Sometimes the world seems filled with inspiration, but sometimes it falls flat. If you find yourself feeling uninspired, here are eight ways to break out of your rut and get exciting about shooting again.
Join a club. Just being around other photographers—and being able to talk shop with your peers—can help get your creative juices flowing again. Clubs also often offer excursions or photowalks that will take you to new places. Check out meetup.com to find a club in your area.
Push yourself. Commit to posting a new photo every day on your blog or other social media site. Writers often push through a block by making themselves put down words on paper whether they feel like it or not; do the same by getting the camera and shooting even if you’re not excited about it. Keep at it—eventually you will get back into the groove.
Go to a museum. While most art museums frown on flash photography, you may find inspiration in the color, composition, and technique of other artists. Don’t limit yourself to photographers; be sure to check out painters, sculptors, and mixed-media artists, too.
Flip through a magazine. The B&H catalog may make you drool over new toys, but for inspiration, check out consumer magazines. Grab a stack of assorted magazines—fashion, crafting, lifestyle, and cooking tend to have great spreads—and flip through them at your local bookstore over a cup of coffee. Just make sure not to spill anything! Take notes of anything that catches your eye while you browse. You never know; you may find inspiration in a fashion pictorial or an ad for canned soup!
Pick a theme. Write down as many themes as you can think of on slips of paper and draw one out of a hat. The limitation of a theme may, ironically, make you feel more inspired. Check out themed contests for ideas—or even enter one!
Check out what the other guys are doing. Flickr’s explore feature delivers a random assortment of images from users around the world. There are so many amazing artists out there with a huge variety of styles. You can also try browsing random boards on Pinterest, but you may get end up spending too much time exploring and not enough time working. Be sure to save images that speak to you in an “inspiration” folder for future reference.
Learn something new. Even professional photographers with dozens of years experience still have new techniques and tricks to discover. Check out a tutorial online for something you haven’t tried or simply break out your camera’s manual (you did save that, right?) and play with a setting you haven’t previously used.
Be adventurous. You may find that the root of your photo funk is in your overall routine. If you find yourself doing the same things every day, going to the same places and looking at the same old things, it’s no wonder that your inspiration level is low. Refill your tanks by taking the road less traveled. Get away for a weekend if you can, or simply take a different route home after work. Choose something that you’ve been meaning to get around to doing, such as trying a new cuisine, getting up early to go to the farmer’s market or flea market, or seeing the arthouse film everyone is talking about. Breaking down your boring routine will also help break you out of your creative rut.