Bored Of Photography? 5 Ideas To Reignite Your Passion

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

I’ve tried this experiment twice (the results are here and here) and the premise is simple – lock yourself in a single room for as long as it takes to make 50 photographs.

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.

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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.

Canon’s IXUS and Sony’s Cyber-shot ranges offer plenty of options.

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?

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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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11 thoughts on “Bored Of Photography? 5 Ideas To Reignite Your Passion”

  1. Going for a walk without camera or phone I always find is a great way of seeing stuff that you would love to take pictures of but also think good for health just to be seeing the world as it is and not for what we can take a picture of.

    1. Yes, excellent point. It reminds me of a photographer who, when asked why he makes photographs, replied “because I want to see how things look when they’re photographed”. Your version is kind of the opposite of that, seeing things as they exist in their natural environment, without being photographed.

  2. Some great ideas Dan, I practice number 5 quite often (although I often take my bins instead) – just going for a walk and NOT taking a camera can be very relaxing.
    I might have to try the room idea – I would imagine taking 50 shots in one room would be very difficult (I’m just looking around my office for ideas now).

    Another suggestion would be to try a different lens. I very rarely use a telephoto as I love to capture the environment the subject is in – I keep telling myself I’m going to go for a walk with the biggest telephoto I have and see what I can capture – details rather than big picture.

    1. Thanks Stuart. The 50 photographs one is easier than it seems once you get going. You might need ten or 15 shots to warm up then the interesting ones start to materialise.

      That’s a great tip about different focal lengths. I remember the first few times I used a 135mm lens (on a 35mm film camera) after using 50 and 55mm lenses almost exclusively. I kept having to step back two or three paces from where I naturally stood fro a 50mm lens.

      My mantra for the 135mm lenses became “isolate the subject” as they are fantastic for taking a picture of something like a flower (or a person!) and throwing the background deliciously out of focus, like a Monet painting.

      It would be equally challenging – and potentially as refreshing – going the other way. If you’re more used to telephoto lenses, trying shooting with a 35, 28, 24mm or even wider for a while. A radically different point of view.

      1. I think for me it’d be harder going wide. Especially with a smaller sensor camera, the deep depth of field makes it challenging, in that everything in the frame has to contribute. Unlike with a telephoto, where you can go close, open the aperture and make backgrounds disappear!

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