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Humans are creatures of habit. Most everything we do is on a schedule. We eat at the same time every day, wake up and go to bed at the same time, we hear the traffic report on the radio at the same time on our way to work. We also tend to prefer the familiar. We like eating that same sandwich from our favorite deli, we like to sit in the same chair around the dining room table, and we like to park in the same spot everyday. When it comes to photography, we're no different. We find a niche that we really like and we photograph subjects in that particular niche over and over. And while this is exciting for a while, we can eventually get bogged down by it. You don't want to shoot yet another landscape, or you don't want to spend hours retouching your model's fashion shoot photos. What happens when we get bogged down is that we just don't stop photographing that one thing, we usually stop altogether. We take a break from photography. But this break often becomes a drought, and even though you feel like you want to shoot or should be shooting, you can't bring yourself to do it because you know the routine. You know what's going to happen.
Break Your Routine
The solution here is to break your routine. Don't go photograph the same things over and over. Try something new. If you're a macro photographer, try shooting landscapes. If you're a landscape photographer, try shooting portraits. Try experimenting with timelapses or fast shutter speeds. Try playing with double exposures or light painting. Just do something different. This will help reignite your passion for photography and get you shooting again.
Use a Different Camera
One way we can fall into a routine is by using the same equipment. When you pick up your camera, you know what to expect. You know how and when to change the settings. You know what settings will give you the photo that you want. It's not challenging and therefore not particularly engaging. However, when you pick up a different camera, you're not quite sure how to work it or how it will work for you. Everything is a bit different, so when you look at a scene through this other camera, you start to think about how it will turn out. With your regular camera, you would know. But with this one you're not quite sure, so it gets you actively thinking about the scene at hand.
Now, I'm not suggesting you go out and buy a $2,000 camera just to get a little perspective. But try a friend's point and shoot. Try a film camera. There are tons of different ones out there. Toy cameras, panoramic cameras, medium format, large format, instant cameras, underwater cameras. Just try something that's different from your own camera and you'll start to see things a little differently.
Again, I'm not suggesting that you move across the nation just for a little different perspective, but shooting in the same location again and again will get you bogged down fast. You need to explore areas outside of your neighborhood and backyard. Try going across town, or to the next closest city. Look in your area for parks and/or campgrounds. If need be, take a little vacation to the next state over. Just breaking your daily routine and seeing some fresh scenery will help you get out of that rut.
Written by Spencer Seastrom