It happens to the best of us. Somedays you're inspired and you shoot almost everyday. Other days, you don't pick up your camera at all. And if you've been a photographer for any length of time, chances are you've experienced this from time to time. What I've found is that a slump can happen for any number of reasons, from not making time for personal projects that you love and doesn't pay to experiencing way too many rejections. No matter why you fall into a slump, these three tips can help you get back on the photography horse and jump start your photography mojo again.
1. Recognize That You Are A Slump
Sometimes it takes touching your camera, sitting alone at your kitchen table for you to say, "You know what, I'm in a slump." To navigate through that, figure out if you want to take a few classes, organize your props, or take your camera outside and just start clicking the shutter. Whatever you decide, it's ok, just do something. Any creative will tell you that you have a seasons of change; seasons of learning, seasons of calm, and seasons of work. Figure out which one you're in and accept that.
2. Strengthen the Work You Already Have
When I start sliding into a slump, I will start going through my old photos and re-edit them. It starts out much less emotional than when I first take the photo and then it turns into this desire to learn to edit and edit and edit some more. It's important to look at your work through a critical eye and not always your creative/artistic eye. This is where a slump can help you the most. As much as I hate feeling like my work is junk, I've found that the slump is a useful time to critique my own portfolio more objectively, the way an outsider would. I always find that after a slump, I find new and amazing clients to shoot.
3. Learn and Get Inspired
Take your list of weaknesses and start searching for ways to learn to fill the gap. For me, it's lessons on Creative Live, YouTube, and books. I take class after class and fill my weekends with ingesting as much knowledge as possible. I take notes and more importantly, I take my education seriously. After arming myself with knowledge, I find things that inspire me. This year for me it was maternity shoots. I don't know why, but I really loved learning how to position expecting mommies and their growing bellies and make those shoots beautiful.
Does this plan work for everyone? Absolutely not, but I do know that once you admit you're in a slump, the steps you take to work through it will empower you to create stronger, more powerful work.