A Few Photography Ideas for When it Seems that There’s Nothing Interesting to Shoot

The summer is over and most of us are back from our vacations. Travelings is always good for our photography, since it inspires us to photograph the new places we visit and everything there. I personally came back home from my annual trip to the Alps with more than 5000 photos. And now that awesome (but long) process of choosing the best ones and editing will fill the coming long autumn evenings 🙂

But vacations are now over and most people will just abandon their camera in the bag until the next trip. And that is of course a bad idea – because the more we practice, the better our photo skills become. 

I know that the grey and rainy weather is not very inspiring to capture, but there are ways to keep us interested and photographing! 

Glacier du Géant, Chamonix, France (2021) | Fuji XT-2, Fujinon 16-55 F2.8 @ 55mm, 1/2500 sec at F/11, ISO 320

So how do we keep the spark alive? Here are a few ideas.

  • Look for a new subject. As photographers we often choose subjects by what inspires us – something in the scene that stands out, something that’s out-of-the-ordinary, or simply something we want to remember. The subject is essential to an image, and yet amazing photos have been shot of everyday things as a raindrop or a spoon. Subjects don’t necessarily have to be extraordinary to create a special image — though the photographer may have to work harder to find a unique way to portray that ordinary object. Learn to enjoy the process of creating photos and you will never run out of ideas what to photograph.
  • Find somebody to model for you and practice taking portraits. When looking for a model to photograph, friends and family are a good way to start. Once you’ve got a few shoots under your belt – and the start of a portfolio – you can approach other people to see if they’d be interested in taking part. You will not believe how many people will actually say yes when you approach them.

You have never taken portraits and don’t know where to start? Look here: Portrait Photography Workshop for beginners in Brussels.

Chamonix, France (2021) | Fuji XT-2, Fujinon 50-140 F2.8 + 2x extender @ 260mm, 1/2000 sec at F/5,6, ISO 640
  • Consider starting a personal photography project. This is by far the best way to grow your photography skills!! Long term or short term it doesn’t really matter. What is important is to have a reason to pick up the camera and go out shooting (or stay at home shooting). Choosing a subject may seem daunting, but don’t let that stop you. So, how to choose a subject for your first personal project? The answer is actually in the question – it is a personal project, so choose something that interest and inspires you. Do not choose a subject because it is cool or others may like it.

Think about what brings you joy when you look at it? One of my long term projects going on already almost 7 years is documenting the daily life of my daughter. And I am not talking about taking carefully staged portraits on special occasions, I document how she grows, learns and plays. And then I assemble the photos I like and print books from them. I have already printed 14 albums in the past 6 years since the day she was born.

Another example for a long term project I do – I have been photographing the mountains in the Mont Blanc area for the last 14 years. I go there every year and document the same peaks, glaciers and areas over and over again. I am currently preparing a book with my favourite photos.

Short term photography projects are great fun as well. I have photographed my neighbourhood, I’ve done a short self portrait project, I do short projects in Forêt de Soignes all the time. When it comes to subjects the sky is the limit!

Alpinists at Glacier du Géant, Chamonix, France (2021) | Fuji XT-2, Fujinon 16-55 F2.8 @ 55mm, 1/320 sec at F/18, ISO 320
  • Keep your camera / phone always with you. You can never know when you will see something that will catch your attention. And when that happens, never hesitate to take the photo, because the moment will pass! Observe your surroundings and try to find beauty in the mundane. It is there, we just need to look for it 🙂 And remember the words of one the best street photographers – Saul Leiter:

It is not where it is or what it is that matters, but how you see it.

Saul Leiter