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7 Ways to Combat Photographer’s Block

Published by Diana Tula · March 14th 2013

We love guest blog posts! Today’s awesome article on how to overcome photographer's block is by Nick Sparks. Nick is a brilliant portrait photographer from Denver, USA and we are huge fans of his work. Do you want to write a guest post for our blog? Get in touch!

Self portrait by Nick Sparks


We all have dreaded picking up the camera and walking out the door at some point. For me, the reason I have feared that simple task has been due to lack of inspiration. There is nothing more exciting than taking that step out of the door when I am feeling inspired, but not so much when I'm not “feeling it.” However, I had to come face to face with feeling uninspired and force myself to find inspiration in unlikely ways when I did a 365 project. I found many ways of dealing with photographer’s block during that tenure.

1. Go Out & Start Shooting

The human brain wants you to find the perfect idea before you go out and accomplish the task of pressing that shutter button. I think many art forms are similar. I have spent many days not shooting, because I couldn’t think of anything to shoot. I find that going out and shooting whatever random subject matter is there (no matter how dull) can create inspiration within itself. Go out and shoot that fire hydrant and whatever other random, dull objects you may find in your line of vision! It may lead you somewhere unexpected.

Photo by Ryan Pendleton

2. Find A Color

Go out and shoot one color. Narrowing your subject matter down to one color will make you see photographs you never would have otherwise. Different colors have different moods too. If you are feeling calm and cool, go shoot blue. Do you feel happy? Shoot yellow or orange. There are many internet resources that you can look into to explore the color wheel and emotional interpretation of color, I suggest starting with Google.

Photo by L. Walthery

3. Shoot Feelings

Basing your photography on a certain feeling can trigger tons of inspiration. Let’s say that I wanted to shoot "happy". Maybe that would lead me to an area that is connected in my mind with a happy time. Maybe, trying to capture a happy feeling leads me to a photo of that place with the perfect sunset and I could capture my favorite photo ever. Isn’t that inspiring? Also, you could try making a mood board and capture the vibe that you come up with. I have never been a fan of mood boards, but maybe those could work for you. I hear Pinterest is a great place to put one together.

Photo by Maximilian Rivera

4. Shoot Street Photography

Go out to the downtown area of your closest metropolitan area. Thousands of people pass through that area every day. They all have different stories and are living different days. Surely, you can find some inspiration in that. Put yourself in their shoes and capture something that is meaningful to you.

Photo by Gregor Albrecht

5. Shoot Technical Photography That You Haven’t Tried Before

Not only is technical photography interesting, shooting technically complex photos will help your skill set. You will be able to use those skills in the future by going out and expanding your skill set now. Typically, when I shoot in a new way for the first time, it will be frustrating and not turn out, but having those frustrating experiences has helped me down the road. A few skill sets you can learn are light painting, extended exposure, cloning, conceptual manipulations, and star trail exposures. Keeping busy and expanding your skill set can help you incorporate those ideas into your future pictures, therefore give you more ways to capture your inspiration.

Photo by Igor Alekseev

6. Go Somewhere New

Pack up your photo bag and take a big step out that door. Give yourself a general direction and see where it leads you. I have done this a few times and I have never been upset with the results. Granted, I have not used much of it in my portfolio, because for the last year or so I have been strictly known as a portrait photographer. The last trip I took led me to an abandoned mining town. Let’s just say I was feeling pretty inspired when I got there.

Photo by Bram Paulussen

7. Collaborate

Collaborating is always fun, this way you can tap into the creativity of someone else or get inspired by them. You could collaborate with another photographer, model, makeup artist, group of friends, neighbours, etc. The pictures below are a collaboration between me and Joshua Marable. We came up with the idea of a character feeling lost or depressed — “A Sinking Feeling.” Joshua went to Goodwill and picked up an outfit he thought worked well with capturing the feeling. I came up with the location and thought out different ways to shoot there in order to capture the feeling of this fictional character.

Photo by Nick Sparks

  Thanks for reading!

Photo Tutorial — Glow in the Dark Mason Jars

Published by Diana Tula · March 13th 2013

When we saw this photo for the first time on 500px we knew it was our favorite and added it to Editors’ Choice. Since then the photographer Luca Gerda László has been getting many requests to share the secret behind her glow in the dark mason jars. The big secret is about to unravel...

The image above is one of my “most famous” photos and I got lots of requests on how I made these glowing jars. I decided to do a step-by-step tutorial for you and I hope that it will help you to achieve a similar result.

I have a lot of mason jars. Small ones and bigger ones, but I think big jars look more cute and magical. Big jars also take a lot of time to paint, it took me about 5-6 hours to paint the jar in the middle of the photo. Be careful with the paint, it is waterproof, so after it dries you may not be able to remove it from your clothes and furniture. Also, be sure to wash your brush right away after using this paint.

