Do Photographers Ever Struggle For New Ideas?
Do photographers ever struggle?
I don’t know where to begin, other than saying, that I’ve hit a rough patch. I feel like I’m struggling right now in photography. I’m trying to get better, trying to find new ideas, my own style, and understand everything that goes into the process of becoming a better photographer.
But I feel like I’ve hit a rough patch. All of my images look the same. So I get on the internet and look at different photos on Instagram or stock photo sites to search for some inspiration – but it’s still difficult. I say difficult because all of those images by these photographers look so perfect, and I’m having a hard time coming up with new ideas.
Why do I feel like this?
How can I find some inspiration as a photographer? It’s not that I’m not passionate about photography, because I am. But I’m just having a hard time right now. I don’t want to blame it on time, even though I work a full time job and have to set aside time to practice.
And I don’t want to blame it on anything else, like trying to find people around me, who I can practice with for portraits, or finding/hiring a model (even though my skills are very limited in portraiture) trying to find NEW places to take new images.
Why do I feel stuck right now?
Is it a lack of motivation?
Is it a lack of inspiration?
What will happen if I don’t do something about this?
My thinking is that I may never grow as a photographer – in fact, it may get worse? Will I ever get to a point where I would get so frustrated at the pictures I’m taking, or the lack of pictures, or how I just can’t seem to find my own style, or figure out what particular direction I’d like to go?
Personally, I’m not really sure – but I know I need to do something about it If I ever hope to get better at photography.
The best thing that I can do is to possibly experiment, or even try something new with my camera. Maybe new technique? Maybe go through YouTube or Google for more tutorials?
There are a few steps that I thought of that would help to break me out of this rut. Some steps I took initiative from researching. Others are steps that I’ve taken on my own.
What Should I Do Next?
The only thing I could think of was going to my camera bag, pulling out my dslr camera, turn it on and start shooting. Anything – even if there wasn’t anything inspiring worth shooting. Furniture. Food. Books. Objects that are lying around – it is still life. Step outside and shoot my front door, or the parking lot full of cars, followed by the trees.
Taking action is a lot better than just sitting doing nothing to remedy it. Inaction is never a good thing. Second – you never know what my transpire between random pictures, good ones, bad ones, even from my worst mistakes – I may see something new in my shots, in the angle, or a bad adjustment.
There’s something else that I also learned from this:
I don’t always need my camera!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spotted a subject, or an idea and quickly whipped out my smartphone from my back pocket to capture it. It would have taken me minutes to grab my dlsr camera, or I would have missed it. It may only take a fleeting moment to capture an idea or image that passes me throughout the day, before I lose it. When I do capture it – it doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact – it may be a catalyst, or a jumping off point that may lead to further inspiration, or more ideas. You never know!
My Photography Journal:
This is something that’s personal for me – journaling. In fact, I’m a regular journaler (If there’s such a word) who’s constantly take time on a regular basis to journal a lot about any experiences in my life. It just so happens that when I started to take up photographer, that I started my own photography journal. It actually started out as a notebook for taking notes during my online classes, with simple things like Aperture, Shallow depth of field, IOS, etc.
But it’s gradually morphed into something else – a place to keep my thoughts on photography, tips that I’ve picked up from others at Meetups, off the internet or from other sources. Even thoughts about things that I’ve done right or wrong along the way and how I plan on working on these areas. I don’t know where other photographers stand on this – but this is something that I’ve been keeping track of on my own to not only track my progress, but to jot down possible ideas that I may want to try as well.
When you’re struggling for new ideas or inspiration, I’ve always felt that it’s best to immerse yourself into your hobby, area, niche, or whatever field you’re passionate about. I would find some time on the weekends or a weeknight – maybe an hour – and drop by a local bookstore or Target to check out the magazine section for a while and browse through the photography magazine. Just reading the titles or headlines alone are bound to trigger something inside of me, even if I only have enough time to skim the articles for a few minutes.
The important thing there, is not only the headlines, and articles written by professionals who know more than I do at this point in time, but the images are bound to strike some form of inspiration as well – as give me some ideas, or takeaways about how I can try a similar shot, or adjustment on my own camera.
Get around other photographers
This is an area that has helped me a lot, as far as getting feedback and valuable input. Usually, I’ve been meeting photographers through local Meetups, or at random events where there’s been a single photographer who I can start a conversation with.
This is something that I can relate to in other areas of my life. I’m an artist and writer in my other personal interests and I apply the same concept. If I’m stuck in any way, and searching for some creative inspiration, or trying to generate ideas, I find it’s helpful to get around others sharing the same interests – even if it’s nothing more than just talking about the subject. It’s guaranteed to at least motivate me more than anything.
My Final Thoughts
These are just a few tips that I’ve noticed that have worked for me. I’m interested in knowing what everybody thinking, or if you have a way of finding your own inspiration when you get stuck.
Thanks for this article, I think this is great advice for any interest or hobby, not only photography. I just started to have an interest in photography and I have had similar struggles. Great to receive your tips and encouragement. Let keep on shooting the beauty around us 🙂
I agree with that! Thanks for the feedback Andrea.
I am not a photographer myself, but I am a new writer of my blog and I feel like I could benefit from your tips as well. Since I am new to the writing community it is difficult for me to surround myself with other writers in person. I am talking and discussing ideas with people only through the internet.
I really commend photographers, I could never do it. I am horrible at making decisions and I can only imagine the amount of time spent editing and choosing which photos are the “best”..
Thanks for sharing your tips!