Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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I am working on a year long photo a day project, and after about 8 months I'm beginning to lose motivation. How do you stay motivated and gain new inspiration to continue in long projects?

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Before I try to answer...what have you tried to do so far to keep yourself interested? –  jrista Jul 15 '10 at 23:14
    
You got this far. Don't give up. –  Dave Van den Eynde Jul 16 '10 at 10:55
    
I've tried to focus on certain subjects for a week or so and taken a few short trips. I've got a few other ideas, but I'd like to know how others handle this, because I'm sure I'm not the first to experience it. –  chills42 Jul 16 '10 at 12:31
    
Here's part of the answer: I've built a large photo site, Squinchpix.com, which now has nearly 19000 photos on it. I've been working on it for four years and many times I've absolutely convinced myself to quit. I never do. The reason: I always realize that I'm the one who benefits most from it. All work benefits. If nothing else, think how much better you've gotten at post-processing. Don't give up. Ever. Best of luck, Bob –  user9649 May 3 '12 at 18:08
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2 Answers 2

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Good question. Didn't we all at some point feel like all the money spent on the gear is going to waste as it's lying there catching rust. Some of my thoughts:

  • One thing that very easily gets me excited about taking pictures is a new piece of equipment. I wouldn't go as far as getting a new camera to reignite my interest (who am I kidding, I would if I could afford it) but anything that allows for experimenting with new kinds of photography or trying new techniques would definitely work for me. Grab a new filter or something like that and try squeezing the most out of it.

  • Another rather extreme example - kids, better yet - your own kids, better still - newborns. You are excited about having them and want to keep every moment of their new life for eternity. You have to be quick though, newborns very fast grow into toddlers and although giving just as many opportunities they become very hard, fast moving targets.

  • Travelling is another way to put yourself in front of new, exciting photo opportunities. It doesn't have to be a week long trip to tropical islands (although that would be nice) but a simple weekend away from the city should bring some motivation.

  • Unusual circumstances - get up before the sunrise and get some blue hour shots. Very rewarding!

  • Local events - car races, flower fair, horse riding competition. All full of photographic potential.

  • New exciting hobbies - do a scuba diving course and play with underwater photography.

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Let me take a contrarian view...

If you've lost motivation, perhaps your telling yourself something. Why did you start the project? What were the goals? Perhaps you've accomplished them and so the project is done but you haven't admitted it to yourself. Perhaps the project is serving no useful purpose and it's time to start some new project or set some new goal?

I admit I'm not a fan of the "photo a day" projects because it seems too often the goal is "to take a photo a day" and not a goal that actually leads anywhere -- and so at some point, it stops being fun and starts being a grind. My suggestion: if it's not fun and it isn't pushing your photography forward in some way, go ahead and stop. it's okay.

Think about WHY you're doing it. Think about WHY you started doing it. What will you accomplish by continuing it? If you don't have good answers to those questions, then maybe you shouldn't keep on doing it. Figure out what your next goal is, and then start a new project to help push you to accomplishing that goal.

Just because you started a project isn't a reason why you have to keep at it if your interests or goals have changed along the way. And if the goal is make yourself a better photographer, but the project isn't pushing you forward any more, then it'd be a waste of time to keep at it just because you started it.

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