10 Ways To Help Break Photographer’s Block

As a writer, I understand writers block very well. When you sit down and start at the computer, wondering what your first sentence should be, nothing can be more frustrating.

The same can happen with photography. What do you do when your facing a new portrait session, and you can’t think of a single thing new to do with your client?

Let’s look at 10 ways to help you break photographer’s block.

1. Just shoot.
Instead of sitting around waiting for an idea to hit you, spend the next 30 minutes shooting. Shoot at least 30 images in that 30 minutes, and look for things around you that can build into the photograph.

Digital Photography image source Noel Zia Lee

2. Start surfing.
Head over to Flickr and browse through other images. With millions of photographs online, you’re sure to find something that sparks your interest. Use that as your model for shooting.

3. Head out to play.
Take a friend, family member, or child out to play and start shooting. Follow them around and capture them from different angels. Shoot in

4. Shoot with a theme.
We talk about themes quite a bit here on Virtual. Check out our Photography Motion or The Color Red. Choose one thing around you, and spend 30 minutes only photographing that one item. It helps open up your mind to what’s around you.

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image source Anirudh Koul

5. Look back through your old work.
Who is your favorite client? What one shoot completely inspired you? We can all think back to one event or one client that we loved. The day was perfect, the client was perfect, and everything just clicked. Spend some time revisiting that client’s images, and put yourself back in that frame of mind.

6. Gain a mentor.
There are some amazing photographers online. Head out and find their blogs, and sign up for their RSS feeds. Then spend some time reviewing their latest shoots. Read their stories and be inspired. NOTE: Mentors don’t have to own a bigger company, have more power, or even be in the same field as you. Mentors simply have the ability to inspire you.

7. Take the day off.
Even the greats have an off day now and then. Take the day off and go and play. Take in a movie. Head to the zoo. Check out the latest exhibit at your local museum. Do something creative without your camera along, and you’ll soon be wishing it was within reach.

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image source makani5

8. Learn something new.
There are dozens of ways to learn a new skill. Take a class online. Sign up for one at your local free university or non-credit classroom. Check out your mentors and find out when they will be training. Join associations and watch for their next session.

9. Jump out of your comfort zone.
Always photography children? Why not head to the beach to photography landscapes. Choose something completely outside of your normal photo shoot, and look for new inspiration.

10. Volunteer.
Know any great photographers in your area? Give them a call and see if you can play assistant at their next photo shoot. Watch the way they shoot and how they interact with their clients. Reciprocate the offer down the road.

3 thoughts on “10 Ways To Help Break Photographer’s Block”

  1. I find this very interesting! I have often believed that seeing how many images you can make in ‘your own backyard’ could become an interesting photographic study. A section could be roped off (4-6′ square) and then use IT as the subject for photographs in different seasons, times of day, weather, etc. This would force one to ‘see’ in different ways and to follow that sight with a photo that was different from the last–over and over again! How could one be ‘blocked’ in this scenario?

    I have started doing this with a much larger canvas…the road I walk daily. I find new things to photograph each day.

  2. With so many things to photograph sometimes there is too much and it’s difficult to know where to start. I get inspiration from other people’s work. I surf and mutter to myself “I can do that!”. I’ll take an image I like and try to emulate it. No matter how hard I try though I can never keep my own creativity out of the mix. What started out as an emulation morphs into something totally original and has me all over it. Okay. It might not be as glamorous as original thought, but the product rocks. With all the tangents possible, you’ll be surprised how original you can be.

  3. ….. if i am able to do all those things which has suggested….. then how can it be photographer’s block…. I am just run out of inspiration….


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