A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how to tell if you’re in a slump. I made the argument that you’re most likely not in a slump at all–that perhaps you’re just learning and being more picky about your compositions (which is a very good thing).
But, what do you do when you really are in an artistic slump?
Maybe it’s been months since you shot a photo you’re proud of, or maybe you feel like you’re losing interest in photography. What do you do then?
Well, there’s one thing that has never failed for me:
Go look at a ton of photographs by other photographers
Luckily, with the Internet, there’s lots of ways to do this:
1. Look through your friend’s online photo albums
2. Look through the photos on Flickr Explore, which is a collection of popular photos on probably the largest photo-sharing website. Sure, they’re not all nature photos, but you can learn stuff from any kind of photo.
3. Visit the website of your favorite professional photographer and explore his or her online galleries
4. Visit that new photo-sharing website that’s getting a lot of attention lately: 500px (there’s a ton of great photographers sharing their photos on here)
The point of this “photographic tour” is NOT to copy ideas from other photographers, but to see the world from another person’s perspective. It helps open you up to new ideas and inspirations.
One of the most rewarding things you can do is see how other people photographed some of your favorite subjects. Since we all have our own unique vision of the world, this really helps you get to know your subject better. You may not like all the photos you see, but that’s not the point–the point is simply to see the world through another person’s eyes.
Looking at other photographer’s work can also help introduce you to new subjects, which can really help re-ignite your passion for photography. Maybe you’re bored with photographing wildflowers right now, but then you see this awesome photo of a caterpillar and say, “WOW! I wanna photograph that.” And then of course you start an obsession with photographing caterpillars 😉
Take your time when looking at other photos
When you look through other photos, it’s important to take your time to appreciate them. Stop and ask yourself why you like or dislike the photo. Having these types of conversations with yourself will really help you find your own unique style.
Still can’t find inspiration?
If you’ve already looked at every photograph you can find, and still feel completely uninspired, then perhaps you can try a few of these ideas from a great post by Valerie Jardin at the Digital Photography School.
What’s your remedy for inspiration?
If you have another way for finding inspiration or re-igniting your passion for photography, please share it with us by leaving a comment below. Thanks! 🙂
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About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, computer scientist, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of Southern California.