Staying Inspired During Dark Winter Months

Jan 19, 2021
How to stay inspired as a photographer

Winter can be uninspiring, especially this year, when many of us are under health protocols that keep us from gathering and engaging in our usual activities. Beyond that, though, days seem to fly by due to the short hours of daylight with little light left once the daily routine has been attended to. It's also chilly and outdoor adventures can be a lot of effort. Often, and this is certainly true for me, we find ourselves picking up our camera less and less. Here are a few tips on how you can stay inspired until spring arrives and new blooms rejuvenate your inspiration. 

1. Keep your camera close

Moments pop up every day that are beautiful and worthy of capturing, but it's easy to miss them when our cameras are not accessible. What's that quote? "Out of sight, out of mind." Purposefully keep your camera in a room where there is a lot of activity with typical indoor settings already dialled in. If your goal is to capture the beautiful everyday moments of your life, then photography should be enjoyable, not an exhaustive effort. You only need three or four shutter clicks to capture that beautiful everyday moment. While your little eats her fruit and cheese at the lunch table, stand on a chair and capture those little fingers from above. Keeping your camera close to your daily activities will make the activity of capturing an image easier. Making photography easy and accessible will keep you feeling inspired to notice and then photograph your beautiful everyday moments. 

ISO 800, 35mm, f2.8, 1/320 SS

2. Schedule a photoshoot

Most of us live by our calendars. Appointments are scheduled, and we attend. Activities are slotted in, and we prioritize them. Scheduling a photoshoot is a fantastic way to help you stay inspired during the winter months. I recommend you schedule something easy to execute that won't take longer than ten to fifteen minutes. All you need is one image. Think about what is important to your little one at this point in his or her life. Maybe it's colouring a fairy princess picture. Perhaps it's imagination games like dino stomp. Or maybe it is learning the recorder for music class at school. Find a little space in your home where you can set up the activity and capture a few heartfelt images. Then plan for tomorrow and do it all over again.

ISO 200, 105mm, f3.2, 1/800SS

3. Browse for inspiration

When I'm feeling uninspired, I like to turn to places like Instagram and Pinterest. There is an incredible amount of talent within the photography community, and I love being inspired by this talent. When I see an image that resonates with me, I save it inside of Instagram or add it to an inspiration board on Pinterest. One great thing about these save boards is that I can create them even when I'm not stuck in a rut so that when I need a dose of inspiration, I can head over to my saved boards and feed myself a good dose of inspiration.   

ISO 100, 35mm, f3.2, 1/800SS

4. Create an opportunity to be inspired 

Feeling inspired feeds motivation. Find what you need to feel inspired. That could be renting or purchasing a new lens you've been saving up for. It could be as easy as experimenting with dappled light, low light or another type of light you've wanted to explore and learn to use better. It could even be using mirrors in your photography, which is something popular right now. Like inspiration boards, I think it's a great idea to write down ideas for images when you are inspired. You can come back to these cues during the winter months or in times when you don't feel inspired. It's amazing how once you pick up your camera and make an effort to be creative, you feel inspired. So be sure to allow yourself the opportunity to be creative.  

ISO 64, 35mm, f4.5, 1/5 sec

Keep in mind that photography is a journey. There are ups and downs in this journey, and this is to be expected. Some days and even some weeks, you're not going to feel inspired. Permit yourself during these times to take a break if that's what you need. Creatives don't always need to be creating. Sometimes rejuvenating and taking a break is part of the creative process and what you need is to refuel your creative energy to get back to producing.