As a photographer, it is our job to make the client happy. Our responsibility is to make our images work for them. Sometimes, however, we start to lose interest in our work. We begin to develop a creative block. It can be scary, but there are many tips to follow to stay inspired.
Get outside. Stay curious.
Literally. Go outside. The main reason you’re losing interest is probably because you aren’t exploring new places or environments. Go for a walk at your local park, or go for a city street adventure. Walk around and look for photo opportunities. You never know what you’ll see and who knows, maybe it’s your next best image. In addition to going outside, it is also very important to stay curious. Learn something new by reading a book or watching a documentary. Even simply watching tutorials on YouTube, you might learn some new tricks. By staying curious, you allow your mind to open up to new techniques and ideas.
Turn your cell phone off when you’re walking around. This will less likely distract you as you explore your new surroundings.
Buy new gear.
Okay, I’m not saying to go out and spend all your hard earned cash on a brand new $6000 1Dx Mark II. But, if that helps you get inspired, by all means go ahead. I’m simply saying to go buy something you think would help you improve your quality of work and aesthetic. Whether it’s new lighting equipment or a new lens, just make sure it’s something that will get you excited to work with it and learn from it.
I recommend investing in VSCO filter packs for Lightroom. These are fantastic film emulations for your post processing process. Not only are they fun and look like real film, your clients will be amazed at the quality.
Take a camera everywhere you go.
No, your cell phone does not count. Albeit it may have a great camera, it’s still a device that will distract you from your main goal. Instead of taking that great picture, you find yourself on Twitter looking at what Kanye West has been rambling on about. Purchasing a classic film SLR is a great way to get creative and undistracted. Film cameras force you to slow down and take your time when photographing a subject. You only have 36 exposures, so you have to make it last and count. The process is exciting and refreshing. If you’re used to shooting digital, this is a great way to get inspired. Film and processing is somewhat cheap as well. Going to a local camera store is your best bet for a great price for developing and scanning.
Recently, I purchased a Fujifilm Instax Mini 25 camera. This is an instant camera that takes credit card sized film. It’s a fantastic piece of gear that will definitely get you shooting. Because it’s instant, you can scan them in and upload to Instagram easily and well- instantly! If you’re on a shoot with a client, they’ll love the vintage look.
Start a personal project.
Personal projects are probably the best way to get you inspired and shooting more. A few years ago, I started a 365 project. Basically for a whole year, I would conceptualize, capture, edit, and post one image a day. It sounds intimidating- that’s because it is. However, it’s very rewarding in the end. As each day went along, I was constantly looking for new photographic opportunities. It taught me discipline while working to reach my goal. At the time, I was uploading to DevientArt. It was pretty annoying having to upload to a site like that. I remember sometimes, the site would be down and I would miss my deadline. Now with the development of Instagram, it’s easier than ever to upload your work.
I believe there are apps on iPhone and Android that help make the 365 process even easier. They can send you reminders to go out and get a picture and help with organizing and posting to social media sites. More information for an iPhone app here.
Here are a few examples of some of the images I came up with.
There are so many other tips and tricks to staying inspired. Just remember whenever you feel like you're losing interest in your photography career, take a step back, breathe and rediscover why you're doing this. We all know that in the end, it's the final image and a happy client that counts.