Do you have a social media feed filled with beautiful children doing adorable things? Do you find yourself at a place in your photography journey wondering how to find inspiration? Does your creativity feel kind of zapped?
Maybe you have never had children. Perhaps you have children who are grown. Or maybe your kids are at the age where they don’t want to be your subject anymore. Wherever we are in life, many of us find ourselves answering “YES!” to these questions.
Like so many female photographers, I really began my photography journey with the birth of my own children. I felt the intense drive to capture memories that I didn’t want to forget.
However, as I began to enter new seasons of motherhood, I found that my inspirations and motivations changed just as quickly as my children. And I started to wonder where my place would be in the photography community. How would I keep taking pictures when I didn’t have newborns or toddlers to populate the frame?!
I am happy to tell you there is inspiration to be found everywhere. No matter your reason or season, you can find moments worth capturing. Use these tips to stay motivated and be inspired by all of the amazing subjects around you.
Start a project
Not having small children around to motivate me to pick-up my camera left me in a serious photography rut. I wouldn’t take photos for days. Sometimes weeks. And I desperately wanted to feel like taking pictures again!
If you are feeling the same way, I recommend starting your own personal project.
When I joined the Project 52 on the Clickin Moms forum, I found that having an assignment of sorts gave me some direction with my photography. No longer was I fully dependent on my own creativity, but now I could apply my creativity to the week’s prompt.
I found beauty in all kinds of unexpected places! Oftentimes, I would be inspired to shoot more as I focused on the week’s assignment.
Furthermore, being held accountable in my journey was a great way to stay motivated. Inspiration within a supportive community was exactly what I needed.
There is no shortage of projects that you could take on to ignite your own creativity. The Project 52 and 365 Project are great because they encourage regular shooting. They do require quite a bit of dedication, but they are a surefire way to keep shooting and grow.
Study other genres
When the kids aren’t what you want to photograph? Explore new genres! Chances are, you will be inspired and find something you love.
Some of my favorite artists have been ones who have inspired others by their style, not necessarily the subjects they have documented. Studying genres outside of those I shoot myself has opened my eyes to the artistic techniques to which I am drawn.
Look at how others find beauty in unexpected places. Focus on their technique and consider how you might want to photograph that subject yourself. What would you do differently? What elements would you want to retain?
A great benefit of studying different genres is that it flexes your critical skills. Being able to identify what you like in others’ art can help you apply those lessons to your own art no matter the genre.
And with those lessons, I want you to start experimenting behind the camera! Here are some of my favorite rut-busting genres that you should try:
Macro Photography is a genre that forces you to slow down. You have to be intentional with composition and angles and light.
Many describe their time shooting macro as ‘macro therapy’ and I couldn’t agree more. There is something about looking at your world in detail that requires a more mindful approach. Forcing yourself to be slower, to be more still, and to be an observer of the little things is a practice I cannot recommend enough.
The beautiful thing about macro photography is that it can be done anytime of year. We often think of springtime flowers and bugs as the most desirable subjects. However, some of my favorite macro images happen in a variety of season. Summer dew on the grass, fall leaves, snowflakes, and so much more can make for amazing macro images.
Even better, try creating macro images with everyday objects in your home. You will be amazed at how this new perspective can change how you view them!
Landscape photography is another genre that is fun to explore. I spent many years documenting my travels and wanted to include landscapes to show the beauty of the places I visited. However, I felt I was never able to really achieve in my images what I saw with my own eyes.
After investing in workshops and really practicing the art of landscape photography, I have found that it is not just for when I am traveling. Photographing landscapes can be something that we do in our own towns and even our own yards!
There really is something about just sitting and watching the sunrise and taking in the world in all its grandeur. But when you can capture that sunrise in the exact same way your eyes see it? I think that is even better!
If you are coming from a portrait photography background and want to dabble in landscape photography, I recommend you do a little research to ensure that you have what you need to be successful. Special lenses, a tripod, and filters are often among the gear that landscape artists have with them and you may find it helpful to have those things on hand.
More than anything, have fun playing with new techniques and let yourself be inspired by having to shoot in a new way.
Street photography is a fascinating genre. It has become a passion of mine as I have a deep love for traveling and exploring the world.
Street photography comes with some challenges, though. You have to be able to be able to work in ever-changing light and weather conditions. You must feel confident enough to pull out your camera in spaces that you might not have before. And you have to be willing to use your camera in front of an audience.
These things can be difficult at first. But I find the challenges to be where I grow the most as an artist.
Street photography requires you to be more observant. You must take in your surroundings and get creative in your compositions to make impactful images.
This genre also forces you to be more intentional with your gear. You likely can’t carry everything you own, so instead you have to choose one lens and one camera. This is a great practice as it forces you to be more versatile and potentially use that gear in new and exciting ways.
Food photography is pretty en vogue right now. Just do a quick scan through Instagram and you will see no shortage of people sharing their latest meals.
And when done well, food photography is a genre that will strengthen your photography skills. You have to consider color theory, composition, and light in a way to create a pleasing frame while also making the food look appetizing. And that can be a challenge!
Study the work of food photographers on social media, in your favorite cookbooks, and in magazine. Think about how they used tones, light, and composition to really make their images work.
This is a genre that allows you to slow down and really plan. Take advantage of that time to reconnect to your photography.
Document your life
Just because you might have disinterested tweens, busy teens, or maybe no children at all doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty of life to document. Your life is full of photo worthy moments.
Consider the parts of your day that really tell the story of you. Maybe it is your morning cup of coffee. Or perhaps it is a self portrait with studio lighting. I am here to tell you that YOU are incredibly inspiring and documenting your life can be all you need to stoke your creativity.
In documenting your own life in images you will be leaving a legacy with your own unique vision and voice.
Photography is such an amazing pursuit because there is no limit to what you can capture. Find the subjects that inspire you. Then train your camera at that and create art you love.