There’s a lot to be said for quality over quantity, but shooting as often as possible is surefire way to improve your skills. That doesn’t mean you have to go out there and take photos of everything you see and do, but setting aside time to practice your photography is important–even when you’re not feeling inspired.
Photographing the photographers

I know, I know, motivation can be difficult to muster up sometimes. What if you’re not sure what to be shooting? Maybe the weather outside isn’t cooperating. Or, maybe you’re just not feeling inspired and the thought of trying to force creativity gives you a headache. The truth is, we’ve all been there and the chances of us having a relapse are pretty likely.

Luckily, there are things we can do help curb lack of inspiration–here’s three of my favorite methods:

Weekly Photo Themes

Giving yourself a recurring weekly photo theme is almost like a miracle worker when it comes to finding inspiration. It will take some self discipline, but giving yourself a deadline each week will encourage you to get out there and make photos. Plan out at least several weeks in advance by writing down a different theme on your calendar on a certain day each week. You’ll start to notice yourself thinking ahead to photo ideas for the weeks to come, which is exactly what we’re trying to do here–thinking and planning all the great photos we’re going to be taking.

Roadside - Day 280/365

I like to mix the themes up so there is a wide range of variety–this way I can make sure I’m practicing different things to keep it interesting. Some theme ideas are:

  • Food photography
  • Self portrait
  • Street photography
  • Macro
  • The color red
  • Pets

Feel free to use those, but be sure to add to the list so you’re shooting things that already interest you. If you’re scheduled to shoot something you already like to do, the chances of you finding the motivation to shoot it are greatly increased! That being said, don’t make them all too easy–you still want to challenge yourself!

Project 365

There’s a great degree of dedication involved in undertaking and seeing a 365 day photo project through to the end. The thought of taking a photo every day for an entire year sounds like a huge task. But, look at this way, most of us already take a photo every day. Even if it’s just on our smartphone, people are taking more photos more frequently than ever before. So, starting with the mindset that you’re just putting a little more thought into something you already do, rather than looking at it as a chore will help you stick with it.

Take a few moments to browse through others 365 projects on websites like Flickr or Instagram and follow the projects that spark your interest. Another thing that can help make your 365 project successful is by joining a group of other photographers who are working on their own projects. Seeing others post photos daily will inspire you to take some of your own.

Recreate Famous Works Of Art

Take a trip to your local art museum and spend some time studying the works of famous artists. Browse through paintings done by the Dutch Masters. When you find a piece of work you love, challenge yourself to recreate it using your camera and photography skills. Golden Age painters make great choices because they helped to pave the way for many rules of photography that we still use today.
Olga with Pearl Earring
Things such as composition, lighting, use of light and shadow, and color theory were all pioneered by history’s great painters. So when you’re working on your recreation, make sure you put special focus those areas.

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Still Need  A Little Convincing?

One last bit of advice I recommend, is to keep a mood board that you can use to keep a collection of photos that inspire you. There are a lot of ways this can be done, but using a platform like Pinterest is a popular choice among photographers. Just create a new inspiration board and whenever you come across a photo that grabs your attention, stick it to the board. Do this on a regular basis so you have a source of fresh inspiration to refer to whenever you need it!

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