In my opinion it’s sometimes very difficult to stay motivated when shooting film. It’s expensive to shoot and develop, you don’t have your pictures straight away and because of that your learning process will be slightly slower as well. I have felt so many times of just giving up and shoot digital instead, but following these rules have helped me to keep on shooting and creating. I hope they will help you as well.
1. Fill your daily life with film
Something that really helps me to stay motivated is to listen to a podcast on Spotify called AnalogTalk while I am doing the housework or when I’m out for a walk. Without putting pressure I try to expose myself everyday with either some information or inspiration. It could be a documentary, a shorter YouTube video, a book/zine or a podcast. These things get me interested and makes me want to shoot again without forcing to feel motivated.
2. Take your camera everywhere
But like everywhere. This helped me so much to keep my mind on photography. Walking a street is just not the same when you have a camera with you. You see everything and your mind is more open for creativity and ideas. Also, when you start taking your camera everywhere you will always be able to take a picture, but you won’t have the pressure to come home with a finished roll. I have heard some talking about taking your camera without any film inside. I have never done this but it could be a great idea to stay motivated when shooting film and not to waste your precious film.
3. Say yes more often
Forget about the no’s you could get and just contact that model you have been thinking of working with. I sometimes get caught up in thinking like “I’ll contact them when I am good enough”, but this is kind of an illusion. As you get better, you will have higher expectations of yourself as well. So plan a project for next weekend without thinking too much about it. Just get it rolling and you will see how one thing leads to another.
4. Be less perfectionistic
This one is an extension to the third point actually. Being too perfectionistic will let you wait for the perfect shoot, the perfect idea. And the thing with art is, it’s just never finished. An idea can always be better and more elaborated than it was before. Also, I lost count on how many times pictures turned out different than I imagined it to be, and for me it’s just something to accept and will fade away with experience.
5. Learn from others
Whenever you look at the photos and styles you like, don’t just look at them but think deeper about them as well. How are they done? What light did they use? Why is it that this photo works so well? When thinking of how certain photos are done you will get new ideas yourself as well. Art is actually just copying of what you have already seen before but you adding your own things makes it your style.
6. Stop comparing
I am guilty. When I am on Instagram for example, I can feel down about my own style. There are so many great photographers around which level I might never reach. You probably already know what I am trying to say here, it just doesn’t help. The only thing it does is to make you not want to shoot again which is what you don’t want. So stop comparing. Instead, try to learn from them and use them as an inspiration for your next shoots.
7. This is normal
Everyone will experience some kind of writer’s block. It’s very normal and everyone deals with it differently. I kind of let the shooting part go but try to focus on reading or watching documentaries about it. This gives me a rest but at the same time it motivates me on a different level. But it helps me to always remember that I don’t have to have great ideas always, the mind needs to rest sometimes as well, and that’s ok.