The strong desire to create something unique and beautiful is innate to just about every photographer. Inspiration goes hand-in-hand with being able to create that beautiful photo, and can ebb and flow for most of us. During the downturn of inspiration, I often find myself wondering what ever inspired me in the first place and how I can get back to that feeling.
Here is a list of suggestions for what can restart the inspiration needed to get up and go out with a camera.
Find New Subjects
Oftentimes, change in focus can create an entire shift in the creative process. My first trick is to grab a macro lens and go outside. Finding amazing, tiny details in the everyday stuff around me can often inspire a sense of awe that gets me back in the right direction. If portraits are the norm, try a landscape. If abstract is the norm, try something opposite of that. It can go any direction, but just finding a new subject to look at, even in the short term, can greatly inspire a photographer. It’s always fascinating to see what artists are capable of creating, so stretching the boundaries of the everyday processes can really open a world of opportunities.
Changing Locations or Scenery
I worked with a fellow photographer several years ago, and he frequently told me to “go somewhere, go anywhere, just go somewhere you’ve never been”. It never made much sense to me as he was mentoring me, and I was in awe of the big world of photography in front of me.
Years later, with lots of photography behind me, his words began to ring in my ears. In the day-to-day grind, creativity and inspiration can start to lose its way. The advice is effective—just get up and go somewhere, anywhere. Maybe it’s a walk down a different street in town, or an airplane ticket to somewhere far away. Get up and go somewhere, take a camera, and see how the world can open the inspiration right back up.
Seeing The World In Unique Ways
One of the most inspirational aspects of photography to me is how several people can see the exact same scene in incredibly different ways. Often, looking at another photographers’ work can be very eye-opening. It’s surprising how people can see so many unique things, and it’s always inspirational to see what another photographer or artist is seeing. If inspiration starts to slip, this may quickly fire you up. It’s always great to see what great library of work exists around the topics you enjoy photographing. Getting completely out of the realm of what you shoot on the regular can really show a unique perspective of another artist.
Constant Desire to Learn & Improve
I'm always looking to learn more about everything around me. I’m a sponge when it comes to science, history, photography, and so much more. Always curious! This has been a big player in how I personally stay motivated. No matter how much I know about photography, there is always going to be something else to learn as I look for that opportunity.
Maybe it’s a specific feature of my everyday camera that I want to really get to know about, or maybe it’s trying out a whole new kind of camera (KEH makes that one much more affordable). Sometimes it’s an aspect of post-processing or trying new techniques. No matter what, there is always something to experiment with or to learn about. It’s amazing how learning something new, like trying a new lens or new environment, can completely open my mind to a world of inspiration.
Document What You Love
This has always been an inspiration to me and to lots of other photographers I’ve known. My family, my friends, my pets, my everyday world of people, places, and things that I love. Documenting the details of everyday life with those I love is a big inspiration. It taught me better portraiture, but also macro and candid. Looking through photo albums from years ago will always inspire me to keep a camera in my hand and ready for any event in life. Sometimes it’s just a BBQ in the backyard, or my cat sleeping in a cute ball on the couch. Whatever it may be, document the people and things you love, and always be sure to go back and enjoy those memories made.
Most of us will always remember how exciting it was when we got our first camera or saw our first photograph. That excitement is always there ready to re-inspire. There are lots of ways to find inspiration no matter how far gone it seems to be. Give one of my ideas a shot, or try something completely different. It’ll be fun and exciting all over again.
How do you find inspiration to continue photography?