You’ve been there. When you were first bitten by the photography bug, you were obsessed. Everything involved photography. You couldn’t image being stuck in the ‘photography doldrums’. Learning everything you could about photography was your primary goal. You saw the world differently. The way the light fell on your child’s face did not go unnoticed by you. You saw the way the clouds formed allowing the natural light to penetrate just so. You noticed the array of colors in the moss on the rocks. The angle of the sun making the shadow on the wall creating an abstract piece of art. You documented the moments and events of your family as you made your way through this life. All of it. You saw it all. And you wanted to capture it. Your camera was never far away from you.
Then it happened. The light didn’t seem quite as interesting. You’d shot it all before. The weather was not great. The light was flat. Your work just seemed blah. So what happened to all that inspiration on which you used to thrive? You are in the depths of the ‘photography doldrums’. How to get past this slump? Let me offer some suggestions.
Kicking the Photography Doldrums
First of all, recognize it for what it is. Burnout happens to just about everyone in just about any creative outlet. Give yourself a gentle break. Put that camera away for a bit and consider the following:
Pursue a different craft. Yes, something completely different from photography like cooking, baking, knitting, gardening, crafting. Did you used to play a musical instrument? Pick it up again. The list is endless. Try something different from your everyday activities.
Experiment with a different art form such as painting, sculpting, woodworking, carving, drawing, dancing, take a class. Again, the list can go on and on. You don’t have to be good! Choose something that will get you out of your comfort zone, stretch you a bit, and have some fun.
Play a sport, go on a hike, take up jogging, learn to rock climb, go skating with some friends, take up chess, join a team. There are so many options.
Attend cultural events. Museums, art galleries, concerts, recitals, listening to speaker. There are so many options from which to choose. You don’t live in a city where these types of events are accessible? Try public television. Watch something different from your normal viewing selections.
Join a MeetUp group that is not related to photography. Haven’t heard of that? There are meet up groups for just about anything. As with anything, use your discretion. You can find out more about them at MeetUp.
I find one of the most helpful activities for beating the photography doldrums is to explore an art gallery. We recently had the opportunity to visit a gallery showing of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. I was immediately drawn in to his use of light (window light), his compositions and his use of color. It was completely inspirational. I was motivated to attempt to create with my camera, the light and mood that Vermeer created with his paintings.
Do Something Different
So, I supposed my bottom line of advice is to do something different. Forget about the camera for a bit and explore life in other ways. Soon you’ll see the world a bit differently again and want to pick up that camera. Happy shooting (or not shooting as the case may be)!
Here are a few images that were inspired by my visit to the Johannes Vermeer showing.
Please CONTACT ME at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase prints or schedule your portrait session.
Nadeen Flynn is an award winning northern California portrait and fine art photographer. Living in the greater Sacramento area, she specializes in high school senior and teen portraits as well as fine art landscape and still life photography. Nadeen’s style is authentic, fresh and personality-driven. This retains the timeless features of photography that create family heirlooms. She offers in-person workshops and mentoring. While currently living in rural northern California with her husband and a couple thousand walnut trees, she posts regularly to Instagram.
Currently booking 2018 high school seniors, couples, and family portraits. Locations include Yuba City/Marysville, East Nicolaus, Wheatland, Lincoln, Woodland, Roseville, Rocklin, and Sacramento areas.