tips to inspire your photography when you’re in a rut

the dreaded photography rut.  we have all been there.  sometimes it is just hard to get inspiration, and that is okay!  what’s not okay is letting that photography rut get the best of you.  instead of setting your camera down and giving into that darn rut, take it as an opportunity to get inspired.  today i am going to share some tips that you can use to bump up your creativity and dig yourself out of that photography rut!  i will give you ideas of what to do the moment you start to feel uninspired!

>>this post contains affiliate links.  thank you in advance for supporting {beth} a-dilly photography!<<

browse photography books for inspiration    i have come across some amazing photography books along my photography journey that have inspired me in countless ways.  there have been many days that i have been uninspired to photograph and, instead of giving up, i have gone over to my bookshelf and flipped through some inspiration.  i love a photography book that inspires me to either photograph a certain item, from a different angle, in a certain location, or to challenge me to even photograph a specific emotion or mood.  now, i am sure you are going to ask me what books i love!  well, of course i will share!  get your notepad and pencil out and write down these books!  you are definitely going to want these books on your bookshelf, if they are not already!

inspire by clickin moms

the unforgettable photograph by george lange

a beautiful mess by elsie larson

the design aglow posing guide for family portrait photography by lena hyde

your family in pictures by me ra koh

the design aglow posing guide for wedding photography by lena hyde  {it should be noted that i am not a wedding photographer, but this book also focuses on engagement photography and it is fantastic!  i learned so many wonderful and helpful tips about engagement photography that have been immensely helpful during my engagement sessions!}

photographing families: tips for capturing timeless images by michele celentano

i also have a few photography books on my wish list that i really want!  {hint, hint, handsome hubby!}  and they are…

this modern romance: the artistry, technique, and business of engagement photography by stephanie williams

your child in pictures: the parents’ guide to photography your toddler and child from age one to ten by me ra koh

your baby in pictures: the new parents’ guide to photographing your baby’s first year by me ra koh

portrait photography: from snapshots to great shots by erik valind

try photographing from a variety of angles     this is my favorite thing to do when i am in a photography rut.  trying different angles is a quick and easy way to get a little inspiration.  in the photo above, i got down to eye level with my adorable subject and took the photo as my camera was sitting towards the end of the bed.  not only does it make the audience feel like they are right in the room looking at this sleeping puppy, but photographing from lower angles is also a great way to play with leading lines.  in this case, the leading lines of the bedding are leading the eye to the subject, which is the puppy.

other angles to try would be photographing your subject from above or from the side.  if you are photographing something other than a person, try photographing from below.  {trust me.  photographing a person from below is so unflattering.}  the point is, switch it up and try photographing from different points of view.  a great way to do this is to take a subject, like a coffee mug, set it on a table and practice shooting from above, from down low, from the side, up close, and far away.  you will be amazing how something as little as an angle can really change the feel of the subject that is being photographed.  it’s a different perspective.

pack up your camera and go somewhere.     sometimes i feel like i have photographed everything in my house.  and it’s probably because i have.  there is nothing that puts me more into a photography rut than feeling like i don’t have anything to photograph.  when i feel this way, i pack up my camera and get out of the house.  it doesn’t have to be somewhere extravagant and it doesn’t have to cost you any money.  sometimes going somewhere means just taking a walk, going to the store, heading to the park, or driving down the road.  there is so much inspiration outdoors and in new places.  in the photo above, i was simply downtown shopping when i came across this huge arrow.  i loved everything about it and took out my camera!

if you are feeling like your top excuse for being uninspired with photography is not knowing what to photograph, you should join me in >>the bethadilly challenge<< where i prove daily prompts to inspire your photography.  once you take your photo that inspires the prompt, post it to instagram with the hashtag #thebethadillychallenge so we can all see your lovely work!

try photographing what intimidates you     for me, that’s nature photography in general.  i am so intimidated by it!  but because i don’t do a lot of nature photography, i tend to try it more when i am uninspired because, well, i would rather spend my time being challenged by something than putting my camera away.  if there is something that challenges you with photography, whether it be a subject or a camera setting, practice it!  take that moment of feeling uninspired and learn something new or practice a skill.  in the photo above, i combined my intimidation for photography with a challenge to try shooting from a different angle to perfect this photo.  and, i kinda love it!  it’s fun to see what you can create if you simply try something new!

