We all go through creative blocks. Is it such a bad thing? Or, on the contrary, is it a sign that we need to push ourselves, and grow in the process? I think that a loss of passion may be an opportunity to renew and refresh your vision and turn it in a positive experience, instead of staying in a rut and feeling sorry for yourself.
Ten Tips to Get your Photo Mojo Back
1 – Get out of your comfort zone
You may hear this one often, but have you done it yet? I’m not suggesting that you go out and shoot your first wedding, but try something that may seem out of character for you. I consider myself more of an urban photographer than anything else. But I have experimented with other genres, such as B&W flower photography. Did I enjoy it? Sure I did, tremendously! But I also realized that I’m happier shooting street photography. That realization alone gave me a boost to get out and do more of what I love most.
2 – Hang out with other photographers
Hanging out with like minded people is like therapy. Admit it, you often experience some frustration when you are on an outing with non-photographers. Being able to enjoy a photo walk without having to justify why you need to take your time to get the shot is priceless. Join a group or start your own. The latter option is a good way to make sure that you will show up for all the photo walks!
3- Start a new project
Before you embark on a long project, make sure you’ll be able to handle the commitment. For example, a 365 project is a great way to grow as a photographer but it can also become a burden and be counterproductive. If you end up quitting after a few weeks, you may end up feeling worse about yourself and photography in general. If you decide to go for the 365, don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t get to the point where you’ll shoot just about anything to get your pic of the day. Remember, it’s supposed to be fun! You may also consider starting something a little bit more manageable such as a 52-week project, a short term photo essay, a series of portraits of strangers or selfies, etc. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you share with the world! Which leads to the next point…
4 – Try a new lens
Rent or borrow something completely different such as a fish eye, a macro lens or a Lensbaby Composer for a few days, see the world differently and embrace the new possibilities.
5 – Share your work, start a blog!
Share your work on social media, or consider starting a photography blog. You don’t need to be a writer to start a photography blog, think of it as a journal in pictures. It’s so much more fun than keeping your images in your hard drive. It will also give you a boost in your confidence and push you to shoot more and better.
You can get a free, or inexpensive blog using resources like:
6 – Page through a good photography book
We get inspiration online all the time. Everything we do seems to be online. The Internet is a wonderful thing and we are exposed to the work of so many amazing artists from all over the world and in real time. Sometimes we need to slow down and sit down with a big beautiful book of photographs. Visit a real book store or a library for a change of pace and for renewed inspiration.
7 – Visit museums
Photography exhibits are a wonderful way to get some inspiration, but do not neglect looking at art in general. Sculptures, paintings, etc. See the passion that fueled the works of art showcased at your local museum.
8 – Teach a child
Give a camera to a child and go on a photo walk. You’ll be amazed to discover the world from a child’s perspective. Better yet, this could ignite a life-long passion thanks to you!
9 – Write a list of techniques you’ve never tried and give it a shot!
There isn’t a single technique that is not explained in detail online, so you have no excuse for not experimenting with something new. You never know, this light painting thing may just be what you need to feel inspired again, so get to work!
10 – Simply pick up your camera and photograph something in your house
There is no reason to stay in a rut, all you need to do is pick up a camera, any camera. You can even stay home and do it. Pick an ordinary object and make it look extraordinary! This simple step will get the creative juices flowing again.
Okay it’s your turn
It’s okay to feel down and uninspired, it’s all part of being an artist. Turn it around and use it as an excuse to push yourself and try something new!
Please take a minute to share your experience dealing with creative block and how you found your muse again.
Books mentioned above and in Valerie’s stack:
- Through the Lens: National Geographic Greatest Photographs (National Geographic Collectors Series)
- Paris – Robert Doisneu
- Photography: The Whole Story
- Vivian Maier
- William Albert Allard: Five Decades