If you’ve ever had ‘photographer’s block’, and felt creatively frustrated, and have no inspiration or will to shoot — I hope this advice can help you.
Re-inspire your photography this year
Some life lessons from photography
Okay, so I have been making photos for over a decade — from age 16 to age 29 (now). I remember when I started photography; I had no problem finding ‘inspiration’ to shoot. Everything was interesting. I remember the first month I had my little Canon SD 600 point and shoot camera, and I shot about 1,000 photos a day — of anything, and everything.
But as time advanced, and I started to try to become a more ‘serious’ and ‘pro’ photographer, I started to lose that child-like and beginner’s mind. I started to obsess too much about gear– I got suckered into the whole ‘full frame’ trap and thought I “needed” full-frame, and these expensive Canon L lenses to make good photos. And of course, as I got more and more into street photography, I started to get suckered into thinking I needed a digital Leica to feel more ‘confident’ and find more ‘inspiration’.
Over the last decade, I’ve shot pretty much anything and everything. I’ve shot with pretty much all the cameras out there, and all the formats. 35mm film, medium-format film, DSLR photography, APS-C point and shoot cameras, digital Leica, mirrorless Fujifilm, phone photography, and even digital medium format photography.
I’ve also experimented with many different genres of photography — from landscape photography, to portrait photography, to wedding photography, to macro/nature photography, to architecture photography, to street photography, to abstract photography, to personal photography, to documentary photography, to selfie photography — and what did I learn?
The best type of photography is EVERYDAY PHOTOGRAPHY.
What is everyday photography?
To me, everyday photography is just photos you can shoot on an everyday level. EVERYDAY photography is not a genre of photography; it is a non-genre. EVERYDAY photography is anti-genre, and anti-dogma.
In everyday photography, you can shoot anything and everything.
You can shoot selfies of yourself and your family members, you can shoot street photography, you can photograph your food, you can photograph abstract textures and details.
The best part — it isn’t serious; it is playful and fun. You always retain that child-like beginner’s mind, where you are just shooting with pure joy, with no restrictions, and no internal conflict or inner-critic. You just see interesting things, and respond by clicking. You are like playing with visual building blocks on the streets, or in your home.
You only shoot what brings a smile to your face.
I’ve been thinking lately– I genuinely believe that photography is therapy. Photography is a way for us to self-express ourselves, photography is a way for us to walk more (good for our mental/physical health), and photography is a good way for us to find joy in the beauty of the ordinary, mundane, everyday things.
I think true happiness is finding joy in the common, everyday things. To find joy in that cup of coffee in the morning, the nice brisk walk around the block, the lunch with your co-workers, the joy of reading a book on your commute back home, or the joy of having a 3-hour dinner with friends, family, and loved ones. The joy of making photos, and looking at your photos.
The wisdom in simplicity
Life doesn’t need to be so complicated. In-fact, it is the true masters of wisdom who are able to simplify, and find joy in their (ordinary) lives. They can be like the philosopher Democritus, who was known as the ‘laughing philosopher.’ As for myself, I think true wisdom is joy in a child-like sense of wonder, experimentation, and play.
Heraclitus once said the life of man is a child just building sandcastles by the beach, with the shores coming in and out. So is our lives– no matter what we build, no matter how much wealth we accumulate — no matter how much fame, honor, or power we acquire, it will all eventually wash back into the ocean; the eternal waves of time.
The meaning of photography and life
So what is the meaning of life and photography?
To make art that brings joy to your life, and to share that joy with others.
So friend, this year– and always, find joy in everyday photography.
- Shoot your kids, your friends, your family.
- Shoot your commute to and from work.
- Shoot your trips to the grocery store
- Shoot street photography or urban landscapes when you’re walking around your block, or taking a break from work.
- Shoot selfies of yourself, and don’t take it too seriously.
Above all, always shoot with a smile, and grateful heart.
Inspirational free PDF visualizations
Also see more: FREE Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Street Photography >
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Photography 101
- Street Photography 101
- Photography Composition
- Learn From the Masters
- Photography Entrepreneurship 101
- STREET PHOTOGRAPHY 103
- STREET NOTES: Mobile Edition / Kindle Edition on Amazon
- PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERCLASS
- PHOTOGRAPHY ENTREPRENEURSHIP MANUAL by ERIC KIM
- STREET PHOTOGRAPHY MANUAL by ERIC KIM
- THE PHOTOGRAPHER by ERIC KIM
- The Photography Manual
- The Art of Street Photography
- 100 Lessons From the Masters of Street Photography
- The Art of Photography
- Zen Photography
- Photography by Eric Kim
- Street Photography by Eric Kim
- Personal Photography Manual
- Street Photography Contact Sheets Volume II
- Street Photography Contact Sheets Volume I
- Street Photography Composition Manual
- Street Portrait Manual
- How to Shoot Street Photography
- Street Photography 101
- Street Photography 102
- Color Manual
- Monochrome Manual
- 31 Days to Overcome Your Fear in Street Photography
- Letters From a Street Photographer
- Street Photography Aphorisms, Heuristics, and Sayings
- Learn From the MASTERS of Photography: Edition I
- Eternal Return to CREATIVE EVERY DAY
- Street Notes
- Photo Journal
- Film Notes
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