We all get stuck in a creative rut from time to time. It’s completely normal if we’ve been into photography for a long time, but it can be frustrating if it persists. There are many ways to get back on track, and Adam Karnacz of First Man Photography offers some that I absolutely love. They’re not difficult to implement, but they’ll all enrich your life and your creative work.
1.Bring on the night: if you’re a landscape photographer like Adam, you can visit familiar locations and take photos of them after dark. He notes that this doesn’t only mean shooting starry skies and the Milky Way, but relying on more controllable light and types of photography, such as light painting.
2. Move like you mean it: what do you think of blurry photos? Wait, don’t go! By moving your camera during the exposure, you can create interesting, painterly, impressionistic images. Adam advises that you are intentional: have a creative vision and try to act on it. But sometimes even random movements create interesting results. I say – feel free to experiment.
3. Shoot in bad weather: most of us would rather stay in bed than go out shooting when the weather’s bad. Okay, at least I would. But bad weather can give you so much when it comes to photography. So, the next time it’s raining, snowing, cloudy, or foggy, put on some warm clothes, protect your feet and your gear from moisture, and go out and shoot. If this is already your thing: kudos! Then let’s move on to the next tip.
4. Bring your photos to life: instead of the usual still images, you can try and “bring them to life” the next time you go out shooting. In other words: try making a timelapse. This is something I’ve wanted to try for a while, and it will certainly be my next thing to learn. You can process and export all the shots in Lightroom and Photoshop, so you won’t go out of your comfort zone too much – but just enough to make shooting and editing exciting again.
5. Change genres: this is pretty straightforward – get away from the genre that you normally shoot. I think this is especially useful for professional photographers who have been specialized in one or two genres for a while now. You won’t only learn something new, but you’ll refresh your creative energy completely.
6. Leave the digital world: Adam often mentions the importance of printing. If you’re stuck in a rut, printing your photos will help you see them in a new light. Also, the next time you go out and shoot, think about the photos as if you’re shooting them to be printed. It will slow you down, help you focus, and make the best out of your shots.
Speaking of leaving the digital world, I’d like to add one more thing – shoot film. If you mainly shoot digital, temporarily switching to film will also make you slow down, think your compositions through, and enjoy photography more.
7. It’s not just about you: remember that other people and their work are always a great source of inspiration. Look at other photographers’ work, and show your support and appreciation. Allow yourself to get inspired by other talented folks and their photos. Another thing I’d like to add is: connect and collaborate with others. It always helps me when I feel stuck in a rut, plus I enjoy being in touch with other creatives, who also most often happen to be awesome people.
Bonus tip – look at your old work: looking at your old photos might make you cringe, but it’s a good thing. It will remind you how far you’ve come and how much you have improved over time. You’ll be encouraged to move on. And who knows, perhaps you’ll find a photo or two that you want to reshoot and make even better than you did the last time.
What helps you when you get stuck in a creative rut? Do you follow any of these (or other) tips, or just wait it out?
[7 Photo Ideas to Escape the Rut | First Man Photography]