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How to Get Inspired for Photography

Photography is one of the most engaging forms of visual art in the world – it’s no wonder that so many people are getting involved in the pastime. It’s an ugly truth, however, that all photographers suffer from a lack of motivation from time to time. Regardless of whether you’re a beginner, enthusiast or professional, we all get burnt out, and sometimes that urge to get up and shoot just isn’t there.

How to Get INSPIRED for Photography Video | Tutorial Tuesday

However, all is not lost! There are plenty of things you can do to rekindle your inspiration and get involved with the art form you love. We’ve put together this quick guide to give you six of our best tips on how to get inspired for photography, from the people who know it the best.

Over on our YouTube channel, Gareth talks us through his own experiences with finding inspiration regardless of time or place on this episode of Tutorial Tuesday.

Explore Your Surroundings

While heading outside and searching for subjects seems like an obvious plan, the best inspiration can often come from some serious, in-depth exploration. The best thing about this is there’s no requirement to travel far and wide – by spending hours in a place you know well, you’ll find new angles that you wouldn’t have ever thought of and new subjects that can jump out from anywhere.

Take the example of a local woodland – if it’s somewhere you pass through or shoot frequently, you may see no merit in re-exploring the area. However, if you have a little bit of patience, loads of new subjects will make themselves apparent – wildlife, new compositions, new colours and atmosphere –resulting in engaging photos and enriching photography. Photographing Local Wildlife with Danny Green explores this idea of local photography, and takes wildlife photography to a new level.

Bird photography

Canon EOS R5 | Canon RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L IS USM | 1/1000 sec | f/2.8 | ISO 800

If there’s a landscape near you that you’ve shot thousands of times, don’t count out the possibility of finding new photos. The chances that you’ve explored every single possible angle of the scene are surprisingly slim – by going off the beaten track, you can find new shots that are incredibly rewarding to shoot, and who knows? You might want to return at a later date and explore those shots again.

Even if you feel you’ve completely exhausted your surroundings, there’s no telling what the conditions are going to be like on the day. Every time you set off to take some photos, the surroundings will never truly be the same. Changes in light, sky and weather mean you can return to the same place countless times and still leave with a diverse portfolio of pictures.

Lighthouse at night

Take Your Time

Engaging with the process of photography is often overlooked by more seasoned photographers. As you take more and more photos, the wonder of the experience can become somewhat lost on you. This gives rise to a lack of motivation, and can often be hard to see coming.

The best way to combat this is relatively straightforward. Slow down, don’t rush, and just enjoy the process. Taking your time with photography can help you appreciate it for what it is – an art form! If you’re constantly rushing on shoots, both the considered approach and artistic nature aren’t felt nearly as strongly.

Dusk landscape

>Sony A7 III | Samyang AF 135mm f/1.8 for Sony E | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | ISO 100

Shoots become much more enjoyable if you enjoy the shoot and not the results. Regardless of whether your photos turned out the way you’d hoped, as long as your experience was enriching, then you can walk away with something that you can happily say was worthwhile. Travel photographers know this feeling very well – associating your photography with the best moments is certain to keep you hooked on it.

Taking your time can also make you a better photographer, too. You can often miss things when you’re not taking your time – this is crucial to avoid when you’re shooting changing subjects. This is true for both fast-paced genres like sports and wildlife photography, to more considered types of photography like street and landscape, where conditions are constantly changing.

On the whole, patience and taking your time combine both enjoyment and results and are some of the best ways to get inspired and stay inspired for photography.

Dark landscape

Canon EOS R5 | Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM | 1/1250 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 100

Looking at Other Photographers’ Work

This tip doesn’t require you to even pick up a camera – looking at other photographer’s work is more about the cognitive processes behind your photography. Picking up new ideas from others and adjusting them to suit your work may spur you on to get out there and start shooting.

It’s important to be mindful that the work shared by others is their best work. While this may create an unrealistic perception of what photographers are capable of, don’t be disheartened! It may just give you the motivation to stretch yourself and capture some stunning images of your own.

Other people’s photography can also offer you new perspectives. Seeing others’ work will inevitably give you new ideas for shoots that you won’t have thought of before, which could be massively inspiring. One of the big parts of combatting a lack of photography motivation is keeping monotony at bay – by opening your mind to others’ styles, you’ll struggle to find your photography repetitive.

Facing away from sun

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II | Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM | 1/400 sec | f/11 | ISO 160

Challenge Yourself

Challenging yourself is a much less passive way of reigniting your passion for photography. By pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, you open up new avenues for shoots that you wouldn’t have thought of before, and as a result, you’ll become a much more skilled, motivated photographer.

Trying a new genre of photography is one of the best ways to go about this. If you’ve exhausted one genre of photography, perhaps the best challenge for you is to try something completely new. Some genres allow you to extrapolate skills to and from your favourite subjects, which keeps things fresh whilst you improve your abilities. Others are completely different, prompting you to develop completely new skills.

Food photography

Sony A7R IV | Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Zeiss Distagon T* | 1/100 sec | f/4.0 | ISO 400

Styles like astrophotography, creative portraiture and macro photography all require niche techniques that you wouldn’t pick up in any other genre. To keep your photography feeling fresh, it’s worth trying your hand at the more unconventional side of the practice – who knows, you might love it!

Learning trickier techniques is a more straightforward way of motivating yourself. Photographing motion, for instance, is required almost everywhere but takes an awful lot of experience to nail. Trying new methods like panning and experimenting with different shutter speeds allows you to re-embrace the thrill of the challenge, making for an encouraging experience when you nail them for the first time.

Panning for motion

Sony A7R IV | Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Zeiss Distagon T* | 1/100 sec | f/4.0 | ISO 400

Join Photography Clubs

Joining a photography club is perhaps the most head-first way to get inspired for photography. If you’re desperate to be pushed outside of your comfort zone, this is a brilliant way to do it. Surrounding yourself with like-minded photography fanatics will almost certainly revitalise your passion.

Friendly competition is a huge appeal of photography clubs, and for good reason. It’s one of the fastest routes to encouragement as a photographer – clubs usually run multiple large competitions each year, which inspire you to up your game. Having a space to show off your work as well means you’ll want to push yourself as far as possible.

The community aspect of photography clubs also provides a massive amount of enrichment. By making friends, sharing work and being part of a community, you’ll undoubtedly feel so much more connected to your photography. You’ll also be provided with invaluable inspiration, advice and outreach.

While joining a photography club may not be for all of us, it’s arguably the quickest way to get motivated – there’s no beating throwing yourself out there and getting right out of your comfort zone. The Society of International Nature and Wildlife Photographers has a list of photography clubs in England and there are lots of other resources to help find clubs available.

Photo club

Take A Break

While there’s an awful lot you can do to find motivation, sometimes taking a step back can counterintuitively be just as helpful. No matter how much you love photography, if it’s consuming too much of your time, or getting too intense, you’re going to get burnt out. When that happens, the best thing to do is to take a little bit of time away from it.

Giving yourself some space from photography means you’ll come back feeling completely refreshed and ready to get straight back into it. Chances are you’ll be ready to fall in love with photography all over again!

Two people with cameras

We hope this article has given you some tools and ideas to get inspired for your photography. At Park Cameras, we’re just as passionate about photography and offer one of the widest selections of digital cameras, lenses and more in the UK. Discover our range of countless photography offers today – don’t miss out!

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By Thom Pyle on 22/05/2024

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