Updated: 21 Mar 2022
One of my favourite all time quotes has to be – “Photography is a love affair with life” – from distinguished photographer Burk Uzzle. But what happens when the love affair ends?
Over several years, I have met many photographers who for various reasons that have lost their photography “mojo” due to a lack of inspiration, aspiration or other determining factors in their lives.
I wanted to address this issue and state that you are not alone. Many obstacles can be overcome and should not stand in the way of your passion and enjoyment for our fine art.
As with any creative art form, every artist will probably endure several “peaks and troughs” during their lifetime. The peaks are often great and we are on top of the world. Hundreds of “likes” on social media – Happy days!. The troughs however, well that is something completely different.
Photographers are no different and yes, all photographers are creative artists in their own right. Just a case of transferring a paint brush for your camera and equipment.
Sometimes the troughs for any photographer can be serious and may result in a complete loss of the photography “mojo”. A tragic outcome can ensue, when in an instant, a once enjoyable pastime ceases to exist on a temporary or permanent basis.
Periods of self doubt, lack of inspiration, change in personal circumstances and dare I say, boredom are common place amongst creatives, trust me.
At these times sometimes all we need is some inspiration and a fresh perspective and impetus.
Whilst leading many photography tours and workshops over the years, I come into contact with literally hundreds of photography enthusiasts each year. These enthusiasts all having differing levels of talent, experience, equipment, enthusiasm and the love for the “art of photography”.
However, I have long been surprised by the large numbers of enthusiasts who tell me that at some point in the past they have lost their passion and inspiration and their photography mojo had left them completely.
The reasons behind this have been many fold but all very understandable in there own rights.
Probably top of the list is family or work commitments. I have heard this so often. Naturally these are very important human factors and photography for many is often put on hold for a while or permanently.
Several enthusiasts have informed me that they lost their mojo completely and sold off their cameras and large amounts of expensive equipment, only to regret it later on.
A couple of years ago, I received the following testimonial from Emile G, an amateur guest photographer I came to known on one of my expeditions to Iceland.
He messaged me a testimonial after the event – “Will be booking again next year. Great tutor, great locations, fantastic group. Got my photography mojo back”
This testimonial was nice to receive and not necessarily for the kind words he sent me, but the fact that Emile had got his “mojo” back after a long hiatus away from photography.
A good photographer, Emile had fallen somewhat out of love with one of the major passions in his life – “photography”. He informed me that he had not picked up a camera for over three years.
Thankfully that transformed over a period of time, partly due to other factors determining his life.
When I messaged him recently, he informed me that he is out most weekends with his camera and enjoying the experiences this brings. He had his mojo back – I was so pleased for him.
Many enthusiasts have told me about frustrations with their images and how their improvement has seen minimal advancement. Don’t get disheartened, even the very best photographers get frustrated by their own silly mistakes and the imperfections with their images. We all look for perfection and never always find it.
Some photographers I have met have even told me about the frustrations of seeing “perfect images” plastered across the internet and the realisation they may never reach those standards. With research, then practice, practice and even more practice; each image taken will move you a step closer to reaching a near perfect image.
Many have told me that their is a frustration with their camera and equipment and they cannot afford todays prices for new photography gear.
“So, choose a small photographic project and set aside a small amount of time, if possible”
Okay, my advice has always been the same. Choose a small photographic project and set aside a small amount of time, if possible.
Try printing and framing your better images and show them on blank walls of your house. Give copies of your images to friends and family as gifts or consider making your own calendar. The list is endless.
Many people join non-competitive local camera clubs. This is a great way of speaking with like minded people and enthuse your love for photography.
Enter competitions. This is not for everyone but it does provide a positive focus.
Alternatively, try something photographically completely new. Step out of your comfort zone. If you have always taken landscape images, try some portraiture or street photography. Research and then try it.
“The person behind the camera lens is the most important factor and equipment is secondary”
Make the most of the camera and equipment you have available at the time. There was a reason you started photography in the first place, which was probably the same as mine, a passion for taking good images in great locations.
Always remember, the person behind the camera lens is the most important factor and the equipment is secondary.
So, don’t be disheartened at not being able to afford the best equipment on the market. You can make it work with the equipment that you have.
There are many hundreds of global photographers worth researching on YouTube, Vimeo and other social media platforms who you many wish to follow. Take time and search the internet for your personal online inspiration.
“We all have off days when it comes to photography”
Footballers have them, Golfers have them, Photographers definitely have them and often. A seriously bad day at the “office”. Remember, we all have off days when it comes to photography.
Nothing seems to go right. However, some of my better images have came from the unexpected. Being in the right place at the right time. So, patience and perseverance is often required.
Just carry on with your own photography and do not judge yourself against others. That’ s difficult I know, but focus more on improving your own images.
As such, my advice is to get re-inspired and go pick up your camera. Meet new people, visit good locations and don’t get disheartened if you are not happy with you images first time around. It will get better, I promise.
Thanks for your time,