There will be times in your career where you are in short supply of creativity, and it isn’t something to be ashamed of. Whether you gather inspiration from social media, peers, magazines, or simply walking on the street listening to music, there is always something new you can try to get the creative juices flowing again. Without consistent inspiration and motivation, our work seems to be a duplication of itself leading to the inevitable burnout of creativity. So, we asked 20 photographers how they stay creatively refreshed as an artist and here’s what they had to say:

Jermaine Horton – Website | Instagram

“I’m a die-hard sports fan, so being able to shoot pro sports is an outlet of joy and eases my mind because I know the game. It’s so fun watching some of my favorite players make plays and celebrate with their emotions. I know some people love vacations, i.e. walks on the beach to clear their mind, and I do too, but sports is clarity for my mind. I enjoy seeing people passionate about their craft and living up to major moments. There is nothing predictable about sports which HELPS me with weddings because you never know what will happen and it keeps your mind and reactions sharp.”

Marlies Hartmann – Website | Instagram

“As a single parent, finding balance has always been my greatest struggle, and it can be incredibly difficult to stay inspired when you’re chained to your computer 24/7. For me to stay inspired, putting aside work 100% and focusing on my daughter lets me reset and see the world through her eyes. Exposing her to new places (like Tokyo in this instance), taking her to see an art exhibit, broadway show, or fun pop-up museum allows me to draw inspiration from an alternate artistic mediums while also giving her my undivided attention, and enhances her love of the arts/nature all at the same time. Those opportunities result in a full cup that’s ready to get back to work with a fresh outlook, renewed perspective, and a stronger relationship with my daughter.”

Thomas Ingersoll – Website | Instagram

“How people choose to spend their free time is always a huge inspiration to me. What skills have they cultivated? What do they do and how do they do it? There is something captivating about all the ways we choose to occupy our time. For this project, I wanted to show the vibration and rhythm that comes with playing the stand-up bass. The mood the artist created with her instrument inspired me to use colored gels, and the vibration of the strings inspired me to use a slow shutter.”

Kesha Lambert – Website | Instagram

“We frequently find ourselves working at the same venues. Familiarity with a venue is great in terms of logistics but it can be a creativity killer because it is so easy to default to doing what you know works well in that space. Then there is the challenge of the client’s “must-have” shots related to the venue. Many venues have popular areas or architectural structures that venue is known for, which are sometimes the reason that the couple chose the venue. Grand swirling stairs, an opulent archway, a view of the skyline, a rooftop; working in these must-have spaces can also throw a creative into default mode. So one thing that I like to do is just observe spaces. I will stand in a space and just look at it, look for textures and nooks that I may not have noticed before. When I enter a space find the thing that draws the viewer’s attention, find the thing that makes the room special, then turn my back to that part of the room and really observe. The first photograph shows the archway that was in this venue’s wedding brochure and enlarged in print on the walls of the venue’s lobby, the second photograph is what I captured when I turned my back to the brochure arch.”

Taylor Kinzie – Website | Instagram

“Whenever I’m starting to feel the familiar heaviness of burn out, I pack up the car and go on a road trip to somewhere beautiful and isolated. My go-to destinations are Yosemite, the Central Coast, and Montana. During this time, I unplug from social media so I can clear out the clutter of the comparison game in my head. I let myself do nothing but feel joy and awe. Taking time out of my schedule to get re-centered and reconnected with nature and myself helps me to feel inspired again and I always return feeling energized and ready to create.”

Jason & Joanne Marino – Website | Instagram

“Spending a few weeks in our RV is always our way of recharging and finding inspiration. Not only do new locales allow us to see the world differently, but the food we eat, people we meet, and adventures we have really get us geared up to dive back into work once we’re back home. This photo is of our three teens from our summer RV road trip in 2018, taken at sunset, just outside Monterey, CA, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca RV Campground. It says it all for us.”

Vanessa Joy – Website | Instagram

“I love trying a new photographic technique outside of my typical brand. I tend to have a light and bright image style to my photography, so going the opposite I’ve tried doing silhouettes with a fun colorful twist. This technique is great for hiding ugly locations, creating an epic image, and surprising them with something they can’t see on their own.”

Citlalli Rico – Website | Instagram

“I’ve always loved plants and finding a way to incorporate them in my photography work. My favorite is to frame my couples with any kind of leaves that are bright and beautiful. Plants have also helped me tremendously to understand natural light and how to see it and use it in the portraits I create.”

Jay Cassario – Website | Instagram

“Every year around August and September, I start to feel burnt out and feel like everything I do is repetitive. It’s a mental game that kicks in each and every year. I used to switch to shooting film, which helped because it challenged me and made shooting fun again. The problem with that is is that it becomes expensive and the inspiration from it quickly fades away. A few years ago I decided to switch it up and being that my son was 3 years old, I took him and my wife to Bar Harbor, Maine for vacation. I spent the week documenting his new experiences without asking him to look at the camera a single time. Since a good amount of my wedding photography is done in a documentary style, I fell in love with photographing my son the same way as he explored the world. My wife and I now plan a vacay every year around the end of August or early September for this exact reason now. I bring one camera and one lens, which is normally my Leica M and either a 24mm or 35mm lens. It provides us a little break during the busy season and no matter how burnt out I am from photography I find the love all over again photographing my son as he grows older and older each year.”

Lanny Mann – Website | Instagram

“Nature. Exercise. Music. Meditation. & Yoga. And most importantly, our kids!”

