Some Days are not Photo Taking Days


(untitled) by D. Travis North

You pretty much know within the first few minutes of your morning – today is not going to be a photo taking day.  Maybe you woke up with a headache.  Maybe you’re lacking energy.  Maybe your son, who just turned four yesterday, is up early – ready and excited (and hyper) to play with his new toys, as if it were Christmas morning.  Whatever the reason, the motivation just isn’t there.  Your mind is not geared towards creative thinking, and no matter how hard you try, you cannot convince yourself that you’ll make a great shot this day.

Accept it.  It’s a part of life.  It’s a part of being a photographer.

If you’re not obligated to take any shots during the day, don’t force yourself.  But don’t forget about photography either.  On days such as this, I find that it’s still good to stay in touch somehow.  There are plenty of ways I can take advantage of the mood.  Here are just a few options:

  • Edit Down – We all have a bunch of shots sitting in our digital in-box – photos that may have been on your hard drive for months, maybe even years.  Since you’re in a poor mood, this may be a good time to get rid of some of those that don’t have potential.  Grumpy moods are good for this…you’ll be able to be more objective about your work (and delete weaker shots) without much care.
  • Browse the Web – We’re spoiled in this day and age where a lot of great photographic examples and inspiration are within a few key-presses.  Browse the web for new inspiration, new photographers, whatever.  It will help you tomorrow, when your son might decide to sleep in.
  • Clean – clean your equipment, clean out your photo bag.  Take the receipts for the coffee you bought at the Starbucks on the way to your last shooting destination.  It’s been a week, you’re probably not going to return that coffee.  It’s cluttering your bag, and it smells like stale coffee beans.  Get rid of it.
  • Criticize Your Work – Be the grumpy critic that doesn’t like anything and find at least one thing wrong with your recent completed photos.  Not only will it be a dose of humility, but it serves to generate a list of things to improve when you pick the camera up.
  • Shop – Assuming you have some dispensable income, it might not hurt to browse your favorite camera store (physical or online) to see if there are any fun gadgets that you can acquire.  If that isn’t going to inspire you to shoot, then you should go back to bed.  If you don’t have any money, it doesn’t hurt to dream (and make a wishlist).
  • Read Shutter Photo – Alright, I deserve a slap on the wrist for that shameless plug.  But we have hundreds of articles here about technique and inspiration.  I’m sure you missed a few.  Go back and read a few of our older articles – you might be inspired.  If we’re missing something, tell us what you’d like to see.  We’ll also gladly accept articles to fill in the gaps as well.  Just contact us if interested.

About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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