If you're anything like me, you find coming up with ideas and concepts for photographs difficult. I sometimes like to think of myself as a more documentary style photographer, but the truth is that my photographic vision and imagination leave a lot to be desired.
The key to a great photograph is often a great story, a different angle or an interesting subject, but more often than not I'll stick to the same standards of "things that catch my eye".
This bothers me. I've tried to come up with unusual or captivating concepts, but my artistic muscles are atrophied and are going to need a long rehabilitation.
My cure for this is to take inspiration from the professional world of photography - magazines and advertising agencies do not look to photographers for the style and content of the images they need, they employ artistic directors for that.
The Art Director of a magazine for example will decide on the look and feel of a publication. They'll hire photographers that they know will come up with the images the Art Director needs. The AD will supervise photo shoots, adjust the proceedings accordingly and ultimately be responsible for the finished product.
I'm not saying that we all go and hire an art director, you'll probably find that you've got one or two in your house right now, even though they might not know it. That's right, I'm talking about your wife, partner, kids, relatives and perhaps even friends.
The next time you're pestering your teenage son or daughter to be your subject, ask them what type of photo they'd like. Get them to show you some examples from magazines and the web.
Ask your wife or husband what type of photographs they'd like to see from that family party or the grand-childs visit.
When you're on holiday ask your family what photos they'd like you to take (don't accept "none!"), or even if you going out by yourself, ask for ideas on where and what to shoot.
Don't stop there. Show your edited images, and make adjustments if they don't like them. Treat your family like clients and you'll start to understand how tricky it can be to deliver someone else's vision, but also how rewarding.
So, there we have it. Forget your vision and fire your imagination with someone else's ideas, you might be amazed with where it takes you and what you come up with.