How much time do you spend creating for yourself? If you are running a photography business, my guess is the answer is not much or not as much as you’d like. Even as a hobby photographer, are you able to get out and photograph as much as you’d like? Probably not. Jobs, families and other commitments all take over.

Not creating effects us in more ways than we know

As a business owner and someone who writes and mentors others on photography, I feel like I’m not always practicing what I preach. If you’re teaching you should also always be learning and growing yourself so you are able to pass along information to your students.

On a personal level, not getting out and creating makes me feel like I’m not growing in my own work. Yes, I can go back through the endless archives and learn new editing skills which is part of the creative process, but for some of us, it’s the actual getting out and creating images that feeds our souls.

tree top with balloon
Playing with editing can stretch our creativity.

What can we do to get back to creating on a regular basis?

Carry your camera with you every single day

By doing this you are forced to be aware that it’s there, sitting on your passenger seat in your car, in your bag … it’s kind of hard to ignore. You hear it, it calls out to you. Pick it up and go take photos. Why did you carry your camera with you if you’re not going to use it?

It also makes it much easier and more convenient when you happen to see something interesting. You already have your camera so you can just grab it and go take photos. You don’t have to create a masterpiece or portfolio image every time you photograph something, just the act of shooting gets the creative juices flowing.

Join a local photography club

This is a relatively easy way to keep yourself motivated and inspired to get out with your camera. Photography clubs generally have regular meetings with speakers and/or photo contests to enter. They also have events from time to time to get together and go out to take photos. It’s always good to meet and hang around with fellow photographers.

long exposure bridge photographers
Out with fellow photographers for some long exposure photography.

Make the time

Put an appointment in your calendar, block off a morning, afternoon or lunch hour just for shooting. Treat your photography as you would any other appointment — no cancellations without a fee. That fee is your creativity.

Sometimes this seems difficult to do with all the other obligations in our lives. Sit down with your family if you need to and let them know that every Sunday morning you’ll be out for an hour or two. Whatever you can make work with the schedules you already have. You will feel better just for getting out with your camera.

Give yourself a project or find one to join online

There are any number of communities or groups online that will give you a theme or an assignment to shoot for every day, week or month. There are themed groups as well. Self-portrait, nature, car and many other groups that can help you not have to think of something to photograph all the time. Having deadlines within these groups will create a sense of urgency and ‘make’ you pick up your camera. Once you start, it’s easier to keep going.

ironing board shadow
Part of an alphabet project — the letter X.

Play!

Can’t get out or go to your favorite local spot? Set up space in your home where you can experiment and play. Use this space to work on your portrait photography with your kids.

Set up to shoot macro images or grab your kids’ toys and create little scenes to shoot. Take time to play with kids toys and let your imagination go. The possibilities are endless! Get back to thinking and being like a kid and play.

adults with legos

What picking up your camera on a regular basis will do for you

I can almost guarantee that if you get back to creating you’ll feel better, more relaxed and happier with yourself. Just the act of getting outside and wandering around exploring is enough to lift spirits.

Taking photographs along the way helps us focus on the beauty in the world, get out from in front of the daily barrage of news which never seems to be good. Take a break from the monotony of daily chores and work. Be creative! Creating and honoring that child within is never a bad thing.