Life, Photography

How I Filter My Ideas: Photography, Writing + Projects

Hello Everyone!

I’ve been super busy over the last few weeks with a load of different projects at college. My most recent topic is Narrative, which involved a lot of planning and storyboarding to make sure I was ticking all the boxes, which got me thinking about how I plan my photoshoots and filter through all of my many, many ideas.

I thought I’d walk you through my process for filtering through my ideas today since I know I like hearing about other people’s creative processes and I also feel like mine might be a little different to other people’s since I’m Autistic and therefore think a little differently:


Brain Dump

All planning processes start with a big old brain dump for me. This is done in all manner of places including the notes section on my phone, my sketchbook, post it notes, the back of my hand and I sometimes even write in that notebook I specifically bought for doing brain dumps in!

The point of my brain dumps is to just get all of my ideas out and onto paper so I don’t forget any of them. I’m a very creative person, so when I’m presented with a new project, my mind tends to race off ahead, imaging all the cool things I could do, which leaves me feeling overwhelmed and a little bit crazy at times.

Categorise the Brain Dump

As good as brain dumps are, they aren’t particularly easy to read or come back to, so once I’ve got all my ideas out on paper I then go ahead and sort all of the rubbish into cohesive lists that I can come back to and understand what I was thinking at the time.

Re-look at the brief and put aside the ones that don’t actually fit

At this point I have to come back to reality and re-look at the brief. I tend to get carried away when I’m thinking of ideas, but when it comes to college work there’s always a brief I have to work to in order to tick the right boxes and a time limit, so I have to be realistic with my ideas. I also tend to go off on tangents a lot and end up thinking up some really cool ideas that don’t actually fit my current project, so I have to put them aside for later.

Be Realistic with what you can actually do within the time and with the resources you have

I touched on this in the last point, but another thing I struggle with and have to take into account whilst I’m planning and sorting through ideas is what I can actually do. As much as I would love to do all of these extravagant projects, most of the time I just don’t have the time or the resources to pull them off. I might want to go and take photos of the Northern Lights for a project, but that’s a bit ridiculous and definitely not within my budget, so sometimes I just have to settle for stock images.

Pick your favourites/the ones that best fit the brief

Once I’ve sorted out all my ideas, put them into a cohesive list and sorted through the ones that don’t fit or are unrealistic for the time being, I am then left with my list of ideas that I could do. Once I’ve got that list I then have to decide which ones fit the brief the best and that I am at least pretty excited about.

Sometimes I have to put aside my fun ideas and creative freedom just to fit the brief, which is something I learnt during my Art GCSE. The topics I had to choose from for that weren’t really to my taste and I really didn’t like mixing mediums, but I had to do it to pass, so sometimes you do have to give up what you want to do in order to pass. It sucks, but the way I got around it was I made everything twice in those situations: I did it one way for the school and then I did it how I wanted to do it separately.

I have a whole list of projects/ideas that I’ve collected over the years from projects I’ve had to do for school or college, but I’ve had to put them aside for one reason or another. On the bright side, I’ll never run out of ideas for projects when I leave school.

Moodboard it

Once I’ve got my ideas sorted the next thing I do is moodboard it out. I’m a very visual person and I love everything aesthetic, so once I know what I want to go for I turn straight to pinterest to find some inspiration. If I’m doing a photoshoot then I usually print off photos and make a double page spread in my art journal for me to turn to whenever I’m looking for some inspiration to get going on the project. If the project is a bit more obscure like the 3D project I was working on for college last week, then I usually just make a big pinterest board instead because that sort of project doesn’t really lend itself to art journal spreads.

Either way though It’s really important that I have some kind of visual representation of my written ideas for me to turn back to and moodboards seems to be the most effective method for me to do that.

Equipment/prop list

The final thing I do before I get cracking with my ideas and projects is sort out what equipment and props I’m going to need, as well as the location. This doesn’t usually take long and really just requires me to write it down, but I find it invaluable to actually make that list and have it written down, so I don’t forget anything.


That’s it! Those are all the steps I take when I’m trying to sort through my ideas for a photoshoot, writing project or anything creative really. I hope it was helpful in someway and maybe interesting to hear about someone else’s creative process because I know I really enjoy hearing about how other people work.

I’ve filmed an accompanying video to this blog post, so you can go and watch that as well if you want to hear me talk about my process in a little more detail and watch me actually planning one of my upcoming projects: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd81vyr9In6f0Z5Kd9jgHyQ?view_as=subscriber

What’s your creative process?

Goodbye for now!

Over and Out

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