As a photographer you sometimes feel that you are completely out of ideas. You feel lost. Like you have lost your edge and talent. Especially those days when you have planned in advance to shoot with a friend, and – when you get to the location you almost get an anxiety attack, feeling like you are the worst photographer ever. You have no idea what to shoot. Let me tell you one thing: Take a deep breath, believe in yourself, because you still got it. It’s all in your head.
My tip is debatable. Some photographers says it’s the wrong way to go about it, and that it limits your potential. Well, if you feel that way, it’s okay. It’s still works great for me.
So, first stop whining. Then take your camera bag and empty it. If you got a smaller bag – take that instead. Your are allowed to pack ONE camera body, ONE prime lens, extra battery and memory cards of course. That’s it. No more. Not even a flash. If you have one built in, your not allowed to use it. It may sound a bit harsh, but remember, this is first aid. The LCHF of photography. You are on a diet.
Then when it comes to settings and exposure, set everything to manual, maybe not white balance, but everything else. Manual exposure, manual focus. Maybe this sounds completely terrifying, but then let it. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Your meters in your camera still works and will tell you if you done something wrong.
I can almost sense your reactions now. That I’ve lost my mind and got completely bonkers. How could this tip possibly help you? The thing is, this will force you to be creative. To use your mind above your tool. The camera will be what it always should be. Just a tool to get the image of your imagination. Instead of a zoom lens you will have to zoom with your feet. You will put the focus in places in the picture that you like, and you are not forced to certain patterns of focus points. You will become more creative with your exposure since the camera always tend to put it somewhere in between. You will be forced to create. Think of all the old masterpieces. The are all made manually.
Will this help you get better images? Yes. Why? Because you will put more time and effort into every picture.
When you realize that you still got it (after a day or two), go back to shooting with all of your equipment, but remember the feeling and the effort you put into every picture and now use that. Always.
The picture above is taken with my D800 with a manual 50mm prime lens from the 70’s. Completely manual with no extra light.