For many of us, photography goes beyond a hobby, it becomes a passion, an addictive high that we must obtain at every opportunity. The joy of discovering a unique angle or freezing a moment in time consumes us, we strive to improve with every shot. Sometimes though, the love affair can turn sour, the passion no longer there, the beautifully crafted wonder of technology that is our camera is no longer the apple of our eye, merely a tool that we feel obliged to use because we have invested so much of our life in it. How do we rekindle that relationship, reignite the spark and return photography to our life?
Going Cold Turkey
We can try and reconnect with photography through the use of some proverbs, or cliches depending on your point of view. Lets start with “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” If you get to the stage where you feel obliged to go and take photographs, then it’s time to step away. Take an enforced break, a few weeks or even months, however long it takes. Lock the camera way, out of sight, out of mind and try to not feel obligated to take images. Eventually, once the obligation has passed, you will feel the passion to take shots again, leave it another week to allow that hunger to build, then dust off your precious and take to the streets or studio again.
Of course this first example is an extreme, cold turkey form of regaining your love for photography.
Try a New Speciality
There are less drastic ways to do it and lets have a look at some of them, starting with two further cliches (proverbs), “A change is as good as a rest” and “Familiarity breeds contempt”. Most of us find a particular area of photography that holds our attention, it may be travel, street or portraiture, but the fact is, most of us tend to specialize. Looking for a new area of photography to try will challenge the way you think about your subjects, exposure and composition. At first it may seem entirely alien, and the results will be less than stellar but as you improve in your new field, so you will find that creative spark that first hooked you on photography and as a bonus you will have learnt new skills and techniques elevating your photography to a new level.
Try looking for amusing scenes to re-ignite your passion by Jason Row Photography, on Flickr
Revisit the Past
Our next proverb is “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” For many of us, our weakest link is post production. By learning new post production techniques we can strengthen our photographic ability overall. Start by going back in time, to some of your earlier images, not only will you be able to compare them to recent work and gauge how your composition and techniques have improved, but also you can start to apply more modern post production techniques to those images, breathing a new life into them.
Post production has always been an integral part of photography, but it is something that not everyone spends much time on. Try to learn some new skills, learn about some of the more complex aspects of Photoshop or perhaps a new workflow for Aperture or Lightroom. The internet is awash with free tutorials on just about every aspect of photographic post production. With these new technique’s learnt you will find that you want to go out and take new images to practice your newly learnt talents.
Try learning some new post production techniques by Jason Row Photography, on Flickr
Take the Time to Get Your Gear in Order
Let’s round up with yet another proverb, “Cleanliness is next to godliness”. Cleaning our photographic equipment can seem somewhat of a chore, but when you are suffering from photographer’s block it can be a form of rehabilitation. Picking up that wonderfully engineered tube of metal and glass that is your favorite lens and restoring its elements to pristine condition can be both wonderfully relaxing and potentially inspiring. Knowing that your equipment has been returned to tip top condition and is sitting there waiting to be used should be just the incentive that you need to pick it up and go to take great shots.
There will be times, as a photographer, that you no longer feel the need, or the passion to take photos. Many of us tend to feel guilty about this, but there is no need to feel this way, it is a natural part of life and can be overcome. I will leave you with one last proverb, one that will sum up your feelings once you have rediscovered your passion and started taking great shots again, this one from John Keats' epic poem, Endymion, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”