No matter how much you enjoy photography, eventually, you may find your creativity waning. It’s happened to the best of us, and it can leave your photographs looking less than inspired, and often downright dismal!
Often, creative ruts are caused by familiarity. Too often we spend all of our time in the same areas, with the same camera and lens combo, capturing the same type of images. After a while things get, well, boring, and our creativity begins to suffer as well.
1. Try a New Style
Often, creative ruts are the result of us becoming complacent. We tend to get good at what we’re doing, and then – we plateau. If this sounds like you, consider taking some time to branch out and explore different styles of photography. Challenge yourself to try something completely different, that’s outside your typical comfort zone. If you do landscapes, consider doing portraits, street photography, or even macro. You could try capturing water droplets, experimenting with long exposures, or photographing the moon. Attempting something new will challenge you once again, helping to boost your creativity.
2. Shoot Everything
If you’re finding it difficult to channel your creativity, then you might want to consider just shooting everything. Don’t worry about making perfect pictures, just start shooting. You might be surprised at what catches your eye.
Experience Other Art Forms
If you’re feeling stuck, why not experiment with different art forms? Sometimes switching gears and allowing your mind some ‘time off’ from your typical pursuits is what it takes to inspire you. Consider watching a play, listening to music, visiting museums, reading poetry, or even drawing and sketching. Often, inspiration comes when you’re least expecting it.
3. Look at Inspirational Images
What better way to get inspiration than by learning from the best? Study the work of skilled photographers, have a look at photography on 500px, or check out a photography book to help get your creative juices flowing. National Geographic and Outdoor Photographer are also great places to find inspiration.
4. Join a Group
Surrounding yourself with others who are passionate about the same thing as you can help to spur you on. Joining a group – if there’s one locally, or taking a photography class can also help you to learn new techniques, or encourage you to see things differently. In most cases, it can also provide you with some constructive feedback that can help inspire your creative spirit.
5. Rent Some New Gear
Playing with some new gear can spark all sorts of creative ideas. Consider renting a new piece of equipment from websites like BorrowLenses or LensRentals.com. Get yourself a telephoto, or a wide-angle, or something else that you’ve had your eye on for a while. Learn everything you can about the new piece of gear, how it works and handles, then get out there and have fun using it.
6. Buy Some New Gear
Of course, you could also invest in some new gear as well. This doesn’t have to be a whole new camera or lens; it could even be something relatively inexpensive like a polarizer, ND filter, reflector, or off-camera flash.
When it comes to creative ruts, sometimes it’s our own hesitation and sense of familiarity that can cause the most trouble. Instead of ignoring the rut and attempting to power though it, recognize it for what it is: an indication that something needs to change. Then find yourself a new location, a new challenge, or some different gear – and watch as your creativity returns.