It’s not just photographers, or even artists. A lot of people have a passion, they spend years learning it, but then hit some kind of roadblock or have to take a detour for a while. Then, unfortunately, a lot of people lose the inspiration that got them started in the first place.
But how do you stay inspired? How do you keep that passion on fire? Well I’ll show you what’s worked for me! Because let me tell you, being a photographer in such a saturated place as Southern California isn’t easy!
1. Remember why you started.
For me, it was thinking back to the darkroom. The time I spent learning photography before I switch to the digital camera and computer process. The pure magic of watching a white sheet of paper turn into a beautiful photograph just by submerging it into liquid was amazing. That memory alone is often enough to remind me why I love to do what I do.
2. Look at the other people in your field (aka taking your business)
There’s nothing wrong at all with competition. It’s one thing that drives innovation after all!
But in all seriousness, you’ve probably got some great skill in whatever it is you do. I know it makes me feel really competitive when I see people with less skill than I have getting more business. I don’t hold it against them, because they’re doing something right! It’s really great motivation to get moving when something gets those competitive juices flowing!
Honestly, it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about the act of creating.
If you’re having trouble getting motivated, can’t choose what you want to shoot, and have no direction, it can hamper your creativity and, at worst, your love of your art.
Contests can provide you focus, direction, and deadline. Creative professionals can sometimes get a little absent minded (don’t take offense, it’s something I and a lot of my colleagues suffer from), so anything that can help you focus can be exceptionally beneficial!
4. Try or learn something new
You do not know everything. I don’t care how many years you have been doing your thing, you still have more to learn. Want to know why even the masters haven’t learned everything? Because people are always innovating! Did you know there was a photographer who had her computer stolen with her entire recent work on it (obviously she didn’t back it up properly) and then the computer was wiped clean of all data before it was recovered? She used data recovery software to try to get her art back, but what she got back were semi-corrupted files. She ended up loving these so much, she displayed them at her show and it went over amazingly well!
There is always something new. Some new technology, form, idea, or general innovation that crops up. Learn something!
5. Make something
I didn’t say it has to be great. If you’re lacking inspiration, you’re probably having trouble making anything. Just start. If you’re a photographer, bring your camera, place yourself in a location, and just shoot. Just move around, find something, focus on something, play with lenses, settings, and just shoot. Then go home, download your images, and edit. It doesn’t matter if you’re inspired, just do it!
If you’re a designer, illustrator, or artist in general, just start something. Draw, paint, just start working and let your subconscious start bringing out shapes and forms.
Why not? Artists are posting amazingly creative works all over that app! Almost everyone has a smartphone nowadays, or at least a computer. There’s no excuse. Just pick a hashtag and go with it. Search for portraiture, architecture, illustration, whatever you love, and siphon some inspiration from the work of others! People have looked at work for inspiration for millennia, it’s a tradition.
If there’s something more, feel free to let me know with an email or a comment!