11 Ideas to Find Photography Inspiration Again

7 min read

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inspiration for photographers.

Photography inspiration is an important part of our lives, but is it really everything? Many photographers rely on it to be productive. Others claim that it doesn’t need to be present all the time. In any case, losing inspiration can be unpleasant and discouraging.

If you’re missing that creative flow of ideas, maybe you need a simple routine change. Here are a few tips that have helped many photographers thrive regardless of their circumstances.

Reasons Your Photography Inspiration Might Be Missing

Before you start looking for inspiration, figure out why it’s missing. The reason might be simpler than you think! By making a few changes to your routine, you can reclaim your artistic side and start taking photos that you’re proud of.

1. Your Expectations Are Too High

photographer floating in air.

Make a list of your short-term goals. Try to look at them objectively. There might be too many. You might be expecting too much from yourself when you shouldn’t be. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, but try to be realistic as well.

The more pressure you put on yourself to be a professional photographer, the less photography inspiration you’ll have. You have to give yourself time to make mistakes and to grow as an artist. If you’re aiming too high, take a deep breath and start over. Make as many changes to your list as you like. Start with one or two goals to keep yourself challenged but motivated.

2. You’re Comparing Yourself to Other Photographers

photographer learning new techniques by capturing images in cave.

This is closely related to the previous point. Your expectations might be high because you’re comparing yourself to other photographers. If this is the case, remember that everyone is on their own unique path. People tend to share their highlights only. You don’t know how many obstacles someone else has had to face before achieving their goals.

If you can’t help but compare yourself to others, take time off social media. A short break can help you develop your unique photography style. Take this time to focus on photography projects and figure out what you really want as an artist. It’s very likely that you’ll end up with a lot of photography inspiration at the end of your break.

3. You Have a Busy Life Outside of Photography

setting up outdoor studio for photography inspiration.

You might not be a full-time photographer. Your career might be completely unrelated to photography, or you might be a busy student. A busy personal life can hinder your progress as a photographer. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome that.

To deal with her busy schedule, fine art photographer Alexandra Benetel turned her Saturdays into photoshoot days. No matter how busy her week is, she’ll spend at least one-day taking photos for fun. This is a good long-term solution that can add consistency to your life.

4. You Started a Project That’s Too Big

photography inspiration reference of woman with horse.

There are many photography projects out there. A couple of our most popular ones are:

Projects like this require a lot of time and attention. If you don’t have a guide or a mentor, you might find it difficult to complete them. Many photographers have quit their 365 projects because they didn’t give them enough photography inspiration. Oftentimes, the issue was a lack of planning and unrealistic expectations.

If you want to start a project, start small. Promise yourself that you’ll take a photo once every two weeks, for example. This will get rid of any unnecessary pressure.

365 Project

Ideas on How to Get Your Photography Inspiration Back

Once you’re aware of what is blocking you from getting inspiration, you can make changes to your routine. Even a small change in your everyday life can lead to more creative ideas. Here are a few ways you can find photography inspiration without pressuring yourself.

5. Acknowledge That You Don’t Need to Be Creative All the Time

relaxing photo of woman floating in a pool.

Inspiration comes and goes. If you constantly worry about it, you probably won’t feel inspired at all. Acknowledge that you don’t need to be inspired every second of every day.

If you don’t feel like taking photos, don’t force yourself to pick up your camera. The more respect your feelings, the easier it will be to get over a creative block.

If you want to take photos but don’t know where to start without inspiration, come up with a routine. Start a small photography project. Take photos regularly. You’re very likely to find inspiring ideas along the way.

6. Pay Attention to Other Interests in Your Life

It’s impossible to focus on only one thing in your life without burning out. Give yourself time to breathe and enjoy other interests in your life. Do you have any hobbies that bring you joy? Focus on all your hobbies as much as you focus on photography.

close-up of someone colouring a pattern on a book.

If you don’t have any active interests, think of what you used to love doing as a child. Did you gravitate toward any specific hobbies? Drawing, painting, writing, or coloring books can give you the inspiration you need.

7. Forget About Other People’s Opinions

inspiring conceptual shot of woman lying next to two lemons in front of a blue background

Oftentimes, we worry so much about other people’s criticism that we cease to take photos altogether. Sometimes it’s not the opinions that get in the way but our fear of being criticised. This is something that even professional photographers struggle with sometimes, so don’t beat yourself up because of it.

