People say that no matter how much you love your work, there will come a time when you won’t feel inspired. Indeed, inspiration won’t always be around. Many days will come when you’ll feel stuck in a loophole, feeling uninspired. No matter how talented and passionate you are, this feeling does not excuse anyone—not even artists and photographers.
Many people think that the job of photographers seems easy. In their minds, all you need is a piece of a camera, and you’re off to take the best shot in the world. If that were the case, I bet many photographers would be celebrating today. However, that’s not the reality of their job. Just like us, they struggle to keep their grits going.
Many photographers take thousands of pictures in a month. Most of them work on a specific theme, which can be limiting. As a result, they struggle to stay creative and innovative with their shots. Hence, their inspiration fire starts to decay and run out. If you’re going through this rut, this post is for you. These tips are for photographers who are looking for inspiration in their work. Hopefully, these tips will help spark your creativity again.
1. Try an activity that is related to photography.
When you’re running out of ideas, sometimes, you need a breath of fresh air. An activity that will let you take a break from your work. The great thing about photography is that many branches relate to it. In short, there are many jobs and activities that you can explore to improve your skills in photography.
If you’ve only been taking pictures since you started your career, why don’t you consider trying film processing? This time, why don’t you explore the art of film photography and work on developing your shots? Many professional photographers suggest young photographers try film cameras. According to them, film cameras help aspiring photographers hone their skills—that digital camera makes it easy. Aside from film processing, you can also consider photo printing. You can focus and learn how professional photo printing shops deliver your shots to life. Maybe one of these two activities will spark a new photography idea that you haven’t thought of before.
2. Revisit your old shots—particularly those from when you were just starting.
I believe that there are three types of people when it comes to remembering the past. The first are those who refuse to look back. Then, we have those who can’t move past the past. And finally, we have those who look back and appreciate how far they’ve come. In a world full of the first and second types of people, I hope you choose to be the last one. Be a person who appreciates the past and recognises how far you’ve come. You can start by revisiting your past works. The shots that were once the trophies of your photography career.
As you revisit your past works, try to observe your style. How different is your creative style now from before? Try to remember your tactics when taking the ‘perfect shot’. If you can, try to recall how you form your ‘idea bank’. Do you work on a specific theme and draw ideas out of it? Or do you have a way of deciding on a final theme? Whatever those are, start by revisiting your past works. Trust that your past self can teach you something—and bring an idea that you haven’t thought of before.
3. Check out the works of photographers that cover a theme you haven’t done before.
People say that one of the ways to succeed is by learning from other people’s experiences. I believe the same is true when looking for inspiration. You can use other people’s experiences for inspiration and relate them to your work. When photographers are running out of inspiration, sometimes, they need challenges. One of which is by exploring the works of other photographers. Specifically, those that cover a different theme you haven’t tried before. By doing so, you get to see the perspective of other photographers.
Sometimes, when you’re working within a specific theme, there’s a chance that your ideas will become clouded. That’s why it’s best to learn and appreciate other photographers’ work from time to time. By doing so, you’re not limiting your ideas to just a specific theme. You’re expanding your ideas and seeing styles that you can apply to your work.
4. Take photos without having a specific theme in mind—at different times of the day. Let your lenses be your source of inspiration.
Working on a specific theme for years or even months can take the passion out of you. The activity that once fuels you could end up burning you. Unfortunately, this feeling can trigger you to stop. Hopefully, you haven’t experienced that yet. When you feel like that’s bound to happen, I suggest you keep on taking photos. But this time, don’t limit yourself to a specific theme. Instead, you let your camera lenses be your source of inspiration.
If you want, you can set specific hours of the day when to shoot. But of course, you wouldn’t want to force yourself into taking pictures when you don’t feel like it. You can try this activity only when you want to. Maybe you could set an hour during the day, an hour during noon, and during the dark. Sometimes, you just need to go out there and see the world at different times of the day. You won’t only see the differences in lighting and exposure. You’ll also notice differences in people’s expressions and actions throughout the day.
Give at least one of these tips a try. Maybe you’re just one activity away from igniting an idea to inspire you again.
My blog only contains four tips that could hopefully help you. However, despite being only four, these tips aim to spark your ideas once again. Hopefully, you’ll give at least one of these four tips a try. Maybe all you need is to focus on one of these to spark inspiration.
Remember, you can get inspiration from anywhere. So the next time you’re feeling stuck, remember to take the time to look around you. Maybe you’re just one look and activity away from igniting an idea to inspire you again.
About the author:
Bianca Banda is a writer for DS Colour Labs Ltd (DSCL), a professional photography lab that offers a vast range of products and services for photo and print needs.