Creative photography may be the most demanding of them all—that is because unlike commercial photography, your boss is your creative imagination and the artistic marketplace.
Things change so often, only you know personally what is considered artistic one week to the next and what isn’t.
It isn’t just a poetic license that we are using when we talk about you following your creative muse when you use your photography as an expression of your art. You can look at a hundred settings and scenes and only you can know if any have the raw materials for a great artistic piece using your camera. It’s a huge drain on your emotional system and your creative side but it is also one of the most satisfying things you can do. And if you can make a living at it, so much the better.
But one of the problems any artist has is when that muse just won’t talk to you for a while. Never mind if you have orders in or deadlines that mean that you have to be creative on a schedule. She just won’t cooperate. So we need some tricks to get around these little dry spells and ways to can coax that muse back to work.
One trick is to use the normal highs and lows of your creative side. You know that when it comes to inspiration, its either feast or famine. Sometimes the creativity explodes like a volcano and you have to pick and choose only the best stuff to work on right away. Well when that flow is exploding, take some time and get some of that inspiration recorded. An inspiration journal either on paper or on tape can be used to capture it as fast as it comes out of that side of your soul.
Now, this is where you are outsmarting that muse. When the well dries up, that inspiration journal can carry you through. You can start plucking the ideas out of there and developing them. Don’t worry if you don’t “feel” creative. You can ride the momentum of your creative high to keep your work moving forward.
The other great thing about using your journal is often reading your inspiration from when things were popping in your imagination, that will prime the pump and get the fresh inspiration going again. Above all, don’t panic when you feel your creative engines grind to a halt. Sometimes a day or so of rest will turn things around. Or go and see some artwork done by others at the local museum. Seeing your fellow artists best work can do wonders to start the flow of ideas coming your way again.
Creative funks are as much a part of the process of creativity as the flow of ideas are. So give yourself permission to go through dry spells and don’t run yourself down about it. A trip into your archives to review your best work from the past is a great morale booster and it will help you remember that, yes, you are a creative person and, yes, you have done good work before and so, yes, you will do good work again.
The final trick is to give yourself permission to create some crap. In other words, don’t stifle the restarting of your creative mind by holding it to too high a standard of quality in every idea you get. You know from previous times of great creative flow that the good ideas come out with the bad. It doesn’t help to try to edit them as they flow. So by telling yourself, I am going to go make some bad art, that liberates your creative side to just be free to express as it wills. It could be that such a trick may be all it takes to unstop the pipe and get the creativity going again.
But it will flow again and you need to have the confidence that it will. And when it does the creative photography you start producing will be as good or better than anything you have done before.