It happens to even the best, most prolific artists sooner or later – the infamous rut. If you’ve experienced it before, you know the feeling well. You start feeling like every shot you produce looks the same. You certainly can’t remember the last time you had a completely new idea that had you running for your camera and feverishly dashing off to capture a few frames.
What happened to the days when you had so many ideas you couldn’t have explored them all if you’d wanted to? Well, they’re not necessarily over and done with. All you really need to do is find a way to spark your creativity and you’ll be surprised as how quickly the ideas come flooding back.
- Take a Break
When you’re an artist of any kind, you’re constantly told that you need to keep at it even when you don’t feel like it. Honestly speaking, that’s a good way to start seeing your art as more of a chore than anything else.
If the ideas just aren’t flowing when it comes to photography right now, try taking a break from it for the moment and feeding your muse something new for a change. During that break, explore some other forms of creativity. Go to a concert. Read some poetry. Grab a sketch pad instead of your camera the next time you want to hit the beach. It won’t be long before you have some new ideas for photographs.
- Take a Trip Down Memory Lane
Try browsing through some of your own work sometime, particularly your older work. As you look over the shots you took as a beginner, consider how you would shoot the same scene differently today. Reflect on how far you’ve come and on how much you’ve learned. You just might find yourself itching to revisit some of those concepts with a fresh eye. Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back when you stumble across something that really nails what you were going for!
You may also want to try revisiting some of the images that made you interested in becoming a landscape photographer in the first place. Dig up some collections from your personal photography idols. Visit a museum that has a photography retrospective on display. Thumb through the latest copy of National Geographic or Travel and Leisure and check out what other photographers are shooting these days.
- Break Out of Your Comfort Zone
There’s certainly more than one way to approach landscape photography. If you’ve been at it a long time, then you’ve most certainly developed a personal style that works for you and produces the results you prefer. That’s exactly why trying something new in this arena is such an excellent way to break out of a rut. Remember… there was once a day when photography in and of itself was new to you in exactly this way.
Do you live by the ocean and shoot seascapes most of the time? Try treating yourself to a weekend in the mountains and shooting there instead. Do you exclusively shoot nature-based scenes? Try a cityscape. Always shoot in color? Give black and white a try. You get the gist. Step out a little and you might be surprised at how inspired you begin to feel.