Lost your photography mojo? It's something that happens to us all and not just once, it's a part of life but let's not get philosophical here, let's just look at a few ways to reinvigorate your photography.
We've all been there, the frustration at nothing working and everything you turn your hand to just doesn't seem right. These times can be infrequent or can be a few times a year. Whatever the case we need to realize what is actually happening and address it in whatever fashion suits you as an individual. If photography is your main income you may not have the ability to address this as you need to pay the bills, but I'm sure you'll be well versed in recognizing the symptoms.
So, how do you bring it back? Well, here are some tips that may work for you. Remember one thing, however, it will come back, just let it and don't force it.
Go Buy a New Camera
Yes, that will solve everything, you'll suddenly get the urge to go and shoot new images and they will be great. Why not add a lens to that bundle and then go and shoot close-up shots of subjects that you would normally not even think about photographing? The ornament that has sat on the shelf for the last 4 years, in fact, why not throw all caution to the wind and shoot it in monochrome because you can. A blade of grass, and not just any blade of grass, the one from the roadside that you pass every day and never give a second glance to. All of a sudden it becomes a work of art because of your new camera and lens combo; your mojo is back and your life complete.
No, this will not solve the problem, it will in fact add to it as you will see your bank balance depreciate. This, as well as losing your photography mojo will only increase your frustration. However, a piece of new equipment can help inspire you again.
Sort Out Your Gear Bag
More of a cathartic experience but one that still involves your photography. Hoover out the bag and give it a wipe down. Sort out your filter sets and perhaps decide which ones you use more often than not. Can you part with the ones that you don't, or indeed any other equipment that you haven't used in a long time? If so, sell them and keep the spare dollars, and put them towards another photographic purchase that you want, or better still start a photo trip fund. You won't get far with money from filters but once the cash is there you'll think of other reasons to add to it to get something that you want.
When you are sorting out your filters, your mind will take back you to when you used them and why. Same with your lenses, a good clean of all your equipment will bring back that connection, and need to go back out and shoot.
Revisit Your Back Catalog
Delete every single image. If you think your photography is bad now, think about what it was like when you didn't know as much as you do now; delete every single last one of them.
Seriously though, go back through your old catalogs and see if there are any images that you think are now actually ok. Many times I've passed by an image thinking nothing of it, but as my practice changes my appreciation of the subject matter changes. As we mature as photographers we see things in our images that perhaps we didn't the first time around. Going through your back catalogs will also give you the chance to purge the definite ones that you don't need, clearing space for the ones that you will shoot in the future.
Learn Something New
Crochet I hear is good for finger dexterity and all the better when trying to find your way around your camera buttons in colder climes.
Learn a new technique or skill that you can apply to your craft. You've probably thought about it in the past but never really had the time so perhaps when your photo mojo is gone, it's time to start. Even if you don't get it finished, you've at least made progress towards it and you can add it to your ever-increasing skill base.
Just Take a Break
As simple as that, just take a break.
We've all come upon those times when nothing is working, every image is terrible, you can't see compositions, and even when you can the resulting image is bad, and you think to yourself why is it just not working? This piece of advice is the same for everything in life, now we are getting philosophical. Sometimes we need to step back to move forward.
Yes, you've heard it a thousand times before, but do you actually practice it?
Recently I hit a creative slump, nothing worked and everything I did was wrong. Everything I tried to do I just tried too hard and it wouldn't work, and even though I knew I was in a creative slump, I still tried, which made things worse. I knew that by stepping back I would move forward again at some point; so I did.
I didn't purchase a new camera. If I can't take a decent image with the camera I have then I should be selling everything anyway. My gear is now all cleaned and ready for the next adventure. My back catalog is getting there. Now that I've started purging it I want to get it to a place that I'm happy with. I never took up crochet, but I have started to learn more editing techniques which reinvigorated my want to go back out and shoot again. Currently, I'm on a break and heading to Iceland at the end of this week, and I didn't want to pack a creative slump because it will follow you no matter where you are.
These methods are the ones I mostly use when the photo mojo has gone, with the best one being, to take a break. What are your tried and tested methods to bring it back and get out shooting again?
Lead image courtesy of Sharon Wilson, images 4 & 5 by mateusz dach and fauxels at Pexels, used under creative commons