Is anyone else feeling a little bit ran down after all the festivities?
I know in this house we’re currently riding the common cold train and, having been the first to come onboard, I’m still not back to 100% health.
When you’re not feeling well, creativity is likely to be the last thing on your mind.
Maybe you’re a bit deflated artistically and unsure of where to go next now that Christmas is passed (I mean, how do you top the bokeh of the Christmas tree?).
I’ll be honest, January is usually a weird month - once the tree comes down and my mom’s birthday is done (8th of January), routine kicks in hard.
Never big on celebrating Valentine’s Day, I secretly wait for it to happen as it seems to be the next big thing to look forward to.
A number of years ago I hit a wall with my photography, put my camera down and didn’t pick it back up for YEARS. I wrote about all the reasons why this happened on my Learning Week 2018 blog.
I don’t want that to ever happen again.
So here I will share my most trusted methods of how to get out of a creative rut - be it on the 1st of January or out of nowhere, any other month!
Start an ongoing project
There are so many to choose from: Project 365 (a photo a day), P52 (Weekly), you might even want to start out by doing daily but for one month only.
Last summer I hosted a little summer-long Photography Scavenger Hunt with a group of very talented ladies and we had a blast shooting from a list of subjects - exploring and stretching creativity. Personally, I definitely learned a thing or two shooting with a purpose like that.
I’ve not yet completed a 365 myself - I really wanted to this year, actually, but with all my other pots, felt like it was an unrealistic and unnecessary stress to my already busy diary. I want to do it properly, when I do.
I have heard a lot of creatives credit Project 365 for a huge growth spurt in their work.
Learn something new
There are so many creative techniques out there - prisms, copper pipes, filters... I want to try them all in time, but for now, freelensing has been my ‘January thing’ and I’m loving it!
I find that using this technique makes me stop, think and recompose.
It’s completely throwing my balance and me out of my comfort zone.
I see things differently when I do freelensing and I feel it’s giving my personal work a bit more depth - like, it could’ve been just a boring ole image taken in my messy living room, but the lens came off and boom!
Take a leap of faith
Do something completely different.
For me this was purchasing my film camera. I am still very much hit and miss with my little rolls, but it’s like a little Christmas every scan day and there’s usually at least one image I fall in love with!
Whether you learn film, shoot black and white for a month or try your hand at video, trying something completely different, yet related, may re-ignite your love for photography!
Spend some time on You
So this ‘dry spell’ could have nothing to do with your art, it may just be that you are tired, wiped, exhausted.
Holidays season can have that effect.
It’s all fun and games, but think about it - you’ve probably just spent an entire month thinking about presents, buying said presents, wrapping presents and gifting. You likely had a number of mandatory pre-Christmas celebrations with friends, family and colleagues. You maybe cooked a meal for numerous relatives... it all adds up.
And then, the tree comes down, we’re back to reality and your mind and body are just a little bit done!
And the joy that you get from creating might be the first thing to go - because it’s also hard to find the time!
So... run yourself a nice bath, dissolve a fragrant (and glittery!) Lush bomb in the water, throw a sheet mask on your face, light a candle, lock the door and... relax.
Feel free to think of nothing at all or maybe ponder one of the suggestions above - which one will you embrace?
Take this selfishness beyond the walls of your bathroom and shoot for yourself. Try a completely new genre: street photography, indoor portraits, pets, still life, travel, self-portraits...
Don’t get me wrong, as a business having a lot of client work and being busy with whatever else it takes to run this show is brilliant. But if the joy is fading, it will translate into your work, so make sure you are taking care of the main thing in that business: you.
Do what you need to do to fall back in love with Your Photography, because isn’t it the truth that you create your best work when you enjoy what you do?
What do you think of my list of suggestions?
Have you ever found yourself feeling uninspired? If so, what helped you overcome this wall?
Chtefan. Photography is a family portrait photographer based in Laurencekirk, Aberdeen - Scotland.
I specialise in beautiful, natural photography of newborns, children and families and professional and environmental portraits and headshots.
Chtefan. Photography covers the following areas: Laurencekirk, Montrose, Inverbervie, Arbroath, Ellon, Westhill, Aberdeen, Banchory, greater Aberdeenshire area and available to travel on both national and international assignments.