Most photographers have a niche in which they like to shoot or there is a certain type of photography that dominates how they make their money (portraits, sports, etc.). But even though they may love shooting pets or landscapes, they can still get bogged down from shooting the same subject over and over. When you find yourself getting to the point where you don't really want to pick up your camera because you know what to expect, try something different. Try shooting something outside of your normal range of photography. If you photograph insects, try shooting landscapes. If you photograph people, try some still shots. Not only will this shake up your routine and get you reengaged, but you may discover some things that influence your usual photography.
Join a Photography Group
There are a lot of photography enthusiasts out there. Being part of a community means you can talk to others who share your interests and understand some of the technical and creative hurdles you may face. It also means supporting others to continue in their own photography endeavors. These groups can either be online or offline. Online groups will typically give you a larger community to chat with while offline groups will give you a chance to meet other photographers in real life. Online communities are numerous and easy to find. Most of these, including Photographytalk, will include a variety of articles for beginners and pros alike, and a forum to discuss any sort of photography related subject. Whichever community you decide to join, remember that it's not just enough to sign up. You have to be an active member if you want to get anything out of it. By partaking in discussions and supporting other members, the community will be willing to help and support you back.
Find a Photography Buddy
There's a big difference between joining a photography group and finding a photography buddy. While a group can support you in your off time when you're online or at a meeting, a photography buddy can give you the motivation to go out and shoot and support you along the way. Having a friend to join you in anything you're interested in is a good idea: an exercise buddy, a golfing buddy, a gaming buddy. Having someone that actively enjoys these interests with you will make your interests more enjoyable because you'll have someone to share with, support, and be supported by. Collaborations can result in amazing photography projects, and inspiration can bounce back and forth between you and your friend. If you're struggling to find a photo buddy, joining a photography club in your local area would be a good start.
Read Photography Books/Magazines
Inspiration often comes from seeing or reading something else. While self-inspiration is not out of the question, viewing others' work and thoughts can often lead to a spark of creativity within yourself. Because we all think differently, you and I will not always approach every technique or subject in the same way, which means we will have different results. So only viewing your own work will often put you in a rut, a one-track lane of thinking. Seeing how others approach the same subject, or even different subjects, can give you a fresh perspective on your own work. Try looking through a photography book and questioning each photograph as far as composition, lighting, technique, and overall feel. Why did the photographer frame the image like this? How did he get this photo to make me feel sad? Doing this can revitalize your motivation to try to capture something new.
Image credit: petunyia / 123RF Stock Photo
Written by Spencer Seastrom