Over my life I have heard many of my photographer friends say they had become uninspired at one point or another. In sports, they would say the photographer is in a slump. A slump is a period of poor or losing play by a team or individual. For a photographer, it is a period where anything seen through a viewfinder does not look right.
When I find myself in a slump, I look for a way to shake up my photographic brain. Here are some of the ways I do that.
1. Go for a walk without a camera. Look around at the world without the restriction of a frame to fill. Let your eyes and mind wander, breath deeply, listen to the sounds around you and feel the earth beneath your feet. No pressure to find something to photograph. When I do this, I find myself refreshed and photo possibilities come much easier.
2. Look for an event to attend and plan what kind of photographs to get. Look through your community’s websites and newspapers for a festival, concert, fair or another event. Plan what kind of photos you would like to get there and then attend the event. Don’t plan on publishing them, this is for you, not your editor.
3. Shoot for a day/week/month with a prime lens or, if you normally use a prime lens, a zoom lens. By changing up, you have to think a bit more, go a little slower and see differently.
4. Select a subject to photograph and do it for a day/week/month. Examples would be color, shape, theme, people, animals, etc. Usually something like this starts slowly until your brain picks up on the subject. By the end of the time period, you will be seeing the chosen subject everywhere. For me, it’s my Obey the Banana project.
5. Read a book of fiction. Another non-photographic way to give your mind a break.
6. Create or work on a life project. This can be photography related or not. Maybe you have another hobby. For me I have a few photography projects like photographing the Homeless, Panoramas and Macros.
7. Put some film into your old film camera, leave your digital at home. Another way to engage your brain more is to use your film camera again, think through your exposures and creative spirit. You do remember film don’t ya?
8. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!
Every photographer will get into a slump now and then, the trick is to turn the slump into a creative vacation then come back to your normal shoots better than before.