Sometimes our favorite activity becomes less than fun and dwells in the “chore” category. This especially applies to people who do that particular activity for work on a daily basis. I’m not sure about you, but when the days are short and full of more darkness than light, I feel less motivated to actually do my craft. Photography becomes something that I do on occasion when I have to, not a daily task I enjoy. It isn’t always easy getting out of a photo rut, but here are a few tips that might helpfully inspire you if you’re going through it as well.
Write about it
You don’t necessarily have to blog, but journaling about different issues in your life can help you determine what really is preventing you from shooting. Each time you feel uninspired or bothered by the photographic process, stop for a moment and write down why. Try to be as detailed as possible, it could be a recent interaction or stress is really bogging you down and you’re transferring that negativity onto your photography.
Look for inspiration
Whether online or in photobooks, try and find something that speaks to you. Sometimes, a great shoot idea can be spurred by seeing what fellow artists have done.
Do a challenge
I’ve been doing various challenges over the years to try and stay inspired. There are daily or weekly ones that have a topic you try to shoot during that timeframe. You could also make your own challenge to try and reach personal photo goals.
Collaborate with fellow creatives
Try and see if they need photos done for a project they’re working on. The advantage of this is you’ll be able to spend time with others & network for future opportunities.
Use your phone
Sometimes we get so caught up in only using our “high quality camera” that we forget about the camera we carry around with us every day. Though not as versatile, a camera on a phone still offers you the chance to capture a moment. Nowadays the quality has greatly improved as well and is definitely fine for display on web (where most photos wind up being posted.)
Try something new
Is there a technique or process you’ve been dying to try? Stop putting it off and try it! You could really enjoy the results (if all else, you’ll learn something new.)
Reach out to others
Do you have any family or friends in need of headshots? Or would someone love some images as a gift? I’m not usually a proponent of doing your work for free, but exceptions can be made for certain loved ones. When you have time & lack inspiration for other projects, this volunteer work may just get you excited to shoot again.
Go somewhere new
Traveling far and for an extended period is not feasible for most of us, but on your next day off, try to go somewhere new with your camera. You could plan a shoot at the location or take a street/lifestyle approach and go with the flow. Sometimes we become bored with our routine and changing that can bring back the excitement.
Pick up your camera and shoot. Don’t think about what you want to capture, just shoot. This is a very challenging tip for me to personally take because I’m an obsessive planner, but I know that this could benefit by getting you out of your head and bringing you to the present moment. When you aren’t preoccupied with worries, you can slow down and appreciate what you’re doing.
Losing inspiration sucks. It can make you feel like you’ve lost “it” or that you aren’t a true photographer because of how long it’s been since you’ve last shot. Though they aren’t pleasant, these ruts can teach us something about ourselves. We can learn what outside sources affect our art and how we can try and stop that interference. If none of these tips help, just give yourself time. Try a different medium, read, watch your favorite show, take up another hobby, just be sure not to let the rut take away all of your joy.
May the light be with you.