Finding Inspiration In Photography

outside photograph
One way to spur creativity is to visit somewhere new, like this shot from Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama

Burnout is a constant problem in photography for hobbyists and professionals alike. One day you’ll find yourself looking at your camera with the very certain feeling that you just don’t feel like taking pictures that day. I’ve had that feeling on days I was being paid to be somewhere to take pictures. I found the motivation to go, but it was only by dogged determination and commitment to the customer.

Everyone, at some point in their photography career, will have to play games with themselves for the motivation to keep taking photos. Even professionals will go out and take pictures for the sheer fun of it on their days off.

Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful when my enthusiasm for photography wanes.

Involve The Kids

If you’re a parent taking pictures of your kids as they grow up is a constant source of inspiration. Let them come up with ideas for photo sessions and you’ll be amazed at how marvelously inventive they can be. While you might never come up with the idea to spend a day taking pictures from your dog’s point of view, that’s an idea the kids would love.

Another fun activity is to give each of the kids a plastic disposable camera before heading out for a day at the zoo and then save the prints for a rainy day and make a poster about your day using their pictures.


There are many organizations that would benefit from the services of a professional or advanced hobbyist. Animal shelters benefit from professional quality photos of pets available for adoption, which raises the adoption rate.

Another helpful service to charities are promotional photos of fund raising events and photos that can be used in advertising. While you get paid, you can sometimes get promotional consideration in exchange which can generate a lot of goodwill in the community.

Visit Somewhere New

Go somewhere you’ve never been before and shoot a photo essay that captures the essence of that place. That’s a tall order for a day trip, so give yourself a little slack on this one. When an organization like National Geographic sends in photographers to capture the essence of a place, they end up taking tens of thousands of photos. You’re stuck with what you can do in a few hours, but it’s fun to see how close you can get to that standard.

Take Pictures At a Party Or Family Gathering

And, just to make it interesting, deliberately take the wrong lens. Force yourself to shoot with equipment that is not appropriate to that situation. The extra challenge of a poor equipment choice makes it more interesting.

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