Feeling stagnant, static and sluggish? Rejoice in your inactivity because the only way to go is up
Text Photography By Russ Burden
Updated December 20, 2021
When lack of motivation dominates your creativity, reach down inside and think about the fact that the only direction you can move is forward. When things can only get better, celebrate it. Let a smile dominate your face. Cheer the end of an inactive period because things will get better! Here are a few things to try to help you stay motivated in photography.
Dead ends are synonymous with running into a wall and not being able to move forward. What’s beautiful about a dead end is you can choose to make a U-turn to get back onto the main road. You’re not stuck at a roadblock. You’re not surrounded by traffic. You’re not waiting for hours at a red light. Put your photo car in reverse or initiate a U-turn.
So what can you do to break the cycle? To begin, revel in the fact you’ve been down as a whole new aspect of photography will get discovered. Celebrate the fact you’ll create new and exciting images. Celebrate, because once you get back on the road, you may hit another dead end, which will lead you to even more celebrations!
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If you’ve been photographing for any length of time, you’ve developed given ways to hold a camera, view the scene, discovered go-to lenses and many other things you often repeat. It’s time to deliberately alter one or two of your standard ways to procure a photo. Break away from the obvious. The idea is to walk away with something new and refreshing rather than just get back on the saddle. Your favorite lens? Leave that one home and attach something different. Height? Make all your photos from a kneeling position or from a prone position or from on top of a wall. The idea is to change the angle from where and how you’ve photographed in the past to find something new, exciting, different and stay motivated in photography.
When your standard and “safe” photographic rule says A + B = C for a given situation, try using a D in place of A or B. For all your past wildlife portraits, the only time you’d press the shutter is when the eyes made direct contact with the lens. While this is a good and proper rule to follow, begin to concentrate on more than one animal at a time and make headshots of them interacting. Watch for highlights in the eyes. Watch for a coy glance. Add in a third head if another subject enters. How about a backlit silhouette of an animal that has a unique head shape? Press the shutter even if you think it may not work. The idea is to develop a new formula to spark your creativity. If it doesn’t work, delete the file.
Think back to the day you put your brand-new DSLR up to your eye and made your first image. The LCD came to life and your adrenalin strongly pumped. It’s time to shine new light on your newfound photo journey. Don’t get caught up in apertures, ISO, shutter speeds, motor drive, etc. Put the camera on full automatic and treat it like a sophisticated point and shoot.
Just go out, make photos and have fun. Don’t worry about the technical aspects. Lay down on the ground to find a new angle and don’t worry about what others think. Point the camera without looking through the viewfinder. Deliberately move the camera during the exposure to create a desired effect. Don’t worry about a single technical aspect. Enjoy every shutter press and laugh while you make every new photo. Reconcile that every press of the shutter needn’t provide a masterpiece. Keep moving forward to find new ways to stay motivated in photography.
To learn more about this subject, join me on a photo safari to Tanzania. Visit www.russburdenphotography.com to get more information.
Originally Published December 8, 2021