Rant, cry for help..Please advise..


TPF Noob!
Oct 31, 2007
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Hey everyone.. Bit of an issue here.. Anyone have any good advice on how to get past a creative rut. I'm not long into photography and I feel like I have hit my first plateau.. I've learned so much in the past month or two regarding photography and lately I have just been so BLA about what I've been producing. I feel like every photo I have been taking is so cliche and UN-creative. I will come out of a day with 50-100 photos and only a fraction of them seem to be even worth the time to edit, let alone post and add to my collection.

Any idea on how to pop out of a creative rut and get past it? It's just one frustrating picture after another.

Feel free to glance at what I have been doing and provide some insight.. Sometimes it just takes a different perspective..

try shooting something completely different. Something you normally wouldnt even bother with, keep focuses on that subject and find a way to make it work. that helped me alot with technique and provided a challenge when I didnt have any other ideas. make a challenge, try taking photos and dont use PP, try shooting in BW. There are plenty of things you can do to challenge yourself and improve.
or walk around with a drastically younger or older person than you and shoot ONLY what they tell you too. shoot in your own way, but only what they tell you too. could change something. btw, i like the photos in the link. i'm assuming they are yours, and they are nice.
I agree with the above poster. Some of those shots are really good. It also looks like you're surrounded by a lot of good subject material.

One thing I like to do for inspiration is to take my camera with me when I'm doing other things I really enjoy, but during which I wouldn't normally bring my good gear.

For example, let's say you and your friend like playing basketball. Play around a little bit and take some breaks to shoot some creative shots.

In my case, I like to scuba dive, and hike or mountain bike. Instead of taking my camera underwater, I might instead skip a dive and walk around on shore looking for people/things to shoot that I ordinarily would ignore. Or, when mountain biking, take a path I don't know yet and see what's there.

Another good way to do this is to shoot stuff that is provocative to most viewers (even if you don't share the images with others). Try shooting a graveyard, a homeless person you trust, boudoir photos, anything that will make you have to focus on something out of the ordinary and to which you or the viewer will have some intense visceral reaction. Ask if you can shoot pictures at a dog pound. Stuff like that engages you creatively and intellectually.

Good luck!
don't panic, this is just part of the creative cycle. This won't be the first time, nor the last.

sometimes we just have to let things "sit" with us without forcing the issue.

others have made some suggestions that may be helpful , give them a try .
The answer to get out is the same. Do something simple... there are thousands of ways to find things to photograph in different creative manners

Something rediculously simple... I turned on the TV and changed channels 5 times, watching each channel for 10-15 seconds. I found 5 great topics to photograph:

- I saw a commercial abut a coming MMA event local to me. I can photograph that.

- I saw pictures of horses. there is a horse jumping training camp not 30 miles from where I live, I could photograph that.

- I saw a commercial about the local gambling casino. The architecture of that building is very interesting... I could photograph that.

- I saw a progam about haunted buildings... there are tons of great places within a 60 minute walk in downtown Montreal that I could shoot about the mortality of man.

- The final channel was A&E, they had this show called Holmes on Homes... there is a place not 6 blocks from me where they are building new homes, I wonder how hard it would be to talk to the construction company into letting me into a couple of their houses thats far from completed to take a few photographs.

- #6, bonus topic... I saw a news article about the lack of snow in the mountains, what is stopping me from getting in the car, going for a drive this weekend to the Adirondaks and shooting some spectacular scenery?

Cripes, I just opened the cupboard for a cup of coffee and saw the really neat shadows and the way the light bounced off the cups, wow, I *could* shoot that too!

The answer is not *what* to shoot... it is what *NOT* to shoot! :D :mrgreen:
Wow, some really good ideas.. I appreciate all the suggestions, you've inspired me to chill out a minute and stop trying to force it. I think tomorrow I'm going to shoot entirely in black and white, and I'm going to shoot subjects that are so simple and meaningless that I'm forced to be creative with them..

Then the next day I'll give the channel changing idea its due shot.

And for those with the nice words about my photos, thanks! I really appreciate it..
hey DSLR_Noob, that thread has a lot of fantastic advice also.. If for no other reason than to show that it happens to most and a lot of the feelings I have are in common with others. Lots of great ideas and inspiring words too. Thanks for the link. How is your rut coming?
It got better after I started finding things to shoot that DID interest me. I went to a car show, then on Thanksgiving I was spending my time in a 5 million dollar home($5,346,000 home really) garsnished with beauty. I was stressing myself to have those AMAZING shots everywhere in my daily life, not being patient for actual exciting subjects. My pics still seem bad compared to others in most situations, but the evident fact that I am getting closer and closer to them makes me feel better, it shows that I continue to improve which was what started my rut in the first place.
The answer is not *what* to shoot... it is what *NOT* to shoot! :D :mrgreen:

I agree...
Try changing the settings on your camera and take pictures of things you have already photographed and try to make it look different or more interesting.
One thing that inspires me is looking at other people's work. There are some wonderful photographers on this board with awesome talent. Looking at their photographs makes me see things in a different way...
Good luck

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