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As much as any other art form, photography is very much layered – there’s the complex equipment always at an arm’s reach, loads of ideas in the head, a stock of saved pictures, and even more future shots planned and imagined. But one element takes the centre stage – inspiration, and as valuable as it is, it’s also fleeting sometimes.
There will certainly be times you hit a photographer’s block but don’t despair! Here are several tips to help you get it all back and ensure you never run out of creative energy again.
Table of Contents
Make an effort to find at least one inspiring image a day. Seeing other people’s work can be a great source of inspiration for your own projects and can teach you something new along the way. The quickest way is to check out the social media – browse through endless photos on Instagram or Pinterest and check out photography exhibitions as well. Often, it’s much more impressive seeing a work of art up close.
We tend to get comfortable with the way certain scenes and objects are shot from similar points of view: a portrait of a person, a skyscraper from street level or a close-up of a beautiful flower. By shifting your perspective and breaking the default rules, you can create your own rules and form your unique style.
Try shooting with different lenses and from various angles, pick uncommon subjects, and even experiment with your own selfies. Just remember that it’s all about the learning process and inspiration will surely follow.
A personal project is something every photographer should take up, regardless of how long they’ve been in the business or their level of expertise. It’s very useful for beginners as it can teach them how to develop the necessary skills.
According to the teachings of a current master’s degree in photography, this art form is all about actively and effectively interpreting the contemporary world and this is something you never truly finish learning. It’s a lifelong education of bringing creative ideas to life. Even professionals have benefits – a valuable outlet where they can continuously challenge themselves outside of their daily existence.
Dabbling in a genre you’ve never tried before or had never felt quite confident about is the photography version of getting out of your comfort zone. In lots of cases, the exact reason for the lack of photography inspiration comes from a sense of staleness and not being able to grow. Experimenting with something new can take you back to your roots when all seemed fresh and exciting.
Sometimes, all it takes is a breath of fresh air and a long walk. Getting away from the noise and crowd will give you a break from distractions and allow your mind to de-stress and re-focus. Whether you’ll take the camera with you or not is up to you. Having no gear allows you to be more attentive and absorbing of your surroundings, whereas a camera at hand lets you take as many photos as you can without chasing the perfect one.
And if your own neighbourhood has become too restraining, change the entire scenery! Take a trip to a place you’ve never been to and opt for a different kind of transport such as a train ride. This will keep your mind off the road and on the life and movement around you.
Buying expensive gear is not likely to restore your photography inspiration, but you might consider getting some new camera accessories such as a flash or ND filter as they can have a big impact on your work long term.
More importantly, focus on learning a new skill and expanding your knowledge. Just like in any other art or craft, doing the same thing over and over again can wear your spirits down, but that’s nothing some novelty can’t cure. It could be a new post-processing style, camera technique or adding movement to a static style of photography by long exposures or cinemagraphs.
Most digital photographs end up stored in an old hard disk away from heart and mind. But, visual contact and physical touch can be instrumental in sparking your inspiration. Select your favourite images and compose an album or frame a few to hang up in your office.
In addition to the tangible part, film photography always produces unexpected imperfections like double exposure, photobombs, and light leaks. An old-style camera can open up a whole new world of photography for you and keep you on your toes as you wait to get the pictures developed.
Becoming a professional in any field is no walk in a park. There are bound to be ups and down but the hardest one is certainly losing your inspiration. In such times, take a step back, take a deep breath, and try to remember what drew you to photography in the first place. Hopefully, tips listed here can help you find your way back.
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