I was supposed to do a “Day in the Life of” post this month & take pictures of my day from start to finish. In fact I asked if I could pleeeaaase do that for my post this month because the thought of it just sounded so fun to me. I was excited & had ideas flowing months ago on how to photograph my little guys as we go about our day.
Then something happened. Something big! I got burned out. I couldn’t do it…I needed a break.
I’m sure I sound like a dork but it’s true…I went through a long period of time where I was mad at myself & beat myself up. I’m actually STILL going through it. I mean come on, it’s been like three months since I’ve taken personal pictures! It was Mother’s Day weekend to be exact. My baby isn’t getting any younger. He’ll be two before I know it & I feel like I will have missed his whole second year of life.
For the longest time I kept thinking things like: Real artists don’t get burned out, what’s wrong with me? OR I am wasting my kids lives away by not photographing their every move, I am going to look back & regret this! OR the only way to get better is by shooting daily (right? that’s what “they” say anyway!) so by not shooting daily will I just get worse? OR I committed to a 365 & I made it to the end of February – I’m a total failure!
All those thoughts were just bad. I was just causing myself undue stress & making shooting sound even less appealing. I was making photography a chore…a job….taking out the enjoyment completely.
The bottom line is YOU ARE ALLOWED TO GET BURNED OUT. I finally admitted that to myself. Did it make me jump up & grab the camera? No. I’m still sitting out a bit BUT it did take the pressure off. The truth is that real artists get burned out, go through slumps, get hard on themselves, lose creativity. It’s just life! Life is busy & it can be exhausting. Allow yourself a break if you need it…it will help you grow more in the long run. It will keep your passion alive & will allow you to continue doing what you love…when you are ready. Photographers put a lot into learning, growing, retaining all the new information out there, practicing…completely immersing yourself like that is rewarding but also tiring. Take a break if you need it. Your kids will still get their photos taken & when you look back years from now you won’t remember that time you took some time off & “missed” moments. I only have like 20 pictures from my childhood & I LOVE them. My kids probably have 2000 each – they’ll be fine :)
I am talking to hobbyists & people in business both . You deserve a break no matter who you are photographing…whether it’s all personal on your own time or as your job. Your burn out may not look like anyone else’s – we’re all different! Just listen to yourself & say IT’S OK to take a break!
My burn out has been strictly a personal thing. I am still shooting sessions all the time & staying busy at work. I’m sure that’s part of the reason why I don’t feel like picking up the camera when I get home but I’m thankful at least that I’ve got the gusto left in me for my clients :) Some people experience burn out from social media. After all…. BOOM it’s in your face everywhere you go…pinterest, facebook, tutorial blogs, photographer’s blogs, magazines, features here & there, contests etc. It is so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing & compare yourself. That’s why I hardly ever look at any other photographer’s blogs. I want my inspiration to come from within. I see enough just scrolling through my newsfeed from time to time on facebook to get my fill of seeing other people’s work. Comparing yourselves to others or looking at other people’s work can bring you down. If you are truly studying the art or asking yourself how they were able to achieve their end result, that is different…but comparing yourself or even copying (ah gasp!) will bring you down. For that reason many people I know take breaks from social media to recooperate & rekindle their love or passion. Read “Why Taking a Social Media Break May Be Good For You” on the Clickinmoms blog to find out more. I think I should try it. Anyone want to take a break with me?!
Here are some things that WON’T get you out of a slump:
-Thinking negative thoughts about your work
-Comparing yourself to others
-Continuing to shoot even when you know you need a break
Here are some things that will HELP you get out of a slump:
-Go to an art museum or photography gallery
-Take some time off
-Take a class you’ve always wanted to take…learn something new
-Buy a new photography toy
Just my two cents here! If you need a break…you deserve one…go for it! Don’t beat yourself up like I did. I’ll see you back in September with my “Day in the Life of…” post :)