So last year, I had experienced what every photographer does not want to experience. It’s something that I like to call “photography rut” or “photographer’s block.” If you have not guessed what this term means already, photography rut is what I like to refer to as when a photographer becomes uninspired and does not have that passion to shoot photos anymore. It’s like hitting a wall where the things that you use to enjoy photographing is now boring to you and you can’t find new material to photograph- kind of like a writer experiencing a “writer’s block,” but instead it’s a photographer who doesn’t know what to photograph.
When I had experienced my photography rut last year, I didn’t expect it to happen so soon because I had only been serious about photography for about 5 years (which to me doesn’t seem that long). Usually when I see something that I want to photograph, I become excited and inspired. But during my photography rut, I did not feel the desire to shoot pictures, especially things that I would usually take pictures of. I began to notice my rut during the spring/summer time last year, which was the time when I would go crazy over the blooming flowers. Don’t get me wrong, I was still excited to see flowers blooming (and who wouldn’t after being stuck in cold, snowy and sloppy weather for 3 months!), but I just didn’t have that desire to photograph them like how I use to. Every year, I would shoot the same flowers. It was a bit of a vicious cycle where if I had taken a “great” picture of them last year, I would try to achieve the same shot again, but also try to get different angles, aperture, etc. However, last year, I felt like I had already accomplished what I wanted out of my pictures of these flowers and didn’t need to “up” my game because what’s the point? It’s the same thing anyways? I got a good picture before, don’t need to do the same thing again, right? So, because of this thought-process and because last year was a terrible season for flowers and plants, I lost inspiration. I was also experiencing a personal matter, which I didn’t think would affect my creativity, but it did greatly. HOWEVER, things have settled down now and I am happy to say that I’m out of my “rut” and am happily shooting pictures away 🙂
Here are some pictures that I’ve taken recently:
So my words of advice for those of you who are currently experiencing a “photography rut” is don’t fight it. Yeah it’s going to suck and you may feel like a crappy photographer, but eventually you’ll be back in your groove. Hey it may take a couple weeks, months, a year (or more!), but there will be a day where you are going to pick up that camera (and not feel like you have to, but you want to) and you’ll feel rejuvenated and inspired to take pictures.
Another tip that might work, but it might work against you is looking at other photographer’s work. For example, like I said before, I tend to take pictures of flowers and so usually I’ll study the technique of other nature photographers who I admire. This way, it inspires me to go and take a picture of a flower using their technique. The reason I say this might work against you is that you may get frustrated because you can’t seem to achieve a similar shot or you lack the resources. What I mean by this is that you don’t have the right setting or resources to take that perfect picture that you are aiming for. For example, I love pictures taken in a farmer’s field, forest woods, sunset by the ocean/beach or of architectural buildings. Maybe you don’t live near a farmer’s field, ocean/beach, have those cool architectural buildings around, or even have people willing to have their picture taken in these kinds of settings. So, then you become frustrated and uninspired to pick up your camera and continue along the path of being in a “photographer’s rut.”
Anyways, there are some other great tips out there (I’ve added the links below), but I think the number one thing is don’t force it. You’ll know when you want to take pictures again and feel passionate about it- Trust me.
- This one I can relate to, especially the whole lack of inspiration during winter time! http://www.clickinmoms.com/blog/9-tips-for-pulling-yourself-out-of-a-creative-rut-by-jennifer-dell/
- Thought this was an interesting read… http://www.melissahartfiel.com/2011/04/14/is-food-photography-in-a-rut/
Have you experienced a photography rut before? How did you deal with it? Let me know by leaving a comment below!