Finding a good source of motivation for photographers in any creative lull can be hard to see and even harder to go looking for.
We all suffer from creative blocks like writers and painters. Hopefully, this uplifting guide will give you the rocket fuel you need to jet set into a creative space – we can’t guarantee these awful puns will stop by the way!
There are 3 types of comments, that I’ve noticed as a photography tutor, which photographers make sometimes refer to their lull in creativity.
These types of negative thoughts contribute to a downward turn in motivation for photographers. In understanding our thoughts, we can hopefully find a solution. Let’s tackle them one by one.
When you’re adapting to new situations don’t force yourself to be extra creative – just shoot. Take lots of pictures, recognise what is bad and what isn’t (based on what you feel good about).
How about setting yourself a little project? Choose a subject you like and try out every angle you can use. different camera techniques etc. Just play around without thinking of if ‘trying to get the best shot’ – just get a shot.
You’re stopping any positive motivation by instantly being negative. Without picking up the camera you’ll never find the actual answer to a question you think you already know – but could be wrong.
Why not just try taking those shots regardless? If you’re an iPhotography member, use your knowledge from our courses. They’re not just words on a page they’re a bible to help photographers. You can’t shortcut this success by living on auto and presets.
Don’t shoot for others, it’s not a rating game. Likes, shares and attention are only for people that need them. 0% of real photographers started this hobby because they needed to be ‘Instagram-famous’.
Allow your audience to have different opinions and feelings over your photos. You’ve all done the same to someone else without knowing it. Let others have their voice, but remember it’s not a reflection of your skills, it’s a reflection of taste.
Our eyes have a much better dynamic range than our cameras. Meaning we can see opportunities with greater detail than our cameras can capture. Don’t assume that what you can see can be exactly captured by your camera (even a high end one).
The human eye can detect 10 MILLION individual colours. A good camera can only (currently) sense 3 basic colours (red, blue and green) with subtle mixes. Again, don’t pressure yourself when the shot doesn’t look the exact same as you expected. Understand that every camera has limitations compared to our eyes.
Good enough for who? Who are you taking pictures for? As soon as you start shooting for popularity, likes and reactions then you’re missing the point of photography and you’re becoming an influencer.
Remember why you started taking pictures and only aim to pursue that positive feeling that you used to love. That’s all we’re going to say on this piece, as it’s the most destructive comment you can make as an aspiring photographer.
Once you’ve acknowledged that you’re lacking the motivation that a photographer needs it’s time to find overriding the negativity with practical actions. How do we start finding inspiration? The first thing to know – you have to chase it, it won’t come to you.
Start a varied daily/weekly timetable, too much repetition won’t force your creative eye to wake up, it’ll get too lazy with the mundane. Embrace activities outside of your 9-5 life; try activities with family, kids and grandchildren which interrupt the normal routine, and something will spark in you.
With all that said, you need to recognise what you like to shoot and run with that. While it’s great to try something new, it may be a better alternative to go back to what you know and find that passion first in a comfortable environment before pushing on.
You can go backwards to help go forwards, it is not an indignity or acceptance of failure to photograph places you’ve done before. Start at home and try these action points:
• Revisit a location you shot years ago
• Crack out some old antiques or family. heirlooms to photograph
• Recreate a theme/era of life that meant something to you.
• Stage a shot as a homage to your favourite type of music/sport.
If you prefer to get outdoors and seek inspiration in the wider world then firstly consider what kind of place would inspire your type of photography?
• Landscapes – outdoors (obviously! Go on a hike or a group ramble)
• Still life – antique shops, jumble sales, second-hand shops
• Portraits – socialising, people-watching in a cafe
• Wildlife – visit a zoo/animal park
If you can’t get out that regularly to plan, then browse the net first. Instagram and Pinterest are amazing resources to find inspiration.
We’ve even got tonnes of sources of inspiration and motivation for photographers right here. Check out our iPhotography blogs and YouTube videos to help.
We try to keep our tutorials light and fun and suitable for beginner and amateur photographers with entry level DSLR or Mirrorless cameras (and sometimes just compacts or smartphones).
Save images to your phone/tablet over time. Don’t try and rush it all in one day. Inspiration takes time but the more regularly you open yourself up to it, the more interesting things you’ll see.