Even professional photographers need motivation on occasion…
As a photographer, getting into a rut with your indoor shots is a common problem. This situation is especially true if your photography business is centered around a theme such as newborn photography or high school graduation portraits. Instead of getting into the doldrums about your work, you can change up the pace and get back into the magic of photography again using these eight simple motivational tips.
Develop a New Skill
Get to know the features that your camera has and see if one of those features can help you learn a new photographic skill. Read through your camera’s instructional menu. Go to the manufacturer’s website and explore their list of tips on how to use the features that are built into your camera. If you have purchased additional lenses or other accessories for your camera, experiment with those to see what you can come up with.
Choose a Theme
When you’re unmotivated, sometimes you may need to narrow the focus of your work to regain momentum. Choose a theme and give yourself a timeline to work with that theme. Some themes you could try include unique ways of framing, new angles, paired items, shadows, reflections or textures. Look for what is common but is arranged in an unusual way and capture it with your lens.
Give Yourself a Numeric Challenge
Issue yourself a numeric challenge and provide yourself with a reward at the end. Much like a marathoner must get through each mile of a race one by one, with the presentation of the award medal at the finish line, you can set this up for yourself.
Challenge yourself to take one photo every hour for 24 hours straight. Or, try taking a photo of the sunrise every day of the summer.
The length and nature of the challenge is up to you. At the end, reward yourself with a new lens or another accessory that will help develop your skills and enhance your motivation even more.
Network with Other Photographers
Follow some of your favorite professional and amateur photographers on social networking websites. Join photo sharing websites and let the work of others inspire you. Looking at the world through the eyes of someone else may give you a fresh perspective that has been missing from your work. Attend an in-person meeting or convention related to photography.
Try New Equipment
Try out a new lens, a new filter or even a new camera to see if the updated technology can help to inspire you. Getting bored with what you have is a common way to lose your motivation. When a new piece of equipment is not within your budget, ask a friend if you can borrow or trade pieces of equipment to get you through the slump. You may find that your friend is in a similar situation.
Visit your favorite art museum and tour the photography exhibits. Consider traveling to a new place and visit the art and photography museums at that location. Looking at the work of other professional photographers may give you new ideas to try out for yourself. Consider documenting your trip with photos. If traveling isn’t an option, go to the library and peruse the photography books within their collections.
Ask for Criticism
When you have lost motivation, ask for the criticism of others in your photography networks. Whether your acquaintances are hobbyists, amateurs or professionals, they will be able to provide you with constructive criticism of your work.
Your friends may be able to give you a different perspective as well as tips about your subject matter, angles and other essentials of your craft. Consider asking people who aren’t photographers to consider your work as well. Think of other artists such as fiber artists, painters and sculptors who also perform hands-on craftsmanship and may also sometimes face motivational slumps.
Consider teaching a photography class through your local community center, community college or even at an elementary or high school. You could also teach someone photography one-on-one through an educational program. Working with novices may help you to appreciate your own skills even more.
Being able to inspire others to learn photography motivates you to get back to your roots as a photographer. When you’re teaching an introductory class in photography, you’ll use basic techniques and a broad range of possibilities. As you go through different situations such as capturing light and shadows, photographing living things and inanimate objects, you’ll find that your motivation as a photographer has returned.
As a photographer, you’re constantly developing your skills and techniques. Staying abreast of the latest in technology and trends will help you keep yourself motivated and interested in your subject material. There is no end to the different photographic and editing techniques you can do to keep things interesting.
Jim Taylor is an entrepreneur and a tech enthusiast from New York. He loves to write about technology innovations, photography trends and business. Jim is also a photographer hobbyist, and he participated in writing a guide about professional DSLR cameras.