Whether you are a beginner or you are already a photographer with an established photography business, creative block is something that can be quite damaging if it catches you unprepared. If you own a photography business, it can even result in significant financial damage.
One of the most important things when it comes to creative blocks is being prepared for it. It is inevitable and it will occur sooner or later. That doesn’t mean that it is the end of the world and, rest assured, it can always be mitigated.
Consider these suggestions in order to help yourself when going through a creative block:
Additional Art Forms
Photography is an art form, that is a given. However, many art forms share common elements with other artforms alike? Take classical drawing or painting for example – the difference is in the way you transfer a scene from reality onto a medium. However, the principles of composition, light, colour palette, subjects, foreground & background, basically remain quite similar. When faced with a creative block then, switching to a different art form can help in mitigating the issue. Look at or try to create something in a different medium, it will serve you well when it comes to providing you with ideas or motivation to shoot some pictures later on.
“David-Oath of the Horatii-1784” by Jacques-Louis David
Place Restrictions In Order To Challenge Yourself
Challenges usually serve as good motivation to do something. In photography, challenges often arise if you restrict yourself to only a certain aspect in order to force creativity. Since creativity can’t really be forced, this seems like a waste of time. But restrictions help in getting you back to the basics, stimulating you to take a different approach to something you do. Often then, when trying out a different approach, new ideas come to mind which helps your creative process along the way.
Some examples might included only shooting at f22 or only shooting for black and white. Maybe even shooting prime when you usually shoot with a zoom.
Photo by Rajesh Kumar
Manage The Pressure
Pressure from work and personal issues impact creativity significantly. Even though this might sound trivial, reducing the stress from external stimuli will significantly improve your creative output. Obviously that is quite difficult to do in this dynamic society, but it can be done with the right routine and efficiency, and frankly – it should be done. As a photographer, being capable of being creative as much as possible is crucial for you – and you need to focus on creating the perfect situation to achieve that. Eliminating stress and pressure as much as possible should be somewhere among the top priorities on your to do list for creative block management.
Having a sketchbook with you all the time is one of the smartest moves you can make in the battle against creative block. Logging your ideas by sketching them, or just simply writing them down, will help you win the battle. You probably won’t execute most of the ideas in the sketchbook, since that is basically a more organized way of brainstorming. But, when push comes to shove, you can utilize some of those ideas in order to start creating. Of course, you can mix and match them, combine, build upon, or use them as details. That is completely up to you. Having them around in times of need is always a smart move.
Photo by Dave Kleinschmidt
Take A Break And Change The Scenery
This is quite obvious, but the effect is often underrated. Taking a break often helps your mind to relax and get refreshed a tad, thus helping you to continue your work more effectively afterwards. However, alternating between Photoshop and Facebook doesn’t count as taking a break. Leave your computer, go outside, take a walk. Remember that park you haven’t visited for weeks? Head there. Changes in scenery, especially when it comes to leaving the four walls of your workspace, does a lot of good for the contrained mind.
Photo by Jonas Weckschmied
Suffering from a creative block is nothing new, and it won’t be as damaging as it normally is if you are prepared for it. Having contingency plans will get you out of creative block as soon as possible. Get your things in order as much as possible, reduce stress (which is good for the body as well), and log your ideas whenever you can. Keep in mind that creative block is not a single, isolated occurrence, it will happen from time to time. Going through it each time will prepare you better for the next one. You just need to be willing to learn – and you’ll be back at 100% in no time.