Monday, November 16, 2009

Instructor's Tip: Get Motivated

Photo by Russ Burden
I hope you enjoy this week's "Instructor's Tip" by one of my favorite instructors, award winning nature photographer Russ Burden. To learn more about how Russ captured the above image, join him on one of his photo tours. Visit Russ Burden Photography to get more information.

Get Motivated
Every photographer I know has experienced a period when, at one time or another, hits the wall and needs to create distance between themselves and the camera. Call it a lull, rejuvenation period, or simply time off, it’s necessary to maintain creativity. These periods of down time are normal and should be taken in stride. But what happens if these lulls of a few days evolve into a week or even longer. Then it becomes an issue. If this happens to you, try some of the following techniques to get re-motivated.

Join A Camera Club: Camera clubs are organized by photographers for photographers. Depending on the club, meetings are held once, twice or even three times a month. Their purpose is to promote photography through competitions among the members, hold instructional shows on different aspects of photography, and run organized field trips to photogenic locations in and around the area of the club. If you’re not familiar with the concept and you’d like to check one out, search the internet for “photography clubs” in your area.

Give Yourself an Assignment: A sure fire way to get yourself revved up is to develop a photo theme in which you’re interested. It may be one you’ve already started but want to expand on or it may be something completely new and different. Pick a topic that won’t require long drives so you don’t use the drive as an excuse to not pick up the camera. It can be broad based like macro photography or more specific like parts of a car, architectural details, motion, etc. Create a schedule you can adhere to but not too rigorous to become a burden. Try something new such as portraiture, flowers, still life, etc.

Snap Away: Buy a digital point and shoot and go for short walks around the neighborhood. Take pictures of everything you encounter but try to add a new twist to the images. Try unique angles, experiment with flash, get in close, lay down on the ground, use slow shutter speeds to convey motion, etc. When you get back home, download the images. You may find a shot that really clicks.

Vacation Time: Nothing gets the creative juices flowing more than going on a photo tour. I’d love to have you join me. Plan your 2010 trip now.

If none of the above get you going, here are a number of other ideas that may peak your interest.
a) Take one of the classes I teach for the Digital Photo Academy. If you’re not in Denver, the classes are offered in 20 cities around the country.
b) Take a photography course at a local college in your area. If there are none, look to see what your local camera store may offer with regards to instruction.
c) Devote time to playing with Photoshop and try a new technique.
d) Buy a photography instructional book and try some of the techniques explained in it.
e) Plan to shoot the same location during all the seasons showing how it changes.
f) Enter a photo contest. If you win, it will motivate you to shoot more.
g) Shoot everything as an abstract. It will force you to look at the ordinary in unordinary ways.

Take a class with Russ or a fellow Digital Photo Academy instructor in your area, check out the Digital Photo Academy. I took Russ' intermediate and advanced courses last year, and he continues to be a strong source of knowledge and encouragement as I progress in my photography.

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