Stop the Excuses and Pick That Camera Up Once Again

Do you feel like you are living in a parallel world where time both seemingly stops but also goes at a rate faster than before? Have the constant restrictions paralyzed you and left you unable to foresee picking up your camera anytime soon?

First of all, there is a distinction between internally coming up with excuses not to continue with your photography because you feel artistically underwhelmed and unstimulated and not picking up your camera because you have had to take on a different role in your personal or professional life to keep yourself or your family afloat, leaving you exhausted from this change in your daily routine. If it's the latter, there is no reason to punish yourself for not keeping up with your previous profession or hobby — in those times, we can be thankful that we are still managing to continue at all. 

However, if your camera is gathering dust on a shelf because you feel like your current environment is not exciting or engaging enough anymore for you to warrant picking it up, I'd like to encourage you to reconsider it. We find ourselves in a strange void where we can be overtly stimulated because many are in a similar situation and are pumping out content on social media. On the other hand, as we put our phone down or turn off our laptop, depending on your national and local restrictions, we can find ourselves twiddling our thumbs because there isn't anywhere to go or anything to do. Or rather, that's how it appears. But, it doesn't have to be that way. 

Do you feel like nothing is worth shooting anymore? Remind yourself why you started photography, look through your work, and you'll soon remember how to fit photography back into your life.

As many have already pointed out, we are all adapting to the new way of life, whether it is in our business or in how we socialize and entertain ourselves. This means adjusting our expectations of what is possible, and equally, we may need to disregard some of the things or thoughts we may still cling onto from the time before COVID-19 swept across the world. If you are waiting for that strong urge or inspiration to dawn on you one day, it may never arrive. If you are waiting for things to go back to how they were so you can resume your photography the same way you used to, that day may not come anytime soon either. 

What you might want to consider is doing a figurative reset in your creative life to be able to continue it without losing the passion, the experience you have gained so far, and everything you have achieved. Lowering your expectations is not necessarily a bad thing because that might just be what you need to resume shooting and creating. Just because you might not be able to travel or hire locations or models that you enjoy working with, it doesn't mean you should sit around and wait. If you are struggling to think of a shoot or project yourself, a simple search online will reveal hundreds of ideas for you to choose from. The more you harness your artistic expression, whatever the circumstances, the more you will improve as an artist, providing that is your goal. All the obstacles we encounter today will help us become better at figuring out an alternative way to arrive at our intended destination.

Don't dismiss simple moments and compositions around your life; they can be enough to reignite your interest and passion for photography.

With that in mind, perhaps next time you are doubting your creative future and the lack of inspiration, target your attention towards a more systematic and pragmatic approach of easing yourself back into shooting. Work on your archives to see where you left off and give your potential future photography projects the attention you would give to any project by formulating the goals and planning it. Make it easier to quickly reach for your camera by keeping it handy and ready to be used. Don't disregard the little moments and possible compositions you see around you every day just in the comfort of your own home or on the way to a grocery store. As with most things in life, we can't simply wait around, but we have to mindfully act.

How are you coping in the first month of 2021? Do you find yourself creatively stagnated? Do you use photography as a way to release your frustrations, stresses, or worries?

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14 Comments

Alex Yakimov's picture

Good thoughts. Anete. After exhausting myself with question of changing my gear for something even more perfect, my artistic inspiration dwindled dramatically. It was clearly a gear trap that sucked some mental resources. Taking on some photographic challenges with a group of likeminded togs is what I found helpful to shift mental focus from the gear towards creativity.

Patrick Infante's picture

The whole COVID thing has really squashed my inspiration and the cold weather hasn't helped it either. Really in a creative and inspirational slump!

Anete Lusina's picture

I know the feeling! Even going out for a walk is a task that requires a lot of motivation, let alone bringing a camera with. One project I've seen that I really like is documenting light in your home through all the hours of the day (or fewer hours in winter time), it can give a reason to pursue a still life project without leaving home and just paying attention to where light goes throughout the day.

Sam David's picture

Thanks for this, Anete. I am not at all sure anything you recommend will work for me, but I now keep my cameras on an empty chair in my workspace, an improvement over zipped up in their bags.

Anete Lusina's picture

That's the first step! If you're stuck for creativity, I read a really interesting article yesterday. It made me step out of the photography bubble and just look at creativity as something bigger and more multi dimensional. Hope it sparks some interest - https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20210105-why-being-creative-is-good-...

Philip Kinkel's picture

Odd, first two posts perfectly summed it all up for for me. Covid stalked and halted my creativity, yes i understand i wasnt alone in that, but then to try to regain interest went to look at new equipment. Bad mistake! "Well i simply cannot continue my progress with the horrible equipment i have available to me!"
And.... Stagnation. Good luck to all.

Anete Lusina's picture

In situations like these forget the gear! I would recommend looking at some YouTube interviews with artists where you can lose yourself in the thoughts and ideas creative people have, whether they are photographers or not. You don't necessarily need to see their work either, just listen to the words and spend some time revisiting what creativity is to others and gain some inspiration to find it in what you do and enjoy - try something like

Sam Sims's picture

I bought a new camera and lens back in December 2019 (A7III and Viogtlander 40mm f1.2) and then only a few months later this bloody pandemic hit us. Whilst my creativity has been hampered by opportunities to get out and take photos, I am at least embracing the one camera and one lens ethos. Looking at equipment I cannot afford anyway has become totally boring now. I just wish my local area wasn't so uninspiring and lacking in character as it's unwise for me to get on a bus and travel further afield with this virus about.

Carl Marschner's picture

My goal this year has been to shoot every day and edit at least twice a week. I haven't missed shooting a single day, but I definitely haven't edited. It's what happens with a totally unrelated full time job and a desire to stay away from the computer.

Alex Yakimov's picture

in what circumstances would you consider photography full time?

Graham Glover's picture

Thank you, Anete! I am an amateur photographer. I lost 6 of 7 genres last year, my top of which was fashion and that collapsed pre-COVID. On top of that, there have been familial obligations that have limited my ability to be behind the camera. Nevertheless, I *still* keep to my creative weekly schedule where I attempt to do a new project each week. While I've not shot anywhere near what I did the previous year, it hasn't gone to zero yet. I actually added a genre, starting in autumn 2020 (yes, during COVID): drone photography and videography. The drone work was a consequence of my "day job". I'm now looking at what I can do this year in our new world. Fashion moves to editorial? Maybe it expands to include boudoir? There's no turning back, so for me it's a matter of seeing what might be ahead.

Pitter Brayan's picture

Thanks for this, Anete. I am not at all sure anything you recommend will work for me

Anete Lusina's picture

If you think I can help and change your mind, get in touch with me at info@lusinaphotography.com

Gregory Vannesson's picture

Thanks for this article, any recommandations for "rebooting and restarting" ourselves in terms of inspirations ?
If you have any website or contests for restoring the creativity, it's more than welcome.