Shooting photos by the lake

For creative types, we sometimes hit a wall. We don’t pick up our cameras and we stop making photos or videos, not because we’re not interested, but because we just don’t feel the same level of enthusiasm. This happens to all of us and we call it The Wall.

In this article, I want to share with you some thoughts around getting over the wall or, as I call it in my programs, getting unstuck. About a year ago, I conducted a seminar on this and I thought that readers might be interested. Let’s look at some releases that are proven to work. Release your creativity with some of these proven-to-work ideas:

The Museum Release

Go to an art museum, not just for photos or films, but to look at sculptures or paintings. Look to discover the artist’s intent and to find the story contained in the art.   Artwork that pleases you can be inspirational and can encourage you to get out and be creative again.

Black and White Release

Set your camera to shoot JPEG Monochrome. This works even better if your camera has an EVF that shows you the scene in black and white. Shooting black and white negates the power of colour entirely, encouraging you to look only at tones and contrast. By looking differently, you may gain perspectives hidden from you, and open new doors.

The Old Masters Release

This is one of my personal favourites. When I get stuck, I really enjoy looking at images created back in the days of black and white film and no automation. Your local library is a great place for this as they will likely have old style art and photo books. You can certainly look on the internet, but the feeling isn’t the same. Look into the work of Alfred Eisenstadt (my personal inspiration), Paul Strand, Alfred Steiglitz, Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, Man Ray, and Edward Weston, amongst others you will discover.

The Conservation Release

Film constrained us. Digital does not. Film was rather expensive all things considered and we learned to control our expenditures by considering the cost of each shutter press. Digital is awesome in that we can take thousands of images but it can encourage sloppiness and a lack of seeing.   Set yourself a shooting window of no more than two hours. Set yourself a frame count of 24. You can shoot whatever you want, but no more than 24 images and in no more and not much less than two hours. It’s about 5 minutes per constructed image, not really a lot of time if you are working on seeing. Constraint inspires creativity.

The Ten at Hand Release

Find ten items in your home that you can hold in your hand. Make ten images, each image with your hand in the frame interacting with the subject. It may sound a bit silly, but this is an incredibly demanding act of creativity that will surprise you with its effectiveness.

The Social Disconnect Release

For lots of creatives, social media is a big part of the day. But we can become inundated with a stream of bad images of people’s lunches and selfies that no one actually wants to look at. Challenge yourself to disconnect from social media completely for a set period of time, no less than three days and for as long as you can do so. By limiting the flow of junk into your brain, you may discover that you spend more time thinking about your own creative goals and worrying less about stuff that really doesn’t matter in the long run.Shooting photos by the lake

These are just a few suggestions to help you rediscover your inspiration. As you try them, you will find that some work better for you than others do. We all get stuck. It’s not a creative failure, it’s a part of becoming increasingly creative. We have to push, to pull, to strain and not give up. Great imagery is never an accident.

Thanks for reading, and until next time, peace.

Ross Chevalier

Ross has been a photographer for over four decades and is a professional photographer, videographer and imaging educator.


Ross Chevalier

Ross has been a photographer for over four decades. He has worked as an apprentice, been a professional photographer and a photographic educator. He is an amateur videographer and offers mentoring programs.