Most of us at some time or other feel bored, uninspired or otherwise stuck with our photography.
Here are five ideas to help if you find yourself photographically frustrated.
1. Shoot 50 photographs in one room
With such limited surroundings, you’ll find yourself looking at the objects around you in different ways and from new angles, and give more focus (literally) to the minutiae of indoor scenery that’s become almost invisible to you through day to day familiarity.
This extra attentiveness will then translate to when you’re next out elsewhere with a camera.
One tip I’d add to make it a little easier is use a camera with decent close focus (perhaps 0.2m or less). Otherwise, a small room and only being able to shoot, say, a metre away and beyond, might be a restriction too far.
2. Buy a cheap digital classic compact
This is something I’ve been doing for a while. First because they are so affordable (less than £20 will get you a 10 year old model that cost many hundreds new), and second for the benefits an older compact offers.
They’re compact (obviously!), and often simpler to use, with fewer bells and whistles – therefore fewer distractions between you and just making photographs.
The lower MegaPixel sensors (I’d suggest 10MP is more than enough, 6MP is plenty) mean smaller images, therefore the photos are faster to save, upload, process and take less space on your hard drive or cloud storage.
You can take a digital compact anywhere with you, and set it up to your preferences, so you can then focus purely on the basics of photography – composition, light and shadow, shapes, textures – without getting lost in the technical details or obsessing over minute adjustments.
Such small and straightforward cameras often bring back the fun in photography that can get buried when using more sophisticated models.
Try to go for one with a CCD sensor (most prior to around 2010 were, but specs are widely available online to check) and generally the bigger the sensor, the better the quality of image, everything else being equal. A 1/2″ sensor or larger (eg 1/1.8″ or 1/1.7″) is great but smaller sensors can still give lovely results.
3. Review some old photographs
Delve into your archives from a year or two ago and find a couple of images you’ve probably forgotten about, but really like.
Work out why you like them so much – is it the subject, composition, depth of field, colours (or lack of), the capture of motion or something else?
Now, what do you need to do to get back on the path of making these kind of photographs again?
4. Shoot with just one camera for a month
My project for this year is One Month, One Camera, spending a whole month with just one camera.
It’s reminded me that the benefits are multiple, not least of all becoming familiar with one machine so it’s an extension of your hand, mind and eye, rather than be fumbling through the controls and buttons trying to find where functions are because you haven’t used the camera in months.
Another big plus is just grabbing one camera to go shooting with, rather than wasting time choosing between three, 33 or 103.
I’d highly recommend you try this, especially if flitting between different cameras has left you dissatisfied with all of them. I’ve been there!
5. Shoot without a camera at all
Sometimes we just need to step back from that self imposed pressure to try to make amazing photographs (or any photographs at all) every time we venture out.
Deliberately go on a few walks where you leave your cameras behind (including your phone camera, or if you do take it, at least pledge not to us it).
Just wander around observing and enjoying what’s around you and what you find interests you most, without the pressure to capture any images.
Once you’ve done this a few times you’ll be eager to get back to using a camera again, and be more focused on capturing the most striking and memorable compositions you notice around you – not just snapping anything and everything just for the sake of having pictures of something.
Hopefully these five ideas have given you some new directions to try with your photography.
Please try them out and let me know how it goes.
Do you have any tips to help when you feel bored and stuck with photography? What’s worked for you in the past?
Again, please share your experiences in the comments below.
Thanks for looking.
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