ideas of different types of photography could be photographing people, photographing in low light, photography emotion, photography still life, photographing pets, or photographing motion.  the possibilities are endless.

try new lenses and camera accessories     sometimes putting a different lens on your camera can simply boost creativity and inspiration, all at once.  different lenses have different perspectives, making creativity endless.  and if you like taking pictures with your phone, the olloclip is the best photography accessory there is!  if you don’t want to spend money on a new lens, try switching up the modes on your camera and play around with the different features.  your camera can do so many things, so let it show itself off!  plus, you might just learn something about your camera that you hadn’t known before!

while we are talking about lenses, one of the most frequently asked questions i receive asks what my favorite lens is.  without a doubt, my favorite lens is my sigma 50mm f1.4.  i love everything about this lens and, from the first moment i put it on my camera, i was completely in love.  to be really honest, i don’t ever take it off my camera.  as photographer that professionally photographs families and also personally photographs my everyday, this lens is perfect.  the low aperture is beautiful and the smooth bokeh that i can create with this lens has me swooning!  and if you really want to boost your creativity, a lensbaby is the way to do it!  my lensbaby composer pro sweet 35 is so much fun and can help create photos that you can’t help but stare at.  definitely check out these lenses if you are lens shopping!

join a photography forum     joining a photography forum can really boost your creativity and your inspiration, as you become surrounded by so many people who have the same passion as you!  whether you are posting photos to be critiqued, browsing tutorials on how to grow your skill or getting business advice, forums are a great place to be.  the photography forum that i recommend to everyone is clickin moms!  it is an amazing community that is very inspirational!  go ahead and join!

and there you have it!  next time you are feeling a little uninspired, try one of these tips!  don’t give into that photography rut and don’t set your camera down.  keep going!  if i am being honestly, some of my best work has been created during times of being uninspired because i encouraged myself to photograph something differently or tried something new.

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  • Suzie Evans Horton - Wonderful article, beth a-dilly photography! This is exactly what I needed to read this morning. THANK YOU! And, yes, I am excitedly participating in #thebethadillychallenge! (iamshuttergirl) I’ve been only using my Samsung Galaxy. I’m going to get outside today and use my Canon. Beautiful scenes everywhere after a big snowfall. Funny… I took a picture of my OLD pedicure today… Reminds me of your photo above! Thank you again. You are such an inspiration. Have a wonderful, creative day. XOReplyCancel

  • Whitney Bilodeau - So much inspirational goodness here! And I have to say the beth-a-dilly-challenge has been incredibly inspiring! What an amazing community of photographers you’ve brought together and here we’re only on day seven! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Christine Graham-Gentemann - Thank you Thank you……..I’m always in need of some inspiration and you definitely provided that. I am participating in my first photo challenge (#thebethadillychallenge) and it’s exciting!!ReplyCancel

  • Samantha Marchello - This was just what I needed! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Amy Lewis Avery - absolutely drooling on this list – torn between treating myself to Portrait Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots, The Design Aglow Posing Guide for Family Portrait Photography, and a beautiful mess!ReplyCancel

  • Michaela Chaconas Ristaino - Hi Beth! Thanks for the great post! I am loving participating in the Bethadilly challenge and so enjoying all your lensbaby shots 🙂 Have you ever played around with the “spark” – I am interested in purchasing a lensbaby, and I’m wondering if this might be a good place to start to see if I enjoy using it, or if I should just bite the bullet and dive right into the sweet 50 or sweet 35. Have a wonderful day, friend!ReplyCancel

  • Misty Dawn - I have “Your Baby In Pictures” by Me Ra Koh. I LOVE it! Planning on getting “Your Child in Pictures” too. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Alina Thomas - Hey Beth, I was just wondering what app you use when you post your images on instagram. The only “no crop” apps I found add a black border around my images. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • how i use music to inspire my photography » beth a-dilly - […] to read more about what things inspires me, be sure you check out my post “tips to inspire your photography when you’re in a rut.” […]ReplyCancel

  • you ask, i answer. volume 2. » beth a-dilly - […] it is only on the days when you need a little motivation.  i have also written a blog post about how you can find inspiration when you are in a photography rut, so hopefully that helps inspire you!  you can do it!  and you will be so happy that you chose to […]ReplyCancel