Motivation – buy a class?

Motivation. There’s a big word! And we’ve all needed it at some point or other. I wonder how you find your photographic motivation when it has packed its bags and taken to the hills?

I am recently back with my camera after a six week break. During that six week break, I have had a very intensive period of training for a new, part time job. The job will only be 12 hours per week but the training was full time. Since it’s over four years since I worked full time, I felt it! Not only full time but changing shifts too! But then, the job I will be doing is telephone triaging people for urgent medical conditions and signposting them to the correct medical facility so I accept that some intensive training is a must. But all that aside, that has meant six weeks away from my camera – and at a time when the gardens are bursting into life with colourful blooms everywhere. However, my poor head is filled with more medical knowledge than I thought I would ever need and a slight reluctance to enumerate the practice of clocking in and out.

After a few years of being able to take off with my camera pretty much whenever, six weeks away has made a serious dent in my photographic flow and motivation. It’s amazing how quickly human beings adapt to, and accept a different way of life. I got into a steady routine of making a packed launch, heading out to work and coming back in the early hours feeling wiped out before waking the next day, a few quick chores and then off again. No worries, I thought. I can put my photography on hold and slip back into it when I have completed the training.

But no.

It’s not quite that easy. Time away from anything dulls the sense for it a little bit and I find myself trying to work out where I was in terms of creative exploration – and I am damned if I can remember 😳

So – I find myself wondering what other togs do when their inspiration has run dry? A lot of my photography involves just me and a garden so I don’t have a group of tog friends to bounce off (although I hasten to add there that I do get a lot of inspiration from my awesome Twitter friend list). In my case, I usually buy an online class – and there is a wealth of them out there. Okay, maybe some are poor but there are a lot of very good ones out there too. Perhaps ideally, I would sign up for one of the many workshop holidays that are out there but the clue is above – ‘part time job’. I don’t have the multiple hundreds of pounds available for that kind of motivational experience – although if I did, I’m sure I’d be happy to take that route. But instead, I use Creative Live (other providers are available 🙂) for classes and have yet to buy a dud. Indeed, I can highly recommend Kathleen Clemons classes on flower photography and I have gained plenty of tips and tricks from them. They do tend to have flash sales so if you watch and wait, you can often pick up a great class for little money.

So, that’s me for the next short while. I have purchased John Greengo’s ‘Nature and Landscape Photography’ this time round and will see if that offers some motivation and some creative ideas so I can get back out there. In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you keep your motivation going so please leave a comment below. I’d be interested to know whether you use classes, books, magazines or just the practise of getting out there and doing it until it returns. Meanwhile, I will be watching my class and seeing what can fire me up to take a camera off into The Peak District and create. Heck, I may even drag out the filters I paid good money for and then didn’t use 😕

Until next time . . . . .

9 thoughts on “Motivation – buy a class?

  1. Hi Sue,
    I’m glad the training went well.
    When I need motivation I look at other photographers work (yours helped) its nice though to be able to actually talk to real people, with that in mind I had a days course on the Art of Flower photography with Steven Studd.
    We went to a place called The Herbery, Tenbury Wells. It was great.
    There’s also a group of us getting together locally for a day out.
    I did a nice horse portrait shoot the other week which was a change, I used the Velvet 56 too which was fun.


    1. Hi Wendy, Looking at the work of other photographers is always good, as well as artists too really. I am quite envious of your day in the Herbert. There seems to be so little in the way of workshops close to me. It must have been great to be out with like minded togs as well as a tutor to guide you. 🙂


  2. A couple of things comes to mind. Read books, I have an extensive collection with topics ranging from philosophical discussion on creativity and art to plain processing manuals covering Photoshop and Lightroom.

    Both types can provide inspiration, even technical guides, I have often found myself reading about a technique inspiring me to try it on photos that came to mind out of the blue.

    I’ve noticed that you mainly do close-ups and macro. How about trying something different ? A wider view of a field of flowers perhaps ? Maybe you – deep down – feel that you’ve ‘done it all before ‘ and need a new challenge ?


    1. Good ideas there, Anders. I do have plenty of photography ‘picture’ books but I have just begun reading ‘The Photograph’ which is part of The History of Art series fro Oxford University Press. I think I really need to step back and think about what I am trying to achieve rather than staying within my comfort zone all of the time.


      1. You read my mind there. I have a whole set of NDs including a 10 stop somewhere. I think it really is time to dig them out.

        Liked by 1 person

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