13 Ways To Get Photographers Out Of Their Slumps

Creativity is one of the most important skills you can have, but how do you keep it going? Here's how to deal with those times when it feels like your creativity is stuck in low gear.

If you're like me, you've been there. You have a camera in your hand and want to shoot something, but you just can't figure out what to shoot.

That's when creativity starts to go out the window, and frustration sets in. But it doesn't have to be that way!

Here are 13 ways to get out of that slump and back to creating!

1. Ask yourself questions before you shoot.

Ask questions like "What do I want to say?", "What do I want to show?" and "What is my vision?" Suppose you can answer these questions before taking a photo. In that case, you're more likely to create something meaningful than if you just point your camera at something random and snap away.

2. Just swap your lens.

If you are stuck in a rut with your photography, try changing your lens.

This can help you get out of the same old photographic mindset and open up new ways of seeing things.

If you've been using a wide-angle lens to shoot distorted studio portraits, try swapping it out for a telephoto (zoom) lens and see how that changes the mood and look of your photos.

Likewise, if you've been shooting portraits with an 85mm f/1.8 or something similar at all times, swap it out for something wider like a 24-70mm zoom or even another prime (35mm f/1.4). Again, it's amazing what just changing focal length can do!

3. Shoot in different environments as much as you can

Shooting in as many different environments as possible is an easy way to boost your creative spirit.
Do the same shot with natural light and then again with artificial light (or vice versa).
The more you shoot and experiment with different equipment and techniques, the more you'll learn about what works and what doesn't work for you photographically.

4. Take a break and let your mind wander.

When you're working on a project, take a break. You may be surprised to learn that breaks can increase your creative output.

5. Don't be afraid to try something new.

Don't be afraid to try something new. You never know what you might discover.
Be open to new things, and don't be scared to fail. Remember, your best ideas come when you let go of the outcome and focus on the process.

6. Keep a journal of your ideas.

The next time you have a thought, write it down.
It doesn't matter if it's a momentary idea or something that has been rolling around in your mind for years. Just jot it down so you can revisit it later and see how far along with the idea you've come.
If you want to be more creative, there is no better way than to keep a journal of your ideas. I have tons of random notes on my phone that I go back to constantly to draw inspiration.

7. Make sure you have fun while shooting!

Never forget that the most important thing about photography is to have fun. If you are not enjoying yourself, it will show in your work. So make sure everything is set up correctly and comfortable for you and your subject.
If this means bringing snacks or a portable speaker (for music), do it!
If you can get a friend to help out, great!
If you aren't having fun during the shoot, take a break and try again later. It's ok to not figure it out immediately.

8. Try working with an assistant!

Hiring an assistant can help you maintain a steady stream of creative energy. While the position does not require specific qualifications, you must find someone who shares your sense of style and taste.
If possible, try to hire someone with whom you enjoy working and who has good interpersonal skills.
Sometimes the best assistant is a good friend when you're just starting out. I believe my photography increased tenfold when I started to shoot with Nick and Cece - back before we began BLNK.

9. Look at your old photos to inspire new ones.

Looking at old photos can help you get inspired for new ones. This is true of all images, not just your own.

If you're interested in learning more about photography, search for other people's work and see what resonates with you.

You'll find that you enjoy certain styles and techniques more than others—and those are the areas where you should focus your energy as a photographer!

10. Try something new!

I'm a big fan of grabbing a disposable 35mm film camera to help find creativity again.

Stripping photography down to the core and relying on your eye more than the technology can bring back the energy in your imagery.

11. Mix up how you edit your shots!

If you're a photographer, you know that editing is where the images come to life.
Maybe the spark you need to find your creativity again is by simply trying something different with your edit.
You could try using different apps or editing tools (for example, if you're used to using Lightroom or Photoshop, try out VSCO).

12. Follow photographers on Instagram who inspire you!

Follow photographers on Instagram who inspire you! Look at their images and see how they shoot, how they edit, and how they compose. See what you like about them and use that inspiration to help guide your own photography.

13. Emulate your favorite photographer!

Decide on a photo you enjoy from a photographer you follow that you want to recreate. Then, spend some time deciphering the image. How is the light shaped? What is happening in the background? What time of day is the photo shot? Etc.
Then, take the time to recreate that photo precisely like the original. This practice will help you uncover new ideas and ways of viewing a subject.

Make sure you have fun while shooting! At the end of the day, that's all that matters!

Be open to new ideas and ways of doing things, especially if they can make your life easier or more fulfilling.

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