Getting through a creative rut or a creative block can be quite frustrating, whether as an amateur or a professional. All jobs in every walk of life exhibit some form of creativity. As a designer and a semi-pro photographer, there comes a time where your creative super powers are tested and sometimes held at bay by supernatural forces, or even kryptonite.
There is absolutely no arguing that photography is creative work. I really enjoy it as a hobby and as a way of life. Photographer's block can happen to you at any time. What I've found is that the following recommendations can help you turn this frustrating, scary, temporary situation into a positive experience, while allowing you to grow as an individual.
1. GO OUT AND JUST START SHOOTING
Even if you don't want to take photos, take your camera with you anyway. I have spent many days not shooting, because I couldn’t think of anything to shoot. Take photos of random subject matter (even the dull and boring) a street sign, a park bench, a fire hydrant, a rabid dog, the occasional homeless individual. Random captures may lead you to something interesting. Inspiration comes when you least expect it, don't wait for it, get up and do.
2. NARROW THINGS DOWN
Too many times we are bombarded with information, from different everyday sources, billboards, magazines, TV, the internet, and it tends to get difficult to listen or pay attention to those sparks of inspiration, ideas that try to get your attention. Focus on one thing, one subject, it can be something as simple as a colour, different colors have different moods too. If you are feeling calm and cool, go shoot blue. Do you feel happy? Shoot yellow or orange. Decide on a theme and shoot only those subjects that meet your selected specification.
3. GO SOMEWHERE NEW
Pack up your photo gear, charge up your mobile phone, pick a direction and start a journey. I have done this a few times and its quite enjoyable. Areas you take for granted during your daily routine, maybe to and from work perhaps, may have some sort of hidden magic during the pre dawn or golden hours of the day.
4. SPEND TIME WITH OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS
Most times the best place to find support for your passion, lies with individuals that share the same sentiment. These can be amateurs, semi-pro or professionals. Every individual in one of these categories, has something to share and you can always learn from their experiences. A photo walk for instance is a great way to see or learn something new with each outing.
5. BECOME A MENTOR
Go out with someone who just picked up a camera and help them get started. I can guarantee you that sharing your love for photography and technical knowledge with someone who is just learning will rekindle your creativity. You will learn something in the process and feel really good about yourself.
6. TREAT YOURSELF TO A NEW PIECE OF GEAR
Buy, borrow or rent a new lens for a weekend. Try something fun like shooting with a fish eye lens or a tilt-shift. Having this new lens or accessory will encourage you to get out there and start shooting so you can see the results. And there's no better way to beat that "block".
7. SEEK INSPIRATION
Visit museums and art galleries, join an online photography club, look at a colleague's work. These undertakings will inspire to create by copying others, No two photographs are the same, the composition may be the same but the final representation is a unique work of art.. Mimicking a process or final capture of a colleague will teach you something new, especially if its a genre you have never experimented in, for e.g.. macro photography.
In conclusion, it’s okay to take a little break too. Remember that creativity is a process, not a result. A creative block is not something to fear. It is just part of being a creative superpower.