount of time, I’m sure there are some good ones hiding out in folders.

    So I’m thrilled you are doing this – gosh, I should get me a t-shirt, shouldn’t I?

    Thanks, thanks, thanks. I’m an avid listener!

  6. Hi, Deb;

    Thanks so much for your comment and your continued support… I really appreciate it!

    If you hang on a bit, I’ll get to that “stuff hidden in folders” bit… it’s coming up in this big long series

    And yeah… get that t-shirt and wave that Camera Position flag!


  7. Dear Jeff
    I have just embarked on The Art of Photography with the Open College of the Arts after a lifetime so far as a complete maverick with my camera. As a Fine Art student I could never decide what to do so the pattern continued. I seem to be fascinated by so many things. I have listened to all the History podcasts I could find and it has been a wonderful journey for me, contexualising what I have already known and introducing a lot more. I have now started on the Camera Position podcasts and have been revitalised by your formalising approach to Project planning and Idea generation.

    I have used your Podcasts as reference material in my first Project at OCA, and of course, credited them. Would I have your permission to copy in some of the photos on the site that you have given as examples?

    You have given me a springboard and it is exciting. So thank you.

    Paddy Howe (Devon, UK)
    (Sorry I can’t put a Website address. I am struggling to find out how to Blog!)


  8. Hi, Paddy;

    Thanks for the kind words; I really appreciate them! Sure… go ahead and use the images as you need them for your studies. Enjoy!

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