Many of you are familiar with writer’s block but how many of you heard of photographer’s block? Instead of asking why you don’t like the pictures you take, lack inspiration, or can’t find a good subject matter maybe it’s time to learn how to deal with the photographer’s block. Creativity must be nourished because otherwise, it can easily take a break.
Step 1: Recognize and acknowledge
You can’t find a solution when you don’t know you have a problem. The photographer’s block has many faces and you need to recognize them. The clearest sign is when you don’t pick up the camera for a long period of time. You just don’t feel like it. Another sign is when you can’t find anything good to photograph. You want to take pictures but you’re struggling to find a subject matter. Last but not least you may be suffering from the photographer’s block when you don’t like the pictures you take.
After seeing the signs you need to acknowledge them and admit you have a problem. But don’t beat yourself up because it’s not your fault. You aren’t a bad photographer but something is going on.
Step 2: Understand the reasons
The next vital step is finding the reasons behind your blockage. The range of reasons is very large and personal. But among the most common ones are routine, burnout, striving to succeed as an emerging artist, deadlines and outside pressure, and getting away from what’s important to you. Take some time to observe how you feel and act around the camera. Finding the personal reasons that keep you from creating amazing work is extremely important. In some cases, the reasons have nothing to do with photography. It may be family issues, moving to a new place, health issues, or stress.
Step 3: Photo detox
Once you know the reasons behind your photographer’s block you can start taking action. It may seem strange but one of the best things you can do is taking a break from photography. Yes, even when your problem is not picking up the camera for a long time. That’s because when you don’t take pictures and you don’t think about it you support your creative self to explore and grow in other directions.
Digital photography gives us instant rewards. I take a photo and I look to see how it looks. I post it on social media and I receive instant feedback. This on-going rewarding system affects our focus and determination when we take photos. We can easily become unhappy with our work. Moreover, we can easily feel the pressure to be better, take more pictures, and receive better feedback. We fall into patterns and that affects our creativity. Taking a break allows us to reset and rediscover why we love photography.
Step 4: Focus on what’s important to you
When dealing with the photographer’s block many people advise you to focus on a single subject matter or technique. Narrowing your perspective increases focus and helps you come back in the game step by step. But instead of choosing to focus on a color or subject matter, choose to focus on something that matters to you. It will remind you why you start taking pictures in the first place.
Sometimes we grow apart from our initial purpose. We work in large studios where our angle is less important than the company’s policy. We try to sell our photos and start photographing what sells. Our social media followers favor a special type of photography and we don’t want to disappoint them. We can’t afford to travel to those amazing places we love to photograph. There are plenty of reasons for giving up what you believe in. Some of them are inevitable. But when it comes to not enjoying photography is time to take action. Stay true to what’s important to you at least for personal artistic projects.
We take photographs because we have something to say not to impress other people. Photography is a way of expressing yourself creatively. It doesn’t exist without you. When you suffer from the photographer’s block is a sign that something happens to you. Take a step back and analyze the reasons that brought you here and remind yourself why you love photography. For other techniques check out these articles.