People always tell me how lucky I am to be living in such a photogenic place; and they are quite right.  I am really lucky to be able to live in the mountains of Colorado, but even up here I can go through spells of feeling uncreative and out of ideas, a sort of “photographer’s block.”


Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks to keep the proverbial creative juices flowing.  One thing that keeps me going is by constantly changing up the kind of work I’m doing.  For instance, in June, I’ll be photographing a outdoor sporting event in Vail early in the month, then doing some editorial work during a climbing trip, and shooting a few weddings.  Changing it up all the time is definitely my favorite way to stay motivated and creative.  I also find that things I learn while photographing climbing on Mount Shasta make me a better wedding photographer and vice-versa.

When I’m not as fortunate to be this busy, I find giving myself little projects or assignments can be very stimulating creatively.  Next time you are wondering what to photographer, or just aren’t feeling motivated to pick up the camera, try to give yourself an assignment to finish.  Try to keep the projects simple.  Concentrate on a place that’s local to you, and a task that is attainable.  For example, deciding you are going to stay in your backyard until you have photographed ten different species of animals is a lot more attainable than deciding to hike until you find a bear to photograph.  Also projects like these train your eye for more difficult projects later.  The key to self assignments is to set definite goals of what you want to achieve.

I am a firm believer that creativity can be learned, taught, and most importantly improved upon.  One of the best ways to do this is by taking a photography workshop.  Workshops are a great way to learn in small groups from an expert and to interact with other people that our passionate about photography.  Workshops are available for every budget and skill level.  They range from small Sunday morning camera walks to month long expeditions to the Antarctic.  A simple internet search can help you find the workshop that’s right for you.

 Joe Ernst Mountain Biking in Breckenridge 

Try these ideas:

Self Assignment Ideas:

  • A day in the life of your neighborhood
  • Backyard safari
  • Sit at a café and people watch (and photograph)
  • Turn a day hiking/biking with friends into a photo shoot
  • Photograph a parent and child playing (get permission)
  • Tell a story in less than five images

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.