Every photographer I know has experienced a period when he or she hits the wall and needs to create distance from the camera. Call it a lull, rejuvenation period, or simply time off, it’s necessary to maintain creativity. These periods of down time are normal and should be taken in stride. But what happens if these lulls evolve into a week or even longer. Then it becomes an issue. If this happens to you, try some of the following techniques to get re-motivated.
Give Yourself an Assignment: A sure fire way to get yourself revved up is to develop a photo theme in which you’re interested. It may be one you’ve already started but want to expand or be something completely new and different. Pick a topic that doesn’t require long drives so you don’t use it as an excuse to not pick up the camera. It can be broad based like macro photography or more specific like parts of a car, architectural details, motion, etc. Create a schedule you can adhere to but not too rigorous to become a burden. Try something new such as portraiture, flowers, still life etc.
Join A Camera Club: Camera clubs are organized by photographers for photographers. Depending on the club, meetings are held once, twice or even three times a month. Their purpose it to promote photography with competitions among the members, provide instructional shows on different aspects of photography, and have organized field trips to photogenic locations in and around the area of the club. Often found is a lot of camaraderie, sharing of knowledge, and photographic enthusiasm. If you’re not familiar with the concept and you’d like to check one out, search the internet for photography clubs in your area. I live a bit south of Denver and within a 30 mile radius, there are more than 10.
Vacation Time: Nothing gets the creative juices flowing more than a photo trip. It can be a long weekend, an overnight camping trip, or a full blown vacation. Regardless of their duration or distance from home, they get you to think photographically, try new ideas or techniques, and relax the mind which results in more carefully planned images. If it’s a local trip, treat it as if you were going around the world as it will get you more fired up. Photograph people as if they’re native to a foreign country looking for interesting faces. A bonus is you may get a model release, use the image commercially and have it become one of your biggest stock sellers.
Snap Away: Buy a digital point and shoot and go for short walks around the neighborhood. Take pictures of everything you encounter but try to add a new twist to the image. Try unique angles, experiment with flash, get in close, lay down on the ground, use slow shutter speeds to convey motion, etc. When you get back home, download the images. You may find a shot that really clicks and results in a newly found style. It costs you nothing but time and effort. Convert some of the files to black and white. It may spark an interest in that medium. A point and shoot frees you up from the SLR frame of mind where you feel the need to create professional caliber images with every press of the shutter.
If none of the above gets you going, try one of these other ideas to spark your interest. Take a photography course from a local college. If there are none, look to see what your local camera store may offer with regards to instruction. Devote time to Photoshop and try a new technique. Buy a photography instructional book and try some of the tips. Plan to shoot the same location during all the seasons showing how it changes. Enter a photo contest. If you win, it will motivate you to shoot more – problem fixed!
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