To combat this feeling, spend a little less time on social media. Don’t read negative comments (even if they’re directed toward other people). Take photos for yourself and not for anyone else. Forget about aesthetics, followers, and likes. What do you want to photograph?

8. Try a Different and Inspiring Photography Genre

inspiring close up photo of colourful bird sitting on branch.

You can also experiment with different techniques. Try using a different aperture. This will determine how sharp or blurred your backgrounds look. A background that’s very blurred can make your subject stand out more. This is helpful in genres like wildlife and portrait photography.

We all need a break from our routines sometimes. Give yourself something new to look forward to. This can be as simple as learning about a different photography genre. If you love photographing animals, try taking photos of landscapes. Tired of digital photography? Buy an affordable analog camera and take film photos instead.

You can also experiment within your own genre. For example, if you take photos of people, get into self portrait photography. If you take photos of animals, get into pet photography.

Experimenting in your own genre can challenge and excite you. You’ll still have that familiarity, but you’ll also be able to challenge yourself a little. At the end of the day, you might realise that a photography challenge is exactly what you need to get your photography inspiration back.

9. Borrow or Rent Camera Equipment

image of analogue Nikon camera resting on hand in front of white wall.

Don’t be afraid of borrowing film camera equipment, even if you’re not familiar with the genre. It can help you become a more patient and creative photographer.

Experimenting with new camera equipment is always fun. It’s an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and improve your photography style.

If you have photographer friends with cameras that are different from yours, borrow them! The camera doesn’t have to be as advanced as yours. The point is for you to do something you’re not used to. This is likely to refresh your creativity in many ways.

If you want something fancier, rent professional camera equipment. Renting is significantly cheaper than investing. If you’re on a budget, this is your next best option.

10. Join a Supportive Community of Photographers for Inspiration

travel photographer taking photos of for inspiration.

The right photography community can lift you up in so many ways. These groups, whether online or offline, can:

  • Encourage you to leave your comfort zone and try new things
  • Support you in times of need
  • Challenge you with innovative photography ideas
  • Be a constant source of photography inspiration

Join a local photography club or an online photography group. Attend photography meetings and make sure to surround yourself with different kinds of photographers. The more artists you can lean on, the safer you’ll feel. This will inevitably give you more opportunities to get creative.

11. Take Care of Yourself in Your Personal Life

taking a break is a great way to find inspiration.

If you don’t want to take a break from photography, take photos of your everyday life. Snapshots can remind you of why you started taking photos in the first place. Plus, they’re a great way to capture memories that would otherwise be forgotten.

If you constantly feel tired, you’re not going to find inspiration anywhere. Make sure you take care of yourself every single day. Don’t exhaust yourself. Take days off. Spend time with your loved ones to recharge. This might seem like a given, but it’s something many people forget to do because of their busy lives.

When you start taking care of yourself, you’ll see results immediately. You’re likely to feel less tired, which is likely to lead to more inspiration. You might feel happier, less stressed, and more creative. The ideas might just start flowing, and it will all be thanks to a little self-care.

Closing Thoughts on Getting Inspired

If you’re running out of photography inspiration, don’t worry. A few simple changes in your life can make a big difference. Make sure to take time off, appreciate your unique style, and surround yourself with positive individuals.

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Taya Iv is a portrait photographer, 500px ambassador, and host of Great Big Photography World podcast.
Taya Iv is a portrait photographer, 500px ambassador, and host of Great Big Photography World podcast.

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  1. I’m glad that you mentioned that inspiration comes and goes. If you constantly worry about it, you probably won’t feel inspired at all. This is something to tell my son, who is very interested in photography. It is a unique kind of artform. I will surely share this post to have an idea of where to start in architectural photography.

  2. I love the bit about joining a photography community. If I find myself in a creative slump I will often go shooting with someone else. More often than not the other photographers will find a cool shot and instantly reignite my imagination.

    Great article, well written and organized πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you for the kind comment, Perrin! I’m happy to know that you also find a lot of inspiration in communities. πŸ™‚

  3. First of all the #7 reason with the lemons, I think that a great photo, sometimes life gives you lemons. I do see myself lately with some of the reasons listed and have been working on them. The 52-week course pushes me to get out there to keep growing but reminds me not to forget my other interest. Nice article Taya.

    1. Very happy to know that you found this article useful, Stephen! Thank you for the kind words and for forming such an interesting connection between the photo of the lemons and the article content. πŸ™‚ I always need to remind myself to have a healthy balance when it comes to photography and my other interests.

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