It's easy to get stuck in a rut in photography but don't worry, here are 9 surefire ways to supercharge your motivation.
We all know what it's like to hit a creative block. The mood doesn't strike you, or perhaps there's just nothing around to photograph. Well, if that's where you are right now then you've come to the right place. There's plenty you can do to lift yourself out of that rut, dust off the camera, and shoot something new and exciting. Whether it's meeting up with other photographers, connecting online, or simply seeking motivation from a list of challenges there are lots to get you back up and running, so take a look at nine steps you can take to start boosting your motivation.
Join a Camera Club
Spending time with other like-minded people is a great way to up your motivation. Talking to other photographers at camera clubs may be enough to get you in the mood to shoot more. But clubs also offer an additional incentive in the form of contests and challenges within the group, to critique each other's work in a safe space, and to get feedback from those you trust and respect.
A Photo a Day Challenge
These photo challenges have been popping up all over the internet for years now, but they're still a good source of motivation. They're full of daily ideas designed to make you shoot more often and each challenge is different so you'll never get bored.
If you want to take things a bit further you can try entering the Fstoppers Photo of the Day here to have the chance to be featured on the Fstoppers website.
Memberships to photography resources can help refine your photography learning and expose you to tips and techniques that you wouldn't have otherwise come across. Search out reputable places such as the Royal Photographic Society, or even sign up for online courses where you can take your photography and editing to the next level. Learning from professionals online has really taken a big upswing this year as fewer places are open to join in-person due to the pandemic. Whether logging on to a video conference or simply streaming video content online, these resources are incredibly helpful for those that want to learn at their own pace and possibly receive awards for specific contributions.
Head to the Park
It might sound silly, but going to the local park with your camera can often strike up inspiration. Aim to head out at least once a week and especially when there's interesting weather such as fog or frost. There should be plenty of subjects to capture, from people to pets, and birds to flowers. Not only that but you'll find more often than not that other photography enthusiasts will engage with you over kit and subject matter and most people are extremely friendly. This is a good way to connect with the local community around you and is also helpful for revisiting the same location multiple times to capture different results.
Similar to the photo a day challenge these themed photoshoots are done over a longer period of, say, a month. The concepts can be as wide open as simply "textures" or they might be something more specific like "pet portraits". It's a more long-form process where you can really get your teeth into a subject. A quick search online will give you everything you need to get started, or you can take a look at the past Fstoppers photographer of the month here.
Restrict Your Lens Choice
Instead of using that 18-200mm zoom that came with your camera why not opt to restrict yourself to shooting just one focal length instead? You could do this by sticking with just one part of your zoom range if you only have a zoom lens, or swap it out for a prime lens. This technique forces you to compose with your feet and imposes physical restrictions on what you can and can't include in the frame.
Shoot a Different Aspect Ratio
If you find yourself feeling unmotivated, shooting the same old things, then you might want to consider changing your aspect ratio. Avoid leaving photos in the default crop they were taken in and choose to shoot in a different, specific ratio instead. For example, you could aim to capture images in 1:1 square crop which would require a different eye for composition due to the limited vertical and horizontal space.
Almost all modern cameras shoot color these days (with the rare exception) and that's great for capturing all the color gamut that life has to offer. But consider switching to shooting monochrome, or black and white. By limiting the color palette to shades of white, black, and gray (or a monochrome of your choosing) you will start to notice a difference in your photo style. Looking more for textures, shapes, and light it's a fun way to explore the same, tired shooting locations in a different frame of mind. You can also explore this technique by editing your color images too. Go back over old archived photos to discover a new way of presenting them, it's possible you'll find one or two that actually look better in black and white.
Enter a Competition
Competitions are a great driving force behind creativity because there's the fun and excitement of entering to see if you place, but it also gives you some structure when aiming to shoot something new. It's a good place to start if you want to up your game too because not only will you have to take a great shot to be ranked but you'll also have to do it to brief.
Main image in part by NASA, image in the public domain.