get your groove back

by Jennifer Dell

get your groove back photo

Burnout. We all face it at some point in our life. In photography, it can ebb and flow until you don’t want to pick up your camera. Ever. I can only speak from experience, but I know that every December, after the craziness of fall, the last thing I want to do is take another picture. I struggle with this at other times during the year, but I think that the winter is by far the worst. Not only do I feel stagnant and uninspired, but the weather is typically gloomy which for means zero beautiful golden light and zero inspiration. This year, I decided I wasn’t going to
get in the burnout slump, so I set out from December on doing certain things to avoid it…. the results: so far it is working!

1. Read A Book

It doesn’t necessarily have to be photography related, it can be inspirational or even a fictional book that gets your imagination going. I read several books the last few months: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, The Artist Rule by Christine Valters Paintner and a fun novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. Each one of those books helped me in some way to either escape a little or to do a some soul searching. If you aren’t into books, maybe try a magazine. There are lots out there from Click to Kinfolk (both of which have fabulous eye candy to get those inspirational juices flowing).

get your groove back photo

2. Join In

Either online or in person. I love visiting Clickin Moms daily to check out what’s going on with all the photographers there. I also have a network of photographers locally that I love to meet up with and share ideas, stories or just chat about being the mom of two crazy kids. Having those relationships when you are feeling low about your work, can do wonders. I have a very close photographer friend that I can count on for this and having her friendship definitely gets me through the burnout stages much quicker. We meet for lunch and even plan projects together. Try it. Don’t be afraid to branch out and meet new people, you never know when someone you meet might inspire you to greater heights.

3. Start A Project

I have started several projects for this year. A 365, a monthly blog circle and a personal project that I’ve given myself. I may or may not share the work publicly from my project, but I have assigned myself specific themes that are things I need to improve on. I started a pinterest board with gorgeous art work and photographs and I chose 12 things that I loved about the work and I divided it up into monthly assignments. For example, I’ve been wanting to get more movement in my images, so one month I am going to work solely on showing movement through photos. I also want to be more of a rule breaker (this is the thing I struggle with most) so that is another month… You get the idea. By having a project you keep momentum and drive and it’s hard to break that, even when you feel uninspired.

get your groove back photo

4. Learn Something New

If you take the time to learn a new technique or to study a new concept you are going to push yourself and broaden your abilities. I absolutely loved reading Anne Wicks breakout session and found it to be incredibly inspirational and I loved getting inside her head for a moment. Maybe start with a simple concept that isn’t directly photography related, like color theory. There are so many concepts out there that can definitely help you to break the funk and be excited to apply your new findings to your work.

5. Keep a Journal

Write, draw, doodle, whatever. Just keep a notebook full of things that you want to do. Whether it be far off dreams that you want to accomplish or maybe just an idea for your next shoot. By writing or drawing it out, you are putting it out there officially and acknowledging your goals. Speaking of goals…

get your groove back photo

6. Set Goals

These don’t have to be strict goals. Maybe you want to be published one day. You will never do this if you don’t set the goal and put yourself out there. Do not be afraid of rejection. I face that on a daily basis as an artist and a business owner. Take it in stride and move on – meet your goals and once you do, you will feel this amazing sense of achievement that can only inspire you further.

7. Go Somewhere

Visit a museum, take your kids to the zoo, make a picnic or even take a short vacation. There are places out there that will inspire you, you just have to find them. I know that I feel the most inspired at the beach. It is my happy place and when I feel blah, I schedule time at the beach… both for myself and to shoot. I always come away feeling refreshed and ready to go. Also, every January I go to Imaging USA and this is always a great way to start off the year.

get your groove back photo

8. You Time

Take some time for yourself. Make it a practice to set aside time each day or week that you focus on yourself. Being a Mom, a business owner, a photographer, etc can take its toll and there is no better way to beat that than by getting some quality time with yourself. Maybe go to a coffee shop and read (see #1) or go see a movie, whatever it is, make sure it is something completely and totally selfish and makes YOU feel better. When you feel better/happier your work is sure to reflect that.

9. Inspiration boards

I have a board on Pinterest that is full of inspiration for shoots. From color palettes to textures and locations. I pin artwork, color swatches, feelings, quotes, clothing, you name it, if it inspires me, it gets pinned. If you aren’t into Pinterest you can still make an inspirational board on your own! In college we would just take poster boards and cut out photos, draw, create typography and more and then glue it all down together. Anything goes. You might find this exercise so rewarding that you do it quite often. By having a visual display of your findings you can more easily channel your creative thoughts and be more productive which leaves little time for burnout.

get your groove back photo

So the next time you are feeling like you are teetering on burnout, try some of the above tips. It is important to feel refreshed and renewed, both personally and in your work… take time to nourish your soul and you will see the results in your work as well!

get your groove back photo

get your groove back photoJennifer Dell, Texas
CMpro
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Armed with a Nikon D4 and an assortment of prime lenses, Jennifer enjoys photographing children and families in her own style, candid and full of natural expressions. Jennifer’s photography venture began in high school and was then encouraged in college as she pursued her graphic design degree. Other than photography Jennifer loves to read and finds cooking an elaborate meal relaxing. She also enjoys the show Friends, coffee, a nice bottle of wine, and spending time with her family including her husband and two children. While she enjoys her work very much, she adores the ocean and takes any chance she can to be near it. Jennifer is also the author of Illuminated: backlighting with vision.

Read more photography tutorials by Jennifer Dell.

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13 Responses to “get your groove back”

  1. Apr 04 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    Thanks for the great idea!!!!!

  2. Kathleen
    Apr 04 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    This is a GREAT post, Jennifer. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Apr 04 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    Jennifer,

    Thank you thank you for this post. I am feeling so uninspired right now and it’s making me sad. Our winter is lasting so long that what you wrote in the first paragraph – gloomy, no golden light, no color – it’s stifling me. This post was helpful and i’m hoping to find my inspiration again soon. So glad to know it’s not only me!

  4. Genesis
    Apr 04 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Thanks for the great ideas!

  5. Apr 04 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    Thanks! Hope it helps give me a little jump start!

  6. Apr 04 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    Great ideas! I needed this right now.

  7. Apr 05 2013 at 12:09 am #

    Great thoughts :)

  8. Apr 05 2013 at 6:14 am #

    Awesome pointers! Thank you :)

  9. kelly tonks
    Apr 05 2013 at 9:56 am #

    Thank you Jennifer, so nurturing ans needed <3

  10. Apr 05 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    Feeling more inspired already!

  11. Jessica Reischel
    Apr 05 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    Thank you Jennifer. I often wish I could spend an entire day in a cozy room on a large over stuff chair with books. One-day – Someday! ;-)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Dealing with Photographer’s Block - Apr 08 2013

    […] Get Your Groove Back […]

  2. Photography Rut | Sonia Seto Studios - May 29 2013

    […] This one I can relate to, especially the whole lack of inspiration during winter time!   http://www.clickinmoms.com/blog/9-tips-for-pulling-yourself-out-of-a-creative-rut-by-jennifer-dell/ […]

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