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Start a project

All photographers go through bursts of creativity, shooting hundreds if not thousands of frames in a flurry of visual inspiration.

Then, sometimes, the "ideas pot" runs dry. We've put together a number of tips that can help get the creative juices flowing again.

The photos in this gallery have been taken from our previous Exposure participants, our series profiling the best amateur and professional photographers in Australia. Why not check out some of the galleries for even more inspiration, and join our Flickr group to share your results.

There's a reason why deadlines exist, and that's to get stuff done. It can be easy to fall into the trap of putting aside your camera when things get too busy or ideas are hard to come by. One of the ways to get around this is to start a dedicated project, which could be a small assignment like photographing a subject according to theme, or something like the 365 days project, where you take a photo each and every day of the year.

Some mini-assignment ideas for you: shoot a white object on a white background; grab a torch and a tripod, and shoot some long exposures at night; or try a portrait with backlighting.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Andrew Günsberg
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Upgrade your equipment

Most photographers know that any excuse will do to add another lens or accessory to their shooting rig. Why not think about investing in another lens that you've been wishing for, like a macro, wide-angle or even fish-eye, if you have some extra cash to spend? For ideas on the sorts of lenses out there, and which one is best suited to your photographic style, read our lens-buying guide.

Can't afford a whole new lens? Think about getting into filters instead. Circular polarisers or neutral density (ND) filters are good places to start, particularly if you want to shoot longer exposures in bright light.

Flashes or strobes are another great investment, particularly if you want to learn about controlling off-camera light.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sabrina Wong
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Change your perspective

Not everyone sees the world from the same height, so consider getting down low for a unique perspective. Alternatively, shooting from up high can produce some great results, particularly if your camera has a built-in miniature mode (or tilt-shift effect).

Updated:Caption:Photo:Ben Dickson
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Take your camera everywhere

This one sounds obvious, but if we had a dollar for every time a picture-perfect moment has presented itself to us and we haven't had a camera ... you get the picture.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lester Jones
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Think about light

Photography is essentially painting with light. Ambient and natural light changes drastically depending on the time of day, particularly in Australia when the sun is at its harshest in the middle of the day. Consider setting your alarm for sunrise and getting out and about to capture early-morning rays.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Ana Suntay-Tañedo
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Go lo-fi

Are you a photographer who has come from the glory days of 35mm film? Perhaps you've been shooting digital all your life and have never experienced the painstaking perfection of Polaroid? There's plenty of places to pick up a second-hand bargain including eBay, markets and op shops.

Alternatively, if you don't want to leave the safety of your digital set-up, consider changing the way you process your photos. Think about different effects, filters or even whip out your phone to take some shots via dedicated photo apps like Instagram.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Amanda Gilligan
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Shoot what you have

Sometimes, the best images are made with the things or people right in front of you. Consider portraits of friends and family, details around your house or creating a series documenting a day in the life of someone you know.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Tim Coulson
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Learn a new technique

Whether it's in-camera or post-processing, a new technique can give you cause to continue shooting. HDR (high dynamic range), cross-processing and light painting are all techniques to investigate.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Janko Dragovic
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Imitation is the sincerest form ...

Looking at what you like about other people's photographs is a fantastic start, but your visual inspiration doesn't have to stop there. Think about some of your favourite films or TV shows to see how they're lit and how they are composed. Create a visual look-book for yourself in which you collate different ideas, themes and images to use for your next shoot.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Emiko Monobe
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Display your work

Don't let your shots languish on your hard drive or memory card. Invest in a photo book to display your prints, make an enlargement as a gift for friends or family, or even just change your desktop image to a favourite snap.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Matt Granger
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