To thrive as photographers and artists, we need both inspiration and motivation. But what’s the difference, and how do we keep our creative flame alive?
Inspiration: Finding novel ideas from other artists, or from life in general.
Motivation: Having the desire to make stuff, and actually making stuff.
In American English, we use the two terms interchangeably. But realize that they’re both different (but both essential).
How to find more inspiration
For myself, I find inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. I find inspiration when I see children exploring the world, letting their child-like naivete lead them.
I find inspiration by going to photography/art museums, exhibitions, and inspiration from nature. I find inspiration studying the work of other master photographers (see MASTERS MOBILE EDITION), and also other master artists like Picasso, Matisse, and Monet.
I also think a lot of photographers can find inspiration from cinema and film. I have got a ton of inspiration from the films by Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli films like Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, and pretty much all the films). There is a child-like sense of wonder in these films, as well as all the Pixar films. When I feel a bit jaded in life, or need some inspiration, watching these “child” films are great for my creativity.
How to find more motivation to make more photos
In photography, practical things which have given me more motivation:
- Seek to teach others your photography technique: Shooting with a GoPro Fusion on top of my new Lumix G9 Pro has given me more motivation to shoot! I feel more purposeful to shoot (and teach at the same time), rather than just shoot. To me this is a double-bonus: I make more photos for myself (which brings me more joy/happiness in life), and I also teach/empower/inspire/motivate other photographers.
- Walk more: The best way to find more motivation is to walk a lot– walk more, and you will see more photo opportunities! I also recommend picking up a good camera strap (like the HENRI NECK STRAP, ERIC KIM NECK STRAP, or HENRI WRIST STRAP — see all products on Amazon or our HAPTIC SHOP). I like to wear my camera on me like a bracelet or necklace— when you have your camera always on you and ready, you will shoot more! And the more you shoot, the happier you will be.
- Experiment more in photography: Don’t keep shooting the same way for the rest of your life. Experiment! Shoot film, shoot with your phone, start new photography projects, or experiment with a new focal length (24mm, 28mm, 35mm).
- Think about shooting until you die: I think true happiness in life is making new stuff. New photos, new artistic projects, and to innovate new processes/techniques/approaches. Therefore, don’t think of your photography as a social-media rat race of getting more likes and followers. Instead, think of being selfish to yourself as a photographer– to make photos for yourself that bring you joy, in order to find inspiration to make photos until the day you die!
- Delete Instagram: Honestly, this is the best thing I’ve done for my motivation in photography– less worries about uploading photos to please others on Instagram, and more focus on shooting for myself, and also investing in my own platform (this blog). This has helped me innovate more and have more fun– sharing more photos that are silly and not “serious”, and also finding more motivation to share BOTH photography and video (see my new youtube videos). To be honest, if you want to innovate more in your photography, I recommend you to start your own YouTube channel (learn more in my new course, “Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Photography Entrepreneurship“.
Related articles on motivation and photography:
- 11 Tips to Shoot More
- 3 secrets that have re-sparked my passion for photography
- 7 Tips to Shoot More Photos
Here are some new YouTube videos hopefully which will spark some new ideas in you and your photographic approach!
NEVER STOP SHOOTING!