A joy and passion for photography.
Having the motivation, inspiration and creativity to enjoy photography.
(Not yet an official word... rejected by Collins dictionary but I love it!)
Is this your camera? Sitting alone and gathering dust on a shelf? Or is it ages since you've used your smartphone camera for anything other than quick snapshots?
Are you experiencing any of these symptoms?
- Bored with not having anything new or different to photograph?
- A feeling of not making any progress especially when you look at other people's photographs?
- Life just gets in the way and you're too busy to give photography any quality time?
- Frustrated with getting to grips with a new camera or phone?
My professional diagnosis is that you've lost your phojo.
But don't lose heart, I have lots of treatments for your symptoms and can get you back in the saddle / behind the lens in no time at all!
Here are 7 ways to rediscover your phojo and reignite your passion for photography:
1. Have a change of scenery
Go to a new place or explore different subjects, or perhaps try new techniques.
It's normal to get bored of photographing the same old things and failing to find any inspiration in your normal daily routine. An afternoon trip in nearby North Wales was just the lift I needed, plus the challenge of using Pano (panoramic) Mode to capture a beautiful and different landscape.
If your schedule doesn't allow you to visit somewhere new quite yet, then try a different genre, like abstract photography or low light.
2. It's more fun with friends
Go out with a small group of friends or join a photowalk. You'll give each other confidence, inspiration, you can share tips and advice. And unlike when you're out with family no one is going to mind how many times you stop to take a photo!
3. Get feedback and critique from someone you trust
This could be a friend, or perhaps a mentor who is more experienced than you. Any feedback should be objective, constructive, specific and encouraging. The right support can really help you to improve and gain confidence. It can be hard to be open to critique and, of course, you may not always agree with the comments. It's also important to listen to your gut instinct. Are you proud of the image? Then that's enough. Remember, you are your own first audience.
4. Use inspirational resources
Where do I start...?! If you love photography you will probably love spending time looking at great images, whether that's on social media, in magazines and books (physical and online). You'll notice beautiful compositions in films and documentaries. Find people who inspire you on YouTube, listen to podcasts. One size does not fit all - find what excites you. My current favourite books are in this image: 'Little Stories of my Life' by Laura Pashby and 'The Heart of the Photograph' by David duChemin.
5. Book some lessons or a workshop
(With me, obviously!) Learn new skills, try out different genres, get to grips with new equipment, or find out what's stopping you progressing and get help making a plan and setting some goals. And, of course, I know there are workshops and events offering different things than me and I love to see my students broadening their horizons and returning to share their learning with the Love Your Lens Facebook group.
In addition to being a great photographer and excellent teacher, it's Jane the person that is a massive draw. She is supportive, patient and funny and manages to connect to people on their level. After a few sessions, not only will you realise you have found a great photography teacher, but a friend too.
6. Set yourself a project
I can't recommend this highly enough. Without a goal you have no purpose, no reason to pick up your camera and no sense of achievement. I've seen people make enormous progress this way, including myself. It doesn't matter how big or how small - from a photograph a day for a year or photographing a day in your life. Perhaps you have a hobby (or someone you know does) and you can tell the story of their passion in photographs? The secret is to pick something you are really interested in. And set a time limit and an outcome. Perhaps a shared online album or a calendar? The world is your lobster as they say, with so many ideas and options available. If you're stuck for ideas just search online.
7. Be your own number one fan!
I've saved the best till last. Photograph first and foremost for yourself. DO NOT under any circumstances compare yourself to other people, but only to you last week, last month or last year. Comparison is the thief of joy and of phojo. I would have given up years ago if I only measured my skills against those of other people.
Celebrate your achievements. Mastered a new camera setting, taken a photo that fills you with pride? Own it! Print it, share it, admire it. And don't let people tell you that you've taken a great image because you have a good phone or camera. You spotted a great image, amazing light or whatever, you framed the shot, chose the setting and pressed the shutter. A camera cannot do that. Just like a great oven can't be credited with baking a delicious cake.
Be kind to yourself. We cannot be creative and brilliant every day. I know I'm not. If I'm having an off day I put my camera down and do something else. Remember that you should be enjoying what you're doing, not swearing and beating yourself up!
If this post has re-ignited your spark then please let me know and share it with anyone who has misplaced their phojo!