Rekindling Your Love For Travel Photography
For many people, the last two years of lockdowns, worry, and nervousness have led us all to feel a little burned out and tired. Unfortunately, when this happens, creative inspiration can slowly dissipate.
As hobbyists or even professional photographers that adore the art of such a craft, feeling this way can be quite frustrating, as the art we once loved may now feel like more of a chore. Thankfully, this is just a temporary feeling, and quite a natural response to feeling limited and nervous.
Now a new year is coming, and perhaps it could be the best year of your photography practice yet. In this post, we’ll discuss a number of tips to get you in the mood, to once again sharpen your craft, and to perhaps develop an additional means of earning from it.
This journey all starts with a single step. But when printing out your shots this time next year, you’ll be glad you took it. With the following guidance, you’re sure to rekindle your love for wonderful travel photography:
Try Different Lenses
Photographers, like many artists, tend to fall into the rhythms, techniques, and equipment sets that feel familiar, and that they enjoy working with. You’ll hear no discussion of that being an inferior strategy in this article. The style certain professionals cultivate can lead them to become well-known names in the industry.
That said, it’s always healthy for a photographer to challenge themselves from time to time. Trying to take pictures at different focal lengths, with different exposures, and perhaps even shooting usual subjects in odd ways, such as natural landscapes using fisheye lenses, could help test your skills as a photographer and help you fall back into the mindset of experimentation. Food for thought, at least.
Learn New Editing Programs
Any photographer will tell you that unless their style is taking raw shots, editing is just as important as learning the technical specificities of the camera and arranging the composition of a photograph correctly.
Of course, editing used to take place in red rooms where photographs were exposed, but limited outcomes were available. Now, using tools like Photoshop and free alternatives like GIMP, entire segments of the photograph can be replaced, people can be removed, and the manipulation of your photographs can emphasize the artistic direction you’re going for.
Certain disciplines are sometimes best kindled by taking part in a supplementary or ancillary effort in order to practice your skills. For instance, writing poetry, stream-of-consciousness journal entries, letters or essays can be a great place for a writer to switch up the form of their chosen art, coming back to their main discipline feeling refreshed and newly capable.
You may feel the same via taking part in the editing process anew. Following a series of YouTube tutorials regarding tips and tricks you may not have understood until now, taking part in online competitions such as those found on r/PhotoshopBattles for inspiration.
It might be that once you get to tinker around in these software programs, you start thinking of how you might perform these tricks on your own photographs. From there, you can begin anew.
Photograph Beautiful Locations
Any photographer, no matter their preferred subject to shoot, will often find inspiration in beautiful landscapes. No matter if this is photographing the gorgeous starry sky at night, or heading on Egypt Tours, using travel toward iconic locations as a fantastic place to inspire your craft, all of this can stimulate your creativity for the better.
Photographing beautiful locations, especially those a little further from the beaten path, can serve as a great pre-requisite for adventure. It can convince you to trek up that hillside or even mini-mountain a little further, to enjoy small villages rather than visiting the big tourist traps, and to make more room for traveling and exploring your local environment.
Visual artists tend to become better at appreciating and absorbing the world around them, and so this can serve as a fantastic means of rekindling your love for this medium.
Try New Subjects
Going outside of your comfort zone is a great way to make anything feel new, unique and interesting. Even the most practised chefs will find at least two or three forms of cuisine they know either little about, or not enough about.
As a photographer, it might be that using older cameras for an artistic project, or shooting people rather than things, or even taking photographs in black and white or sepia (light is so much more important to get right with both of these renewed efforts) can lead you to thoroughly changing and developing your approach for the better, to the degree you may be surprised to experience.
Of course, this novelty leads to further inspiration, and the willingness to begin anew.
Create An Online Photography Profile
With so many platforms to share your work online, be that Twitter, Instagram, or your own website (or perhaps even more artist-driven platforms like Behance with Adobe), you’ll find that reading out and connecting with other photographers and promoting your work is so much easier to do.
Receiving and giving feedback can be a fun and interesting experience to embark on, even if you start that from nothing. An online photography profile such as this could even feed back to a blog you run, allowing you to document your travel experiences or more readily catalog the milestones of your family and their growth.
After all, photography isn’t some disembodied art, but a very real depiction of the world around us and what that represents. Even if you heavily edit the final piece, that much is still true. As such, using these platforms to chart your growth can be quite instructive and a huge helping of fun at the same time.
Try A Photography Style That Challenges You
Any art that challenges you is always worth considering. For instance, even excellent dancers will try a new style from time to time, or take on more daring routines. The same goes for arts like painting or photography, where leaping out of your comfort zone can be ideal.
Perhaps, then, your challenge will be to take a photograph every week this year, one you edit and release as a portrait of the mood you’re feeling that week. Or, perhaps, thanks to your competence around a camera and the ability to take competent photographs and back them up, you believe you could take on your first wedding photography job, volunteering to shoot the event as a backup photographer for your friend as they tie the knot.
It’s not hard to see why this kind of effort can make the most tremendous difference in your output and stretch your skills as a photographer. This is the exact kind of thing that can breathe new life into any endeavour.
Read Into The History Of Your Art
Of course, sometimes getting out there and taking risks as a photographer is not necessarily something you want to do when your inspiration is lacking. It’s hard to force yourself when you’re just not feeling it.
This is why looking into the theory and history of photography might help you feel more inspired. For instance, reading into the habits of Henri Cartier-Bresson, the father of photojournalism, or Ansel Adams, a name every landscape photographer knows, can help you feel enthusiastic in light of their achievements. Or, of course, appreciating the achievements of Anna Atkins, considered one of the first female photographers out there, can help you feel the need to break through ‘the rules’ yourself.
You don’t need to treat this approach as a particular academic pursuit, or something you’ll sit a test on. Just lay back on a comfortable chair with some soft jazz playing, next to a comfortable lit candle, with a beautiful cup of coffee, and relax while reading a compendium or history book about any one of these characters. You’d be surprised about the effect it may have.
Take On A Project That Inspires You
Crafting a project that you find immersive and interesting could be a great way to return to the practice. For instance, you may find that attending a convention for a hobby you love, when Covid settles that is, can give you the impetus to take photographs of the event, documenting your time there.
Or, perhaps you’d like to take beautiful photographs of your family again, so that you have updated pictures for your records. A project might also involve taking photographs of your property to showcase how you’d like to make renovations to your partner and contractor. Functional photography is as important as anything else, and can help you infuse that enthusiasm into your travel photography when you get time. Practice is practice, and inspiration is inspiration, after all.
With this advice, we believe you’ll feel more than capable of rekindling your love for travel photography. Before long, you’ll be documenting the world with the zeal you had not too long ago, and may develop even more proficiently thanks to the time off.