Just keep shooting…just keep shooting. It’s the mantra I give myself every year about this time. The pretty glow from our Christmas lights is gone and the days are often dreary. Even when we get a little sun, my kids are gone at school all day and the light is already well into fading by the time they pile off the bus and through the front door. It’s easy to leave my camera sit for days or weeks at a time during this time of year.
Don’t do it. It’s a trap. The longer you go without shooting, the easier it is to continue leaving your camera sit, the more you’ll start doubting your skills, and the greater the chance that you’ll be missing moments when the light (and warmth where I live) returns.
To help prevent the winter photo slump this year, here are three ideas to keep you (and me) shooting.
1. Shoot what’s right in front of you
Are your kids all grown up or at school most of the usable daylight hours? Shoot what’s in front of you.
I grabbed this vase of flowers from my table and moved it until I liked how the light (on a dreary day) fell on it. My goal was to capture the highlights on the edges of the flowers without blowing them out because that’s something I’m working on right now. Do I wish I’d taken the time to move the kids’ school papers and the placemat out of the frame? Yep. I do. Could I pick out a hundred other things that I wish were better about this shot? Again, yes. Is it going on my wall? Certainly not. But I got my camera out and used it AND in the process of getting it ready for this post I stumbled across an old Lightroom preset I hadn’t used in awhile and really liked the effect it had. Double win in my book.
There are lots of things you can work on without trying to create a masterpiece. Maybe work on experimenting with aperture or nailing focus. You don’t have to keep the pictures or even do anything with them if you don’t want to. Just taking the pictures will help keep you in the habit of picking up your camera.
Shoot your morning coffee or tea and see if you can position it to capture the steam rising from it. Try to shoot an everyday object in a way that brings new beauty to it. Heck, shoot the mess in your kitchen. See if you can make the composition interesting by using the rule of thirds to put the focus on a certain part of the mess. No, I’m not joking. Whatever you do – keep shooting.
2. Get inspired
Instagram is a fantastic place to find photography inspiration. There are so many talented people sharing their work. If macro is your jam, @macro_moms has some great stuff. We’d love it if you followed @shultzphotoschool for some fantastic family images. It goes without saying that @natgeo has some amazing work if landscape is more your scene.
If you’re a subscriber to our Members program or a Photo Fix user, you don’t need to look any further than our Facebook groups to be inspired. We have got some CRAZY talent in our ranks and just scrolling through the feed is guaranteed to have you wanting to pick up your own camera. If you’ve been absent for a little while or a long time, now is the PERFECT time to come back!
Remember to let the work of others inspire you to pick up your own camera and sharpen your skills, not discourage you or feed into an “I’m not good enough” mentality. That’s an even bigger trap than not shooting at all!
Getting good and inspired leads to….
3. Learn something new
I don’t know about you, but learning something new is a surefire way to ignite a spark for me. Learning to better use window light (shameless plug for an upcoming blog post) would be a great skill to hone this time of year, but there’s always something new to learn with photography. Maybe you need to brush up on the exposure triangle. Work on creating better composition, sharpening your phone camera skills, getting a better perspective, or better posing in our free Tiny Photo Course for Parents. If learning some new editing skills might inspire you to shoot something new, try Phlearn. Do whatever spurs you to pick up that camera.