Every photographer hits the proverbial wall from time to time. You know, you get stuck in a rut of shooting the same things in the same way or, perhaps even worse, you don’t know what to shoot so you avoid picking up your camera.
It’s annoying and frustrating and discouraging.
But there’s good news. First of all, you’re not alone — every photographer deals with this at some point. So don’t go thinking there’s something wrong with you.
Second, there’s a way out. Recharging your battery is often a matter of being exposed to different ideas. I’m sure you’ve had those moments in life when someone mentions something brilliantly simple to you and you wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?” And then everything seems crystal clear!
If you’re feeling stuck in place with your photography, here are five ideas that will get you moving again.
1. Photograph Motion Blur
Motion would seem to be an appropriate subject when you’re feeling stuck.
Photographing motion blur rather than freezing motion will produce images that are strikingly different than what you do on a regular basis, assuming you’re like most people and freeze motion 99% of the time.
Blur, when done well, looks absolutely amazing and can be the determining factor between a good photo and a great photo.
Even better, motion blur is easy to create. If you’re not used to working with slow shutter speeds it will definitely take some practice before you feel comfortable with the technique, but the time investment will undoubtedly pay off.
2. Use The Wrong Lens
Photographers are taught early on that certain lenses are for specific subjects. Sometimes this information is unfortunately conveyed in such a dogmatic way that it keeps you from straying outside the lines.
Doing so encourages you to look at your subject in different and, perhaps, unorthodox ways. This can only inspire creativity.
3. Wait For The Light To Go Away
Photographers are on a ceaseless mission to find and capture the best light — think of how many times you’ve heard a photographer gush about how amazing the light was wherever they were shooting.
Fantastic images can be made in low light as well.
Wait until dusk to go out and capture the last shards of light before nightfall, and then stay out and do some nighttime photography (maybe photograph those light trails we talked about above).
If you can’t get outdoors, you can try low light photography indoors wherever there isn’t much ambient light.
You’ll have the opportunity to shoot wide open, work with higher ISO levels and experiment with slower shutter speeds to help you create an entirely different mood in your images.
4. Snap Creative Selfies
Or, if you prefer, call them self-portraits.
In your search for interesting subjects, don’t forget about yourself!
If you really want this to be a worthwhile exercise you’ll need to do a little more than just cheese at your front-facing cell phone camera.
Think about how you might take a portrait of someone else and apply that to yourself. Take things a step further by skipping the cell phone camera and setting up your “real” camera on a tripod. Why not make a whole production out of it? Set up a flash and include a prop.
5. Make Faceless Portraits
Portraits typically focus on the face as it is considered the hub of expression, but there are other ways to create a portrait and convey expression without showing a person’s face.
In fact, any other body part can be used to tell a story. When taking a faceless portrait, focus on smaller details such as skin texture; capture a person’s unique mannerisms/body language; use the environment, lighting or props to further reveal a subject’s character.
The most important thing you can do to coax yourself out of a rut is to not overthink it; that additional pressure is self-defeating and will only exacerbate your frustrations.
Give yourself time to play around with different ideas, including the ones mentioned here. You may not find inspiration in all of them but if one of them does so much as get your wheels spinning again, you can feel confident that your rut will come to an end sooner rather than later.
- These Are Some Ways to Use Film Photography as a Cure for Your Creative Rut
- 40 Photographs of Airplanes To Get Your Inspiration Soaring
- 5 Ways to Infuse Inspiration and New Life into Your Photography
If you are stuck for inspiration, then take a look at The Secrets Of Light Painting Pack.
The Secrets Of Light Painting Pack is a comprehensive guide that teaches you all the techniques, camera settings and gear that you'll need to capture your creative vision. You also get 18 downloadable cards that you can take with you. Yep, you can stop reading and get out there and just do it – actually this really is the best way to learn.
This pack will teach you everything you need to know about Light Painting to get the images you want.
So, you'll only be limited by your imagination!