A few months ago, I wrote a post about rescuing yourself from the creative rut. However, there is another layer to this common problem. Usually, before you end up in a rut, you lose your enthusiasm and steam to keep taking photos. Here are some preemptive measures you can take to avoid losing steam, thus avoiding the always-dreaded creative rut:
1. Have a Weekly Planner
I just started grad school for photography, and do you know what my advisor gave me? A weekly planner to pencil in time for photography, and time for everything else that it takes to lead a healthy life. He stressed that it doesn’t matter if I fill out the planner or not, but that I understand that, while photography is important and I need to devote a lot of time to it, in order to create my best possible work, I need to take time for my family and myself. I think that applies to all of us who are photographers.
2. Always Carry a Camera
Even if you are carrying a point-and-shoot or your phone, you should take as many photos as possible, even if what you are shooting is just snapshots or not your “specialty.” More than likely, the whole reason you took up photography is because it is fun, and it is something that brings you joy. If you are a professional photographer, your life doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Just shooting for the pure joy of shooting can be extremely rewarding and beneficial to your creative drive.
3. Learn Something New
Maybe you want to experiment with landscape photography, or, possibly street photography. It goes without saying, but get out of your comfort zone. Even if you experiment, then go back to your regular shooting style, you’ll be even better for trying something new.
Even if you’re not a writer, try taking 10 minutes out of your day to write. About anything. No one has to read it – you’re doing this for you. Writing can help you clear your mind, and set goals. If something is weighing on your mind, writing about it can help you get it off your mind, allowing you to focus more on the creative side of photography. The best time to do this is most definitely early in the day, but everyone’s schedule is different, so just make an attempt to do it whenever you can.
5. Lighten Up
We are all extremely invested in our photography, but like I said earlier, the main reason that most of us took up photography is because photography is not only fun, but rewarding. Yes, we have to focus on the business side of photography, but let’s break things down to a bare minimum here. If you are a professional portrait photographer, you are helping families preserve their memories for a lifetime. If you fall into the other multiple categories of photographers, you are creating images that others will look at and enjoy. So, when you start to lose steam and focus, remember why you became a photographer, and how photography isn’t just about the photographer, but it is beneficial to those who we photograph, and the people who view our work.