You’ll need:

  • Mason jars
  • Glow in the dark paint (get it online or at local craft store)
  • Paintbrush
  • Tap water


Glow sticks. Instead of glow in the dark paint try using glow sticks. Buy glow sticks online or in your local dollar store, cut into the sticks and splash the fluid all over the jars. Be careful not to stain yourself or the surrounding area. The glow in the dark effect will last only for a few hours.

Mason jar alternatives. If you don’t have mason jars available use clear glass or see through plastic cups.


  1. Wash your jars. Then mix the paint with your brush to have the glowing particles evenly dissolved.
  2. Make tiny dots in the inside of the jar. The more dots you make, the prettier the jar will look. Dot on one colour first, then the next, etc.
  3. Leave to dry. You're done. It is this easy. In daylight your jar won't look that fancy, but at night it will make your room beautiful and cozy. Charge it with a lamp or with daylight and take it to a dark place to photograph!

Thanks to Lucy (Luca Gerda László) for sharing this tutorial and thank you for reading! Looking for more tutorials? Check out previously featured "Coffee With Milk" article, revealing tips & tricks behind splash photography.

Let’s share your skills and educate those new to photography. If you have a tutorial you’d like to share, be it in shooting, post production or top tips for getting your work out there please get in touch, email


The Collodion Process

Published by Diana Tula · March 13th 2013

Follow Sam Cornwell on a journey, as he takes a traveling wet-plate collodion darkroom and walks in the footsteps of Fox-Talbot. The collodion process was invented in 1850s and almost immediately replaced daguerrotypes, which were all the rage back then. Collodion photography is a time sensitive affair, you have only 15 minutes to coat, shoot and develop a plate. Hence, you need a darkroom available at all time. Sam solved this issue by converting a 1970s caravan into a darkroom on wheels.

Sam Cornwell is a UK-based fine art urban photographer, documenting the beauty of the cities and urban life. For Sam, the most important part of being a photographer is not the equipment you own, or the process, it’s about being in the right place at the right time and having the patience to capture it. In recent years Sam has been working on many creative independent projects, such as photographing graffiti walls, beggars and experimenting with collodion process. Visit Sam’s 500px page to add him to friends and explore his work.

Last time we featured “Faith. Hope. Love.” — a moving tale of acquaintance that inspires and humbles. For more videos browse the blog and let us know if you’d like to be featured. Send in links to your videos to We’re always open to fresh and exiting content!


Pamela Ross

Published by Diana Tula · March 12th 2013

Pamela Ross takes street photos as she travels the world, capturing honest moments of the everyday. Each shot is carefully composed with well thought out framing and great consideration given to negative space and light. Pamela had but a few seconds to make these decisions, scout a location, adjust settings and press the shutter release. Her street photography is moving and inspiring, daring us to go out and shoot photos which may seem so simple at first.

To get to know Pamela Ross visit her 500px page, there you can follow her future photo uploads, add to friends and say hello.

Our blog is a place to promote 500px photographers and their brilliant photos. Every week we publish a brief photographer profile introducing you to a photographer from 500px community and his/her body of work. This could be you, email us and let us know about yourself and your work.


Weekly Monday Contest

Published by Diana Tula · March 11th 2013

Want to get featured on our blog? Every Monday a theme is announced and you have until Sunday to submit your entry. You may already have a photo that suits or you can see it as a weekly photo challenge.

500px + Wave

This week we have teamed up with Wave to bring you a not-to-be-missed prize for this week’s contest. Wave is a smart online application for invoicing, accounting and payroll that helps real small businesses, just like photographers. With tools that help you run your business better including free accounting and unlimited invoicing, Wave is there for you.

Wave is from Toronto and loves photography! In fact, they love photography so much that Wave will be awarding a $500 gift card towards photo gear to the winner of this week's photo contest and providing ample promotion of your work on their social channels. In case you had any hesitation about how much love is going around, Wave created a free "Easy Accounting Guide For Photographers" to make you even happier. 


This week’s theme was picked by Wave and it is “Storefronts”. Theme is open to your interpretation and creativity, so get snapping and tagging. Deadline is March 17th at 12pm (EST). Winner will be chosen using a random generator, so anyone can win.
1. Select photo that fits the theme. Upload image to your 500px profile or pick an existing photo.
2. Add a tag "WaveApps".
3. You are done. To track all entries click here.

Follow Your Feet

Last time we announced “Follow Your Feet” theme & got a variety of creative entries ranging from travel to LEGO photos. Please enjoy photos selected and click on thumbnails for full size images. To see all entries and pick your favourites visit this page.

To make your efforts worthwhile there’s a random draw giveaway each week for all who enter for a chance to win 2 months of Awesome membership. This week’s winner is Paul Barson.

Big thanks to everyone who participated!


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