Every photographer has hit a creative wall at some point in their photography journey. You may just feel disillusioned in general because work isn’t coming through. Or even if you are not a pro, it could just be that you are struggling to capture unique photos when you are on location. Your tested and trusted eye is letting you down and you can’t seem to find the compositions or angles to get the photos you want. What do you do? How do you get yourself out of a slump? Here are 6 ways that you could try to find your creative spark again.
Take a break
It might seem counterproductive but it could just be that you need to take a break from photography altogether. Often taking a break from something can help you clear your mind and re-focus you. This might be an extended break of a few weeks or months. Or even if you are on a shoot, it might mean taking a break for a few hours like taking an afternoon off to just relax. You’ll be amazed how much more determined and re-energized you will be when you have had a break. This might also include taking a break from things like social media which can often increase someone’s anxiety about their own work.
Start a project
Sometimes the reason that you might feel that you are missing your creative spark is that you feel overwhelmed with the pressure of taking great photos. If you are a working photographer this might be because you are constantly taking the same photos over and over again. So you end up in a rut where your photography becomes a mechanical process of pointing and shooting rather than really thinking about the compositions and creative process. A great way to tackle this issue is to start a personal project. It can be something personal, an interest or even something you are passionate about. But a personal project is a great way to help get your creative spark back.
Look beyond the norm
One of the main reasons that you may be lacking that spark is because all your photos are starting to look the same. Every photographer is guilty of taking too many photos at eye level, aiming for the perfect exposure and composition that fits into the rules of photography. Sometimes being a bit more creative in your shots might be enough to get your creative juices flowing again. A really good exercise for this is to avoid looking in the viewfinder to compose your shot. Instead set your camera to “live view” mode and just go and shoot away at different angles and heights. For example, you’ll be amazed at how different things look at low angles rather than at eye level.
Buy (or rent) new gear
You know that feeling of excitement when you have a new piece of equipment to play with. Well, it is also one of the best ways to get your creativity going again if you are in a slump. Because you will naturally want to test out the new purchase you will be more likely to take photos. Something new doesn’t necessarily mean a new camera or a new lens. For example, you could try infrared photography by converting your camera. Or it could be as simple as a new piece of editing software or even an app. Basically, anything that will get you excited to photograph things again is worth trying out.
Connect with others
Photography can be a lonely hobby or profession. The only people who enjoy talking about photography are other photographers. A great way to keep yourself motivated but also getting inspired is to surround yourself with other photographers whose work you admire. But don’t stop just at photographers. You could also follow artists, designers, writers and even poets to help inspire your work. The important thing is not to copy other people but to use their work as inspiration for your own creativity. It’s the age-old practice of surrounding yourself with more talented people with the aim of raising the standard of your own work.
Print your work
We live in a digital world, but it is still really nice to see your work printed. There is something about an actual physical copy that always seems to make your work seem more valued. While print opportunities from clients might be limited and becoming more so every year, there is nothing stopping you from printing your own work to sell or even to just hang on your wall at home. It will give you an enormous sense of pride and might just make you want to get out there to take more photos.
Creativity can be fickle and sometimes you may feel that no matter what you try the photos are not turning out the way you wanted. The key is not to get depressed, as every photographer will at some point go through the same thing. Use the tips above to help you get your creative spark back.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.