We all go through phases of creative drought from time to time. Though they’re very natural phenomenons, especially in the world of artists, they can be very discouraging. They sneakily tell us that we’ll never find valuable inspiration again and that our best photographs have already been taken. This, of course, is a lie not worth taking to heart.
Whether you feel a little uninspired or very tired of art in general, there are healthy ways you can recover your love for photography. Some of these methods don’t involve photography at all, so don’t be afraid of giving them a try. Even if they don’t cure your creative block immediately, these tips provide you with a new outlook on creativity and give you a chance to look at your talent from a refreshing perspective.
Here are three things you can do when you’re out of inspiration.
Take a Step Back from Photography
Often times, all you need to do is let your interests rest for a short while. Distracting yourself from your daily work will naturally refresh your motivation and ideas. This activity is akin to going on a vacation – no matter where you go, a part of you will always miss home. Similarly, taking a step back from your love for photography – your home – will give you enough space to appreciate it from a clearer point of view. Unlike going on a vacation, however, you can take a break from photography without traveling far.
Distractions can be as simple as watching films and documentaries, reading books, finding new music to enjoy, or going out for walks more often. None of these activities have to be photography-related. Your main objective now is to put effort into observing life without your camera. Eventually, you’ll start to notice interesting details, learn valuable information, and naturally acquire an abundance of ideas for future shoots.
If you don’t want to take a serious break from photography, immerse yourself in other genres. Discovering new photographers is vital to our growth as artists. If you’re a family photographer, research artists who enjoy taking photographs of landscapes and wildlife. If you’re a macro photographer, find portrait photographers whose work speaks to you. Don’t limit yourself to a specific genre – if you take the time to appreciate other types of art, you’ll find yourself feeling prepared to take outstanding photographs of your own.
If you want to be even more involved in this process, join a photography community. Instagram, 500px, and Flickr are all filled with exceptional photographers who share their work consistently. Follow blogs, watch interviews, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for advice and give out a compliment or two. A new connection may turn into a close friend or a mentor. You, in turn, may be able to help and inspire others with your knowledge.
Acquire New Skills and Start New Projects
Learning new things isn’t always easy. We tend to stick to what we know, especially if we’re confident in our skills. Though comfort is soothing and pleasant, it’s important to be flexible as an artist. Flexibility and openness will allow you to be a more diverse and skilled artist, someone who’s as adept at thinking as they are at taking photographs. No matter how experienced you are, there’s always more room for improvement. A new technique, skill, or idea may transform a creative drought into a motivating experience. To succeed at this, all you need to have is a willingness to learn and a little self-discipline.
Knowledge exists everywhere. Here are a few things you can do to improve as a photographer:
- Experiment with new editing styles
- Get better at photo manipulation by watching Photoshop tutorials and workshops
- Attend a real workshop, meet new people, and receive valuable constructive criticism
- Experiment with different photography genres
- Collaborate with new artists
- Start a small project
There’s no limit to what you can do in the photography realm. Creative blocks, however, will do their best to tell you the opposite. Fight them by taking a healthy break, absorbing knowledge, or embracing diversity. Sooner than later, you’ll find yourself taking incredible photographs and feeling stable as an artist. With your newfound wisdom and skills, you’ll be able to face stronger obstacles in the future. Cherish this period in your life – right at this moment, it’s strengthening you in beautifully unimaginable ways.