6 Tips to Overcome Photographer’s Block
There’s absolutely no arguing that photography IS creativity at work, it is an extension of your creative self and there is nothing more frustrating as when the creative juices just aren’t flowing. Photographer’s block is no different than writer’s block, or painter’s block, or indeed designer’s block…it can rear it’s ugly head and stick around for much longer than we would like. So what do you do when you want, need, and should be able to shoot but you just can’t bring yourself to do it? Our first instinct when faced with a block of any kind is to pause, turn our back and have a break. Do something else for awhile and give your mind and body an actual physical break from the act itself, but is this the most effective way to overcome photographer’s block? Probably not. Being creative isn’t always about getting the best results, it’s often about the process and if we shy away from the process itself we are probably doing ourselves more harm than good.
So here’s a few tips to help you overcome photographer’s block, without walking away from the art itself.
1. Grab your camera or iPhone and just start shooting. There’s a saying that goes, “You’ll never regret the photos that you did take, but you’ll always regret the photos that you didn’t” and that couldn’t be more true here. It doesn’t matter if you’re not immediately pleased with the photos, or even if you think every single one is rubbish. You took the photos and that is all that matters here. Even if you don’t “want” to take photos, do it anyway. Take photos of mundane everyday objects that you might not think are photo-worthy. Just shoot.
2. Challenge yourself. It may be that you feel bored with the photos you take regularly, or you feel you’ve mastered on type of photography and you’re left feeling uninspired to shoot anything else. This is the perfect time to try something new, really branch out and step ten feet out of your comfort zone. Not only will you grow as a person, your photography will certainly improve and you might just find you’re out of that photography funk.
3. Experiment. This goes hand in hand with challenging yourself, as experimentation can also be challenging. There’s surely something photographically you have been wanting to try, whether it be long night-time exposure, a new editing technique, or a new type of photography altogether – underwater anyone?
4. Revisit something old with fresh eyes. How many of us have thousands of old photographs that could use a bit of photoshopping? Raise your hand if you have a huge (digital) stack of editing that you’ve been meaning to get to for the last few years. *Raises own hand*. Maybe you’ve been hoping to work on a very detailed photo that requires learning a new editing skill? Now is the time!
5. Plan a photo walk, or even better…a photo trip! It doesn’t have to be an extravant overseas vacation, although it could be if you’ve got the cash. If you haven’t got it in the budget right now, then go somewhere closer to home, get up early (pre-dawn), get in the car and drive somewhere nearby. We’re willing to bet that if you manage to catch the Golden Hour, even shooting close to home, you’ll be hard pressed to not feel inspired.
6. Treat yourself to a new piece of gear. Budget permitting, this could be anything from a small as a gadget or tripod for your iPhone to that new lens you have been lusting after for months. It’s very hard to remain “blocked” when you’ve got a new piece of kit just itching to be used.
We can’t stress enough that the most important thing to take away from this post is that if you find yourself with photographer’s block, just keep shooting. You will eventually get fired up and feel those creative juices flowing again…as they say, just “keep calm and carry on”. Words to live by people.