Going through a creative rut can be frustrating, and sometimes scary, but it is usually temporary. Photographer’s block can happen to you at any time. It’s up to you to turn it into a positive experience and grow in the process.
1-Push yourself, take risks and make mistakes.
The saying is not that we learn from our successes, but that we learn from our mistakes! Experiment with different techniques and genres and don’t be afraid to fail.
2-Get out of your comfort zone.
Try something that seems completely out of character for you. If you are a rather shy person, go out and shoot some street photography or make street portraits of strangers! You never know whether you are going to love it or hate it until you try it.
3-Spend time with other photographers.
More often than not, we are the only ‘photography nut’ in our family. It can be very frustrating at times but we cannot force others to love the craft as much as we do. As long as your family is supportive of your passion, don’t expect them to share your excitement every time you see something that turns you on photographically. Get together with other photographers by joining or creating a photo walk group in your area. You will get your fix and grow as a photographer by seeing and learning something new with each outing.
4-Take a class.
Whether it is in a physical classroom or online, taking a photography class can help you get your groove back. Participating in a workshop, whether it’s a day long in your hometown or a week-long adventure in an exotic location, will definitely help motivate you.
Visit museums and art galleries. Look at photography and other art forms such as paintings and sculptures. Pick up a large book of photographs from artists you’ve long admired and slowly page through it, paying attention to the composition, light and story. Look at the work of emerging artists on line. The goal is to immerse yourself in something beautiful.
6-Become a mentor.
Go out with someone who just picked up a camera and help them get started. I can guarantee you that sharing your love for photography and technical knowledge with someone who is just learning will rekindle your creativity. You will learn something in the process and feel really good about yourself.
7-Get lost on purpose!
Don’t think about what you are going to shoot, just get out with your camera. Something will trigger your photographic eye along the way.
8-Pick a theme.
It may be as simple as photographing the color yellow, reflections in puddles or people walking their dogs. Leaving the house with a theme in mind will keep you focussed and turn your photo walk into a treasure hunt.
9-Start a project.
Commit yourself to a long term project such as a 52-week project or a series of self portraits. Get extra motivation by doing it as part of a group via your favorite social media platform.
10-Try new gear!
Borrow or rent a new lens for a weekend. Try something fun like shooting with a fish eye lens or a tilt-shift. Easier yet, you can experiment with a camera phone and fun Apps!
It’s okay to take a little break too! Remember that creativity is a process, not a result. A creative block is not something to fear. It is part of being an artist.
Please share your experience with the readers of Digital Photography School. Thanks!