Being a photographer is super exciting, and getting in that perfect shot can have you feeling fulfilled for days. However, knowing what to shoot can be hard, and you can feel like you’ve got the photographer’s version of writer’s block (photographer’s block?). Sometimes, you just feel like you need a bit of inspiration, so that you can produce work that is innovative, and reflects your interests well.
But how do you find this inspiration? Here are 10 things that can cure all of your photography-based problems, and a lack of motivation.
10 Sources of Inspiration For Photographers
#1: Leaving your expectations at the door
A lot of the time, we don’t succeed as photographers because we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves to produce a certain type of work. Expecting too much out of yourself can mean that you’re stifling your own opportunities to produce some great shots, so leave those personal pressures at the door. If you get the shot that you want, then well done! If not, there’s always tomorrow, and that is totally fine.
#2: Getting out there
As a photographer, you’ll know that you only truly find yourself again when you get out there, and start taking shots of things that you find interesting. Nobody ever overcame their photographer’s block by staying inside all of the time, so get out there and take some pictures and see whether it helps. Invariably, you will find the inspiration that you are looking for right in front of you.
#3: Channeling your interests
Every photographer has a niche, and going back to your interests could help you to find inspiration. What did you originally start shooting, and why did it make you feel like you were expressing yourself and your interests through your work? It sounds cliche, but going back to what you love could help you to find your feet again, so don’t hesitate to go back to the start and see what you can find.
#4: Being inspired by other mediums
Let’s be honest, when you’re a photographer there are a lot of things that can inspire you. Whether it’s a painting that you’ve recently seen in a gallery, or simply a book that you’ve read, make sure that you draw from other mediums for your photography. Does a certain artist really change the way in which you see the world, and have they always inspired you? Look back to them for more inspiration.
#5: Looking to the work of others
OK, so you don’t want to end up copying the work of others. However, you do draw inspiration from others in your field, and having a refresh of your favourite photographers isn’t going to hurt, is it? Whether you’re looking through landscape photography prints for sale from other photographers, or simply flicking through a book of different shots, you should find that a bit of your inspiration is hiding in there.
#6: Turning the lens on your loved ones
If you’re really struggling for inspiration, then try photographing the people that you love. This can help you in many ways, but primarily, it allows you to get back into using your photography as a means of showing what your gaze upon others is like, which could be worthwhile. Further still, taking pictures of those who mean the most to you is one way for you to get back into photography jobs, as word (and photographs) will spread.
#7: Writing down your plans
Sometimes, you’ve just talked yourself out of producing photographs, and you believe that you’re wasting your time; however, this is simply because you have no plan. In these circumstances, you need to be self-motivated, and write down what project you want to work on next. Also note when you’re going to do it, where you’re going to shoot it, and what you hope to achieve. This could help you to move forward in your endeavours, so it’s certainly worthwhile.
#8: Leaving your camera at home
OK, so it sounds pretty counterproductive, right? However, leaving your camera at home could help you to see everything differently. Look around for things that you would shoot if you had a camera. This will help you to see the world around you in a different light, and there is also no pressure to get that perfect shot. A lot of the time, it’s a simple matter of adjusting the way that you’re seeing things first.
#9: Challenging yourself
Perhaps what you actually need is a challenge; one that you have set out your own future as a photographer. Do you want to sell a certain amount of prints by next month, or perhaps, you want get your work in a photography magazine? Whatever it is, be sure to challenge yourself. This is where all of the great work usually comes from, and rising to the challenge will make you feel amazing!
#10: Revisiting all that you’ve done
Finally, looking to the work that you’ve done in the past could help you. Remembering that you’re an awesome photographer, and that you’re doing great, could be exactly what you need to get you back on the straight and narrow. Look through all of your old work, and see what you’re most proud of. Get a print of this framed and put up on the wall, so that you can always see how much you’ve succeeded, even when you’re struggling.
Extra tip: let the idea of a photographer’s ‘skill set’ go. You can learn a lot about cameras and photography at college, but you can also totally lack the eye needed to pick out that perfect shot. You may find your inspiration simply by going back to the basics of photography, instead of trying to learn a lot of skills, as this simply isn’t the point.
If you want to find your inspiration again as a photographer, then keep these 10 things in mind. It’s not as difficult as you may think to get back on the bandwagon; sometimes you just need to head out there, and see what you can shoot. Good luck, and enjoy resparking your love for photography!