How to Be More Spontaneous in Your Photography and Life

eric kim street photography -sapa-0005896

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of haiku poetry — and one of the concepts that inspires me the most is the concept of spontaneity.

The concept is to write poems without thinking too much. It means to walk, experience the world, and when a concept comes to your mind — you write it down, effortlessly, harnessing that spontaneity.

1. Don’t follow your brain

eric kim street photography -sapa-0006062
Sapa, 2017

I also feel we should do the same in our photography. We shouldn’t ‘think’ too much when shooting. Rather, we need to follow our gut, and harness spontaneity and serendipity.

For example, whenever I go out and shoot I’m like an empty vessel. I empty my mind. I have no pre-conceived ideas. I only photograph what comes to me.

This has helped open up my world in a creative way. I no longer discriminate in terms of what to photograph and what not to photograph. Instead, I treat each object, scene, and personal as special and unique. This is how I find beauty in the mundane.

2. Listen to your gut

eric kim abstract
Bac Ha, 2017

Sometimes you walk around, and you see something that just compels you to shoot. It comes from your gut, and from your soul.

But then there is that voice in your head that goes:

Oh no, don’t photograph that. It will be boring. You will get very few likes on socail media.

Then you end up not shooting it. But turn off that inner-censor in your mind. It is like a pop-up advertisement for your mind. Shut off the inner-censor by not judging yourself when you’re shooting. Also, it takes me a while to walk around, to get ‘in the zone’ of shooting. And to also get less distracted when I’m shooting, I turn off my phone.

3. How to be more spontaneous in your life

vietnam road eric kim
Vietnam, 2017

Be a little more spontaneous and random in your life. Start off your day without any appointments in your digital calendar. Let each moment be brand-new. Don’t schedule your life.

To harness spontaneity means to keep your eyes open. To be flexible. To be a ‘flaneur’ without a plan in mind.

Take a different path to work. Drive a different route to work. Walk home a different way. Shoot in a different part of town you’re not used to.

Switch things up. Variety is the spice of life. And the more variety you have in your life, the more new and spontaneous moments, and the more you can fill in your creative voids.

Be random,

Learn more: Creativity >