I think photographers sometimes hit a spot at some stage where nothing seems to go right and the juices don't seem to flow. I suppose it's something similar to a writer's block where they sit in front of a blank page (or screen nowadays) and they just can't start writing. Or, they start writing knowing in their hearts it's total rubbish. It could be because of a lack of ideas, inspiration, conviction or even boredom.
It could be anything but one thing is sure, you have to get over it, or work through it at some point. If you don't you might as well sell all of your kit and look for something else to keep you busy. The laws of probability tells us though that at some point you'll find yourself in the same situation with whatever new project you decided to take up.
So how do we get through these blocks? The first thing you have to do is get out; with a camera in your hand of course.
At this point I personally don't set myself a project to do. That's too hard, especially if the interest isn't there in the first place. And, it could just make things worse.
I tend to take with me a camera or lens that I haven't used for some time. It doesn't matter what your subject is at this point, the main objective is to get the interest back again into your photography.
If that doesn't work I go to somewhere new. I you have to drive or travel by any means for a couple of hours to get there, just do it. This almost always gets the juices flowing again. It's something you haven't seen before and you soon find yourself immersed into finding that perfect shot.
Try new camera functions or get to know your camera better. Today's cameras are so sophisticated and have a plethora of functions, there has to be at least one function you haven't tried. I know there are on my cameras. I'm certain at least one of those will get you interested again.
Try something different. If you're a landscape photographer try some street photography are even macro. How about portraiture or still life photography. I know the latter is very difficult to do well. You never know until you've tried it...right?
What I tend NOT to do:
1. I don't buy more gear. Buying even more equipment isn't going to do anything for your photography. It's just going to make into a poorer photographer. Your gear isn't the problem, it's you.
2. I don't take classes. Again, spending money on classes when the inspiration or interest isn't there isn't going to help you either. Could make you depressed though, sitting with all those other students full of energy and just raring to go.
3. I don't spend time with other photographers. They may be full of inspiration and comment about how they've just taken the photo of a lifetime. Is that really what you want to hear? Photography for me is something personal and I prefer doing it alone. No pressure to move on etc. Doing photography in a group is just going to complicate things. It's you that has to get through the phase you're going through, not other photographers.
You may be asking why I wrote this post about photographer's block. Well, I'm sort of in one right now. Lack of interest, everything is just too much hassle. Post processing just doesn't turn me on.
What am I doing about it? Well, last weekend was about photographing something I haven't really done before, competition horse jumping. Not as easy at it looks especially when you're not in the arena like the pros. I'll have to take a look at the images and see where I went wrong. There has to be something I can do better next time, because there will be a next time. It was great fun, and those horses were just magnificent. And if I've learned something new, then it's how NOT to do something.
The warm-up arena for the dressage competition.
The arena again.
Very impressive how these horses get over those obstacles.
This magnificent horse you see above I saw outside of the arena beingwalked by his trainer. I asked casually if he wanted to get rid of the horse.
He said funny I should ask because the horse is going for 2. I said I could afford €2000. He just laughed and said of course €2.000.000.
Anything else? I've decided to take a long weekend and drive to somewhere I haven't been before. Even if the weather isn't going to play nice it's a location I haven't been to before. Everything will be new and I'm already looking forward to it. I won't be taking too much kit, something wide and a small mid-range zoom probably. It's the chance to get the artistic side of me revitalised.
Lastly I've decided to take a trip down the Loire Valley in France. It's something I've always wanted to do. With all those palaces and some fantastic scenery I'm certain my interest will thrive and I'll be out all hours. This is where sleep gets a back seat.
So, just to finish off, the main thing you have to do is just get out there into the big wide world. Photograph something, anything, but do a lot of it. Beat the block, and if you do it once you'll know what to do if it hits you again.
As an amateur I'm lucky in this respect, I can afford to have photographers block. Think about all those pros who earn their keep with photography. They have to churn out good work day in and day out. They can't afford to have a photographer's block.
I'll let you know how I got on.