You have been there, you hit those lulls and lazy days where you just think to yourself, nah I don't need that camera sitting there. It could be a normal day, getting to errands, out for a jog, or just the normal day to the office. Seeing the same thing you see and walk by everyday. We all get in this cycle of repetitiveness, we get uninspired and the camera just sits there. Sometimes its tough to get those creative juices going again, you just think to yourself why bother. I am not going to see anything of interest today? It's just another run to the coffee shop. So, how do I get out of this rut or prevent it?
It's crazy to think that even the greatest vloggers, bloggers or photography pros out there are just always doing great things but this is the perception we get watching or following in the social society of today. To be honest I am 100% sure that even the best of the best have struggling times trying to figure out what to do next, what content do I want to create and how do I inspire myself to get going. We are merely following the creation of their work which took countless hours and struggles for the end result. This is just to level set that it really takes perseverence, patience and a lot of work to get your juices going. You will definitely not wake up one morning ready to go at it again just by the blink of an eye.
So what are a few tips that I go thru to keep myself sane, happy and ready to go at it again? Here are a few things I do regularly that I hope will inspire anyone reading this to get out and shoot.
Always wear a camera
and I mean ALWAYS
This is the simplest piece of advice I can give, I cannot even tell you how many times I left my camera at home to find myself kicking myself in the ass for leaving it. Numerous times have I been getting gas and an amazing car stops right in front of me and I just clench my jaw in anger that I do not have my camera to take that shot. It could be walking to the coffee shop and an amazing person of interest is there at that moment but there you are camera-less. In a previous post "The Unexpected Moment", I talk about that most of my favorite photos are random events and that we can not plan when an amazing moment is right in front of you. Being ready to capture it is so important and how can this happen if you leave your camera at home?
This is why this is my number one rule to getting going. You will never get out of that rut if your camera is just dusting away on your home desk. I will not lie, you will have days where you brought the camera and nothing happened, but that is ok. The one moment you find an amazing photo, its like an adrenaline rush. You will start to crave and crave for more. Just wait, wait and wait for that right moment and you will cherish those photos even more. It really is the agony and struggle that makes that photo that much more special. Here is a image of a normal truck on my way to work that I found to be a favorite shot of mine, just another day to the office.
Take a different path
Often times we get in a cycle in the day to day things we do. Often times we think its just another ordinary route. This often leads to times where you just sit there and want to leave the camera at home. Sometimes taking a different route to get to your destination can lead to new things. I often times take a longer walk to get to the office to potentially find something new. Sometimes you wont find anything but with this approach you give yourself a bigger change and opportunity to experience a new area. Getting to the office 5 min later than usual is setback I will take to find a new street with new photos.
My advice to you is to look at a new road or new path to whereever your destination is. Sometimes you will stumble upon a great new building, person or road. It's not 100% proof that you will uncover a hidden secret but you will never know what the back street has for you if you always walk in a straight line to your destination.
Expand your range
Photography is constantly a learning art, never will I ever say that I am a master at it. Yes, we learn the craft and get better but we also get stale if all we do is the same thing. There are so many other genre's in photography that we can learn but we should also practice. Learning is only going to get you so far, go out there and try it out. There are often times that I read a technique for a particular shooting style that I can actually use in things like landscape.
There are so many things you can get your hands wet in that should help you to keep learning and keep you inspired. Go out and try a few things such as long exposure, street photography, portraits, flash photography, action sports and many more.
Try the Art of Print
An area where I am currently focused on and keeping me going is actually printing your photos. There's a whole other world of craft and materials for framing your art that has inspired me of late. Its really one thing to see your photo in a laptop vs seeing it printed out on actual paper. The level of detail you uncover in a print is amazing and inspiring. I never knew how tack sharp some of my photos were until I started printing. It's sort of a realization of all your work coming together once you start to print it down, instead of sharing in a social site and forgetting about it. Add on top the selection of paper and frames that will drive your image and you can easily get entrenched in the framing world.
Start a new series
For me personally, one photo that inspires me starts a series. This is actually a good way to get you focused on what to shoot next. Often times I find a photo of maybe something industrial or work in action and it starts a photo hunt to find more images that can fit this series. Some projects last years and some you can do in a hurry but starting a few projects/series will help you focus on types of photos to key in on. It also makes my travel planning an interesting one, as when you have a goal you can focus on how to achieve it and where to go.
Try Monochrome (Black/White)
Another area where I have started exploring more is shooting in black and white. I set my camera to monochrome jpeg settings and my raw files stay with the full color rendition. This is a way to get a different perspective while shooting as you focus on the tones and shadows more than the color. You can even actually see exposure better in black in white as colors sometimes distract you from seeing if its actually over or under exposed. Seeing the world in black in white is great and in most cameras you can still have color raw files when you want to go back to just color for the same picture. I advice people to try this out as you might find it interesting to see the shades of gray.
Join a Social Group
Lastly, if you really want to create continuing inspiration is to join an actual group with like minded people. You often times find opportunities to meet, chat and just talk about pure photography with people. This can often lead to just talking about experiences or places that can drive you going out there and shooting more.
In summary, there really is no one or two answers to get you jump started. What I offer here is advice and tips on how I go about and get my inspirations, and hopefully this does the same for you. The camera has really taken off as my life passion but we all get into lulls in life, its a matter of how we pick ourselves back up and get going again.