Let’s be honest; it’s not always easy to know what to photograph, especially when you’re working as a photographer. What happens in the downtime, when work is slow, or you’re simply not taking on shoots for a while, can be difficult to figure out. Maybe you want to do fine art photography, nature photography, or anything else that doesn’t include people coming to you. Or maybe you just want to keep your skills sharp and take something you can be proud of in the meantime.
Starting photography back in high school, nearly 20 years ago, I know how difficult it can feel to find inspiration, especially when you’re stuck in the same place every day. I’ve found a couple of ways to keep moving forward, even when you don’t necessarily feel like you have the best ideas or places to get images you want to show off.
My number one piece of advice? Start shooting! The fastest way to get moving with figuring out what you want to do is to pick up your camera and get to it. Maybe your home isn’t a source of inspiration to you anymore, but I’ve found that even pointing and shooting in your own home can help you get motivated to do more.
If your home still doesn’t do it for you, go on a walk! Start taking photos of the neighborhood, the park nearby, the sidewalk in front of your feet. Try and get creative, be weird, don’t worry about anything but what you’re doing (except, maybe, don’t trespass). You’d be amazed at what you can find right in your own backyard!
My second suggestion is to look at other photographers! There are plenty out there, and I’ve found that just flipping through a photography book, or going online to look through other’s portfolios can be helpful. You can hit up your local library to see what they have on hand, or see if you can find some artists online you’re interested in! You can see how someone else has worked within the medium, and what kind of shots they like to get. You can even take notes for angles or poses you might like to try someday!
When looking at other people’s work, you might feel more unsure, or think that you’ll never achieve what they have. However, I would urge you to consider their work in another light; a goal to reach! Of course, you’ll never be the same as someone else, but that’s a good thing! Your work can shine on its own, but without others to inspire us, we may never find that piece we’re missing in our own work that can really bring it to new heights.
If you can’t bring yourself to do either of those, you can always brainstorm! Get out a pencil and paper and start writing down ideas. Whatever comes to mind, get it on the page. You never know what can come out, and the things you might be able to achieve with whatever you have in your home or at your disposal. There’s always space to be creative!
These are just a few suggestions to get yourself out of a rut. Do you have anything in particular that inspires you?