Justin Haugen – Website | Instagram

“Self-care is a big part of helping me stay creatively refreshed and excited about the work I do. Lately, I’ve been getting into an exercise routine and rekindling interest in Yoga through the kind mentorship of a wonderful woman who I’ve photographed through her journey of growth. She’s helping me find my flow in life and I’m showing her the beauty and strength I see in her. Exercise, get massages, take some personal time. Disrupt your daily routines and treat your body and mind better, and the photography you do will reflect the growth you experience.”

Jared Gant – Website | Instagram

“Simply breaking up my daily grind and routine helps me stay refreshed and increases my creativity. Typically, we as a family break up our routine by traveling somewhere new with each other a few times a year. Both my wife and I own individual businesses and this can be challenging, but always worth the effort. While traveling, we will turn off phones and other electronics and try to be fully present with each other. Recently we traveled to southern California and took our kiddos to several beaches. Seeing the excitement in their eyes as they got to experience the Pacific Ocean for the very first time caused me to pause and self-reflect on how much I take for granted the beauty all around.”

Ralf Czogallik – Website | Instagram

“First of all, it’s very hard to keep me motivated but on the other hand, it’s not. For example, last weekend I had a long Saturday with 19+ hours. The next day I had to shoot another wedding so I was tired as f**k and was not looking forward to shooting this one. But the minute I walked in the bride welcomed me with a big hug and I was on track again. We had so much fun that I completely forgot how tired I was. I stopped looking at other wedding photographers to get inspired. The less time I invest in doing that the better my images get. I only do what I love to do it even if that means I am losing a client or two in the process. The most important thing for me is to keep myself focused all the time. Doing the thing I am good at and instead of looking at other photographers I try to get in touch with them, have lunch, have dinner or meet for drinks. Just to talk and listen.”

Tanya Parada – Website | Instagram

“Something that refreshes me creatively is exploring LA with just my iPhone. I’ll leave my professional camera at home and look for interesting pockets of light, shapes, and compositions with fresh eyes and zero pressure! It helps me to relax, hone in on being present in the moment and really study light.”

Megan Allen – Website | Instagram

“This is about the time that I start to feel that I’m running out of creativity in the year, which used to induce a panic. Now, I try to remind myself that every wedding is fresh and new to that couple, and it’s my job to remember and honor that, and kick tail no matter what! One of the ways I keep things fresh is to step outside of the wedding photography and work with fellow creatives to create content for their personal branding and social media presences. Working with many of the cast members of Hamilton, Aladdin, Mean Girls, and others have invited me to see things differently and take risks in the creative process. Branching out of the wedding world and creating for other creatives in a more fluid and creative space has helped me come back to wedding days with a curious, creative spirit, and I’m thankful for that.”

Christian Cardona – Website | Instagram

“I always find peace when I’m with these guys. More than inspiration, I find time to take a break from the everyday rush. I think we get stuck just because we don’t take time for ourselves, our families, and our personal projects. We are always in a rush and this is something I struggle with and I’ve always had a hard time balancing. I find ideas, think better and find creativity when I stop and breathe, so here’s to hoping I can do that more often.

Geeta Randery – Website | Instagram

“Work on yourself before you go-to-work for someone else…” is a quote that’s always stuck with me. Something that I enjoy that helps me remain refreshed and maintain creativity is ‘working on myself.’ Making the time to do the things that I need/enjoy FIRST, before my kids & husband; I can’t do justice to my business/family if I’m not 100 first. I learned this the very hard way after struggling through depression a couple of years back, as I was prioritizing the care of everyone & everything else first, before my own. My kids, husband, chores, business, clients… always came first; self-care didn’t exist in my daily routine. Once I began “working on myself before I went to work for someone else” I changed the trajectory of my happiness and took control back. I now prioritize taking care of myself from the inside out, which means eating wholistic & clean, going to yoga classes at least 3 times a week, and taking a mandatory vacation once a quarter – away from my camera, computer, chores, etc. Since then, my business has flourished, I’m incredibly happy, able to remain refreshed, and draw creativity because my mind, body, & soul are in a constant state of abundance.”

Tanya Smith – Website | Instagram

“I’m totally inspired by each of my individual clients. Since I work with brands, they each have a different story to tell, which means I can get creative with lighting, posing, colors, backgrounds, props, etc. and every shoot is so different! In this particular case, the client wanted something urban and a little grungy. We chose a rooftop location at golden hour and I brought a Lens Baby and some tulle to play with in front of the lens for some cool effects.”

Dave Shay – Website | Instagram

“Keeping myself at the top of my creative game used to mean reading a ton of books or catching up on the latest blog posts from photographers I love. Lately, I’ve noticed that the best way for me to stay creative while I shoot is to make sure that I go into every shoot well-rested and in solid physical shape. This means going to the gym regularly, and intentionally planning in vacations and time off in my busiest seasons. I’ve become willing to lose a lead or two while I escape for 2-3 days with no computer, and nothing but my iPhone to make sure that I serve the clients I do have to the best of my ability. This image is from an iPhone X edited with Lightroom Mobile.”

Pye Jirsa – Website | Instagram

“I have the challenge of going last after so many wonderful tips and insights have been given. My insight and tip is a summation of what’s been said. When trying to keep oneself creatively refreshed, go back to the things that have and continue to sustain your interest in photography. This isn’t shooting what your clients want, it’s not planing shoots that will get you more business, nor is it even taking pictures of things that you think will help grow your social media presence. This is taking pictures that you would take regardless of the outcome, taking pictures simply for you. In my case, this is taking my family out on road trips and shoots where I can document moments that matter to me (like this picture of my children during a trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats). In your case, it could look completely different. The important thing here is dropping all-purpose beyond one simple thing, capturing photographs that make you happy.”

How do you stay inspired? Let us know in the comments below!