The Genesis Connection
A Newsletter for Through the Lens Photography Club
September 2013 Edition
This Month's Meeting: September 10th at 7:00 PM Gateway Church of the Nazarene
It is my hope that, with the arrival of fall, people's schedules settle down somewhat and we'll begin to see some long-lost faces at club again. If you know of someone who hasn't joined us for a while or someone who has never joined us, encourage them to clear a spot for us on their calendars.
It's a Good Thing We're Flexible!
Photographer of the Month
Ideas to Inspire You
Lens Lessons: Photography Tips & Tricks
5 Creative Ways to Beat Photographer's Block
I’m sure this is hardly the first article you’ve read on this topic, but it’s worth revisiting from time to time because, at some point, we all suffer the frustration and anxiety associated with getting stuck in a creative rut. Photographer’s block is frustrating, in large part, because you want to create but can’t seem to find the motivation or inspiration; it’s anxiety inducing because you can’t figure out how to get your spark back and, perhaps, you may even be fearful of how long you’ll have to do without it.
The good news is that this state of being is temporary; you’ll break through eventually. But you can’t wallow in your grief. It’s up to you to take the appropriate steps to get your creativity back in full swing. The following recommendations are not inherently difficult; in fact, they’re quite easy to achieve. But when you’re experiencing creative doldrums, everything just seems a bit more daunting than it normally would. Give yourself a chance, though; put forth the effort necessary to regain your footing. You owe it to yourself as a creative type.
- Relocate. No, I don’t mean pack up your home and move. Simply find a new place to shoot. If familiarity is capable of breeding contempt, it also stands to reason that it can breed boredom. If you tend to do the bulk of your photography in the same location, change things up and go somewhere new. Regardless of what specific genre of photography you engage in most, a change of scenery will be a welcome boost of confidence and inspiration.
- Just Do It. There are some who subscribe to the theory that you should do nothing when inspiration escapes you; just let it return to you when it will. This may work for some people and in certain situations, but there are times when you need to be proactive and aggressive in your effort to win back all those good feelings you used to have about doing photography. You’re going to have to just pick up your camera and shoot. Something. Anything. Don’t worry about your percentage of “keepers” or whether the subject is book worthy. Don’t waste time trying to think of the perfect thing to shoot. Go wherever your eyes take you. They might lead you to some pretty cool people, places, and things.
- Narrow Things Down. Putting limitations on yourself may sound counterintuitive and, as it would follow, counterproductive. But narrowing prospective subject matter may be exactly what you need. Instead of wringing your hands over what to shoot — or not knowing what to shoot — simply give yourself the very simple task of shooting one very specific thing. Pick a color or a shape or a facial expression and shoot only those subjects that meet your selected specification.
- Experiment. I’d be willing to bet that somewhere in the hyper-creative recesses of your mind you’ve been keeping a brilliant photography idea that you’ve always wanted to try, but never had the time or courage to see it through. Well, now’s your chance; you can’t seem to make anything else work, so you’ve got nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain. Even if your bright idea turns out to be less amazing than you had hoped, just going through the process should be enough to try it again or try something new. Either way, you’ll be shooting again.
- Break Your Mold. Most photographers typically specialize in one or two types of photography. There’s good reason for this, but sometimes you need to get away from what you know so well and try something new. Challenge yourself. If you shoot primarily landscapes, find someone to do a portrait session with. If you’re always shooting portraits, go out and do some insect macros. Do you always use flash in your work? Try some natural light photography. The point is to expand your skill set and give yourself new things to look at. Newfound inspiration should be just around the corner.
Creative blocks of any kind are no fun, to say the least, but they are a fact of life. They in no way reflect any sort of weakness in your individual creativity; everyone goes through this. What really counts, though, is how you respond to and overcome these creative lulls. Some might argue that following a list of recommendations is just more of the same, just going through the motions. But if those motions can help get you back to where you want to be creatively, then why not give it a shot?
The Go-To Source
This month's "Go-To Source" is slightly different than the previous sites I have shared with you because of its layout and purpose, but it is still a valuable go-to source. This resource is aptly named Digital Photo Secrets for all of the tips and secrets shared on the site. David Peterson (not to be confused with Bryan Peterson), has created a digital photography secrets video course that you can purchase, so you are likely to see advertisements promoting his course, but the other information on the site makes the advertisement a minor annoyance. He is pretty protective of his information (see the disclaimer at the bottom of his page), which strikes a negative cord with me, but I guess if I made my living by selling photography secrets, I'd be protective of them too. Nevertheless, I like what he has to say so much that I've even signed up for his weekly mailings and look forward to reading the tips and secrets he shares. Give this go-to source a try and let me know what you think.
Mark Your Calendars
September 21st is Living HIstory Farms Photographer Day! Enjoy a day of photography workshops in Iowa’s largest outdoor classroom! Take a lens for a “test drive” from the Canon and Tamron representatives. Photography experts will be on hand to offer classes and will be out in the field to help you perfect your photography technique. Amateurs as well as professionals are encouraged to attend. Sponsored by Christian Photo, all workshops are included with admission price to Living History Farms. A group of us went last year, and I not only thoroughly enjoyed it, but I learned a lot about portrait photography, macro photography, and shooting with flash. If you are interested in attending this event, please contact me ASAP. For more information, click on the blue Living History Farms link above. (thanks, Kim, for finding and sharing this information!)