I believe that people are inherently creative but we all experience times when we feel like we’re stuck in a rut and can’t get out. Creative bursts seem to come in cycles. I don’t know about you but my creative low seems to hit as soon as the last of the colourful fall leaves hit the ground. I become fixated on all of the negatives, such as, “Am I now stuck photographing the dull November landscape?” “When will the last of the snow finally melt this year?” “How am I supposed to capture sunsets over the lakes when all of the lakes are frozen?”
‘CREATIVITY IS THE RESIDUE OF TIME WASTED.’ – Albert Einstein
We’re all creative people, capable of innovative ideas and abstract thinking. The brain works like a muscle, and in order to think differently about things, it needs to be exercised. In the past, I’ve taken a break from photography during this dull time of the year. Sometimes, though, I’ve discovered that all I really need is to challenge myself. To get the creative energy flowing, I experimented with the placement of strobes behind trees in open fields at night. Shooting landscapes in black and white can also create an impressive effect on a cloudy November day. The more I tried new techniques, the more I discovered that giving myself time to experiment helped me get back to why I started shooting in the first place.
Try A New Camera/Lens
I’m not recommending that you go out and spend all of your money on a new camera or lens. You could even find a place where you can rent equipment for a weekend. Push beyond your comfort zone. If you only use Canon, rent a Nikon. If you shoot only with zoom lenses, rent a prime lens. If you’ve only shot with a DSLR, then rent a mirrorless camera. You only take photos? Then, get creative with the incredible video quality that so many of today’s cameras offer. The main thing is that you get your hands on something new, even if just for a little while.
Do you usually work on projects on your own? My comfort zone is to photograph locations on my own. It does concern me, though, that I might not be learning more about the craft during the shoot from a friend who could provide constructive criticism in the moment. Ignite your creativity by spring boarding ideas off of each other.
Make A List
Do you want to be held accountable to new photography ideas? Try writing a list. In this article, 100 Ways to Be a More Creative Photographer, Tanya gives us a great list of things to jump start your creativity. You might call this your photography bucket list.
Take A Break
There’s no point in making yourself miserable when you’re trying to get out of your creative funk. Go ahead. Take a break. Maybe it’s a good idea to put your camera in its bag until after Christmas. Take that time to refocus, travel, and spoil yourself with the other interests that you have.
Bored, No More!
As frustrating as it is to get bored with photography and have all of your creativity seemingly evaporate, this is sometimes exactly what we need to motivate us to get creative, to keep going and to be excited again. With the right mindset, you’ll endure. Don’t view boredom and completely negative. It’s just part of the creative cycle.
Does this cycle of creativity resonate with you? How do you handle it? Please share your comments below. I’d love to know!