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How to Avoid Burnout and Rekindle Your Passion for Photography

Photo by Ali Hohn Photography

Recognition and financial stability are every creator's priorities. A Ritz Herald write-up showed that nearly 60% of artists have full-time or part-time employment outside of their art practice. For photographers, there’s an evident difficulty in striking a balance between personal endeavors and professional projects. When the line between those two blurs, it can cause creative stagnation and burnout.

In this article, we hope to help you avoid the negativity intrinsic to burnout. At the same time, we’ll offer insightful tips that can once again rekindle your passion for photography.

What burnout can mean for photographers

Photographers aren’t strangers to the anxiety of creating art. And when you take pictures frequently, it can most certainly lead to burnout. Burnouts result from emotional exhaustion or a lack of control and autonomy on the job. Once the feeling manifests, there’s a tendency to disengage with— or even undervalue— your own art. To impede its effects, you’ll need to understand why burnout has become pervasive. Occupational demands often come with perceived expectations. As a photographer, it isn’t atypical to conform in ways you’re expected to (like catering to your employer's instructions or posting regularly on social media).

When it comes to social media, Nina Harren has highlighted risks of frustration and envy that have unfortunately become common because of today’s digital landscape. Creativity can rarely— if at all— be measured by physical indicators. However, social media has quickened the pace of art production. Thousands of photographers on Instagram seemingly post pictures every day, and as such, you may attempt to multiply your own output. Harren explained that this is magnified by the desire to live up to the ideal presentation of those who share your profession.

When you struggle between producing art for an audience and creating art for your sake, burnout can become an inevitable outcome.

How to rekindle your passion for photography

No matter how daunting burnout may seem, there are definitely ways to prevent it. Below, we’ve listed tips on how you can reignite your love for photography.

1. Indulge in your interests

In our post ‘How to Avoid Fall Burnout for Photographers’, we asserted the importance of a recreational timeout. This means you need to leave space in your schedule to focus on your art. Leave behind worries about money and shoot subjects you’re interested in. This won’t entail much. You can easily bring a camera to capture fun, candid moments if you're grabbing lunch with your friends, for example. On the other hand, you can also catalog various plant life or bird species on a stroll at a nearby park. Wherever you end up taking your camera, make sure to aim at objects you like.

2. Keep a journal

In the referenced Ritz Herald write-up, photographer Evan Parsons recommended journaling to clear

your head. He got the idea from a book by Julia Cameron called The Artist’s Way. Essentially, anything that drifts across your mind should be written down. Even though it won’t generate a new idea, keeping a visual reminder of your thoughts can promote mindfulness. When you look back on the string of sentences, you may even pick up a great concept that felt dull or impractical at the moment.

3. Trying out new projects

Attempting new projects won’t only enhance your versatility as a photographer, but it can also reinvigorate your love for your craft. Of course, you’ll need gear that’s up for the challenges you want to undertake. As the top cameras on Adorama demonstrate, there's a wide range of options suitable for the projects you want to tackle. For instance, a sunset/sunrise series requires a high-resolution sensor. In this case, the Minolta M35Z would be ideal since it's equipped with built-in image stabilization, meaning you can steadily capture beautiful moving landscapes in real time. If you’re interested in wildlife photography, the Sony Alpha A7 IV has improved its features of AF and Eye Tracking (for both humans and animals). This way, you can shoot migratory birds even in flight.

4. Schedule a break

An NPR article on overcoming creative ruts showed that breaks shouldn’t include screens, emails, or audiobooks. Rahaf Harfoush, a digital creative, explains how hard it is to navigate through a work-obsessed culture. But a true break requires you to leave behind your responsibilities — even for as little as 15 minutes. As much as you can, try to go outside. As a photographer, you might encounter a sight that urges you to reach for your camera. However, short periods of respite can go a long way in reenergizing your mind for when you do pick up your equipment

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