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How to stay Inspired by your photography

The post How to Stay Inspired with your Photography first appeared at Digital Photography School. It was written by Nisha Ramroop.

How do you keep creating when you feel uninspired? This is one of those questions that harasses photographers at all levels at some point in their lives. Here are some proven tips that have prevented some from giving up.

1. Start a project

At a certain point in your shooting time, a photography project is highly recommended. When you are stuck in a creative routine, it helps you to set a clear and defined focus or theme. Projects require a commitment from you and are a great way to push yourself.

Depending on the size of your project, you can set a timeline or dispense with it. Some timelines are built into a project, for example: a 365 project with a common theme or a portrait competition of 52 weeks. Other projects can last a lifetime, such as creating long-term beaches in different countries or a specific location for a number of years.

The best part is that your project can be as small or large as you want – from strange and distant places to the comfort of your back garden. There are endless possibilities.

Don't forget to challenge yourself often during the course of your project. If you notice that your project is becoming routine or everyday, this is an indication that your progress / learning has stopped or is slowing down. If this happens, you can very well end up in your previous uninspired state. Let your project challenge you while you keep it fun and celebrate your skills and knowledge progress.

2. Do something outside of your comfort zone / genre

One of the greatest things about photography is that there are so many genres, with different skills to discover. Landscape photographers and studio portrait photographers have distinctive skills. Street photography versus macro photography, each with its unique challenges.

If you like moments in time, walking through an area outside your norm can help you see things again. Even within the same genre, every photo experience can be diverse. In landscape photography, for example, you have subcategories such as long exposure, astrophotography, night landscapes and seascapes to name just a few.

If you've hit a creative wall in your genre, try to learn something new. Creating new work involves shooting outside of your comfort zone or even editing differently.

As a creative, you can even try another artistic avenue other photography! It may not sound related, but doing something else like painting or drawing can give you a whole new appreciation for light (or maybe it will only remind you why you shoot and not draw or paint).

3. Consume less, do more

Inspiration is everywhere. Looking at other people's work (exhibitions) or online (photography websites, social media) is a great way to discover yourself. Ask questions such as "how can I do a version of it?" Or "what is needed to recreate that lighting?" Save everything that inspires you for a purpose. Images that make you enthusiastic about making or planning a future photo shoot. However, browsing through other people's work can be a double-sided sword.

On the positive side, you can use it to measure how far you have come or what there is still to do to learn. It can inspire you to try something new and challenge your skill level. The recommendation is to do this in spurts and not too often for too long, because you can start comparing yourself to the point of becoming discouraged. Consume enough to be inspired, go to the planning phase and execute. Doing / creating more is what will bring you mentally to a better place.

As soon as inspiration starts to overwhelm you, take a step back. Consult the images you want to learn from and actually try. In this case, failure is an option because it shows you that you must read, examine and retry until you get the final output you want.

Important note: do not introduce yourself to failures while you can learn from your efforts. Too often, recreating the entire image tries to be meaningless. A better approach may be to determine how the image inspires you (exposure, subject, processing). Choose one or two elements that you want to experiment with and make it your own.

4. Get constructive feedback

Posting your images on social media may seem like the best place to get feedback, but it isn't. Although it's a great way to share your image (and boost your ego), this is not the place where you learn what you can do to improve. If you feel uninspired, constructive / positive feedback will do you good. Keep in mind that in order to improve, you must also be prepared to deal with criticism.

On most photography forums that are known for their good feedback, you will find that the other members here know how to provide feedback in a non-offensive, positive way, because they also seek feedback for themselves. Moreover, you can also streamline what you ask for. Is it the lighting? The composition? Lighting techniques? With these questions, your viewers help the area with which you face the challenge.

Conclusion

If you find yourself on a plateau with your creative work, there is no right time to try and get out. Make the effort to get out of that uninspired space by doing something else. Challenge yourself outside of your comfort zone or start a project.

Looking at your colleague's work can certainly be inspiring, but more than that, do something today and get feedback on it. These are great ways to get through the mental blockages.

Share with us something that worked for you during your photography trip in the comments below.

The post How to Stay Inspired with your Photography first appeared at Digital Photography School. It was written by Nisha Ramroop.

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