Photographer's block


The unthinkable has happened! Today is my day off and I woke up full of enthusiasm to get out and about to capture some photographs of the amazing county of Devon. I got as far as the front door and thought, what am I going to photograph? I had photographer's block.


This is a truly horrifying experience for anyone who lives and breathes photography. It makes you question what you are doing and your motