Exposed! :: Stumped - Camera's Creative Blocks ::

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It's tough - "burnout." Too busy. Not enough fun downtime. If all you want to do is sleep or aimlessly surf the web it sounds like you have a case of creative block or lack of camera spontaneity. Getting stumped is bad news for photography!

In this month's Exposed! we explore the causes and remedies for photo burnout.


It's no fun. There are many reasons for a creative collapse:

  1. Too many stresses
    Has work got you working far too much? Is a young family keeping you up all night? Is your bank account overdrawn at the end of every month?

    A mind that is working overtime will leave little room for creative adventures.

  2. Overdoing it
    Have you just discovered photography and now spend every available minute reading, breathing and shooting photography?

    Moderation. Too much can be a bad thing.

  3. Deadlines or Pressure
    Are looming deadlines sapping your creativity?!

    Performance anxiety can definitely curb your photo performance!

  4. Trying too hard
    Do you feel you should be better than you are? Do you have the type of personality that makes you work harder - and not smarter - if you do not succeed?

    Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.

Photo of a tree stump
Feeling stumped?


In a previous Exposed! I talked about a very specific form of burnout - "Territorial Artistic Myopia." In that newsletter we discussed the signs and symptoms of burnout:

That's sad. There is help. Really. Each suggestion below relates to different causes of burnout. Read on and act accordingly!


Pro Perspective

I generally get very busy in the spring and fall. It is critical for my clients that I take some 'time off' and blow off some steam. For me, that means xc skiing, telemark skiing, pond hockey, paddling, cycling and running - without a camera! I just attended a Telemark Festival and someone asked, excitedly, "Where's your camera?" My response - "My job today is to ski!"

That's important! When I anticipate a long work week it is good for me to book some fun time and ensure some good, full night sleeps!

I can also get stumped by a deadline - The photo at the top needed to be shot for the Stumped newsletter in short order! I had not left enough time and quickly got stumped. Stepping back and letting ideas percolate for 24 hours was all I needed to get the reasonable shot (taken from 10 feet off the ground). Below are other attempts that were not quite right (L) or terrible (R).

Photo of a tree stump Photo of a tree stump


Take stock of yourself. And then look at the remedies or relief. Take affirmative action! Before you find yourself glass-eyed in front of your computer take steps to keep your camera creativity climbing to new levels.

Final Frame

Stay motivated. Look for challenges. Allow yourself some guilt free time off from the camera. If you do, your photos will continue to sparkle!

Take photos. Have fun.