No Motivation to Shoot? Suggestions here!

I get asked a lot of questions like, “what’s the most fun thing you’ve photographed?” or “what do you suggest I start photographing to learn photographer better?” or “where are some cool places to photograph?”

So, I decided to compile a list of what I think every photographer should do to get better or increase motivation to get off the couch. Keep in mind, I am still learning myself and these suggestions are what better ME. They may not work with everyone, but I think they are thought provoking all the same.

  • Photograph what makes you uncomfortable – repeatedly. I say this because there are many things in life that make us uncomfortable and the reason they do is because we are afraid of the unknown. Chances are, by photographing something that makes you uncomfortable you could end up doing your best work. For me, it was photographing random people on the street up close. Really intimidating at first but once you get comfortable with yourself, no one will really notice you doing it.
  • Travel. Doesn’t have to be to somewhere crazy, though that would be nice, but going to a place you haven’t been before can really inspire your creative genius to see things differently.
  • Make an image using a historical process, such as a Daguerreotype. Now, I have yet to personally do this but I am hoping to sometime in the future. I feel like creating an image in the same way it was done over a hundred years ago will help to appreciate the craft more as well as understand it better.
  • Pick your best image, the one that makes you feel like a real photographer, print it as big as you can afford to and hang it on your own wall. By doing this, I think it allows you to learn how to be positive about your work. So often people negatively critique themselves and only focus on what they did “wrong”. Sometimes it’s nice to have a reminder that we are all beautiful artists.
  • Pretend that you are a tourist in your own hometown. This is pretty obvious. I live in Baltimore City and I even get bored there sometimes. So some days I go out with my camera and just kind of pretend I’ve never been before. Kind of weird, I know. But hey, I’ve actually noticed some things I had not.
  • Use a broken camera. This probably sounds weird too but sometimes you can get some really cool images, like light leaks. All kinds of crazy stuff has been done with broken cameras, so get out there and experiment.
  • Photography oddities over things that are “pretty”. We all love pretty things; sunsets, flowers, girls, cupcakes, etc. But what will really draw people into your photos are things they don’t normally see everyday. See something weird or out of the ordinary? Photograph it and make it your own!

I want to keep adding to the list, so help me out by leaving suggestions in the comment section below! I’ll add them in. I figured this would be a good start since everyone is going on winter break. Winter time doesn’t have to be boring! Have a great holiday everyone! If any one gets anything film camera related, please share 🙂

6 thoughts on “No Motivation to Shoot? Suggestions here!

  1. You sorta cover this:

    WALK. Leave the car or bike at home and hoof it. It’s the only way to get that shot you think about taking every time you pass that one place.

    GO A DIFFERENT WAY. You know how you always turn down the same three streets to get to the grocery store? Go a different route… you’d be surprised what you might find, even if it’s just a different view of the same old street or sky.

    DESTINATION NOWHERE. Sure you are on the way to the grocery store, but if you go in and load down with stuff you aren’t going to be able to shoot the walk home. It’s weird, it may even feel wrong somehow, but it’s good for the soul sometimes to just leave the house with no particular destination in mind.

    GO IT ALONE. Hard to concentrate when you are bending over to pick up dog poop or telling your friend what’s going on. And by alone, I also mean… dare I say it? LEAVE THE PHONE AT HOME. Ouch. It’s hard. It may even make you nervous at first… but hey look you never saw that tree before!

    SEEK INSPIRATION. We tend to think we are surrounded by art because of Instagram and Tumblr and Flickr… but that’s not art… it’s horribly compressed bad digital reproductions of art. To see and feel the REAL thing you need to find some galleries, or even just explore some cool buildings if that’s your thing. Seeing tangible works of art does something unique to our brains that few other stimuli can. A gallery makes a great non-destination! So do book stores and libraries. Pop down to the local library, spend a few hours immersed in Emerson with no cell phone on hand and I bet your mind will start bubbling with ideas!

    ALLOW AMAZEMENT. Just because you aren’t 5 any more doesn’t mean you can’t learn to appreciate stupid things like a 5 year old. Give it a try. Look for animals in clouds and make up a story about them. Take a chance to explore underneath the table or behind a counter you’ve never bothered to look. When was the last time you tried to stand on your head? Why not?

  2. Hi,
    I am writing to let you know how much I am enjoying your blog, I just found it today.
    I was sent to Baltimore City for 8 weeks of training and fell in love with the architecture. I also did some photography from a big hill with a graveyard on top and was impressed with the pictures of the gravestones echoing the city’s skyline behind them. And Oh my, the people. i spent some time just riding the bus and photographing people. You are so blessed to live there. I live in a bedroom community that is boring!
    Thank you for the blog…keep writing, pls. Shirley

    • Hello! That is great to hear! Baltimore is a very whimsical place, always something strange to see even if you’ve lived there a hundred years 🙂 I am familiar with the big hill graveyard you are referring too, quite a sight. The Baltimore people never seem to be bothered being photographed, I think most of them secretly take joy in it. Where are you from if you don’t mind saying?

      Thanks for reading and I will definitely be posting more 🙂

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