Photo Tip “Association Approach / Brainstorming”

The lack of ideas in all artistic processes is comparable to the famous “blank page” many an author is confronted with. So long as there is nothing on the page, it has the effect of an invisible barrier. The following techniques are often used e.g., in the area of creative writing. Die folgenden Techniken werden z. B. im Bereich „Creative Writing“ häufig verwendet. Here various association approaches that are implemented to gather ideas. These techniques can also be used in photography to find ideas.

Free writing

  • Using one keyword, e.g., travel destination, anything that is associated with the keyword is noted (e.g.) within a limited amount of time. It is important to write down everything that you can think of, without judging anything. There should be no break in between writing the different words. Write down everything you can think of that is associated with keyword, even if it seems stupid. In doing so, your inner censor which is responsible for the creative block is then pushed to the background. This enables free association. Don’t evaluate your notes until after the allotted time has passed, then consider which ideas you could implement in your photography.

Cluster, Mind maps

  • Another option to gather your own ideas, are clusters and mind maps. The cluster technique is an association approach with the fundamental idea of creating a graphic network of words and thoughts. Whereas with a mind map you strive to create a systematic network of terms, the main aim of a cluster is an unsystematic, associated network of thoughts.


  • Create a chart with ten photo ideas you wish to implement. Afterwards, rank them from one to ten. By creating a ranking system, you become more involved with the give topic.
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