A fellow photographer just asked for help because they have been in a photography slump for the last four months. I thought I’d share my reply and ideas to help us all when this happens. Face it — it happens to all of us sooner or later.
Just get out and photograph something
Sometimes just getting out with your camera and shooting anything or everything helps. Don’t worry about creating good images, just shoot what you feel, what you want. Even if you delete them all, it’s the act of doing it, of getting out even when you don’t feel like it that will get you moving back to feeling like creating.
Create a personal project that pulls you out of your slump
Pick a subject or theme to shoot for. Make it a weekly or daily thing. Give yourself a deadline. This could range from portraits of strangers to documenting the growth of your garden. Maybe it’s something that you’ve thought about before but never acted on.
Read and learn about something new
Pick up a photography book or research online ideas for things to shoot. There are so many aspects of photography. Is there something you want to learn more about or is there a photographer who paved the way for us all that you would like to read about? Is there an editing technique you’d like to try? Go for it — I guarantee it will spark your creativity and get you motivated to create.
Go to a museum
Take in art and be inspired by the colors, light and compositions in paintings. We can learn a lot about the basics of these things by studying the masters and other artists. Even statues can teach us about form and shape. Be inspired.
Phone a friend to get you out of a slump
Call up a photography friend and make a date to go out and wander with your cameras. Again, this doesn’t have to be about creating your best image ever, it’s about getting out and doing. Being around someone else who shares your passion will help reignite your motivation. Sharing ideas and just seeing what someone else sees can be helpful.
Watch old movies (or new ones)
Many of the older films have incredible cinematography. Pay attention to the light and shadows used to create mood and emotion. There are also newer films that do a good job of this but the older films are free of computer-generated imagery and had to rely on music and lighting to make their audience see and feel each scene.
We all go through this. All of us. I have barely picked up my camera in the last four months myself. Time to take my own advice and get out of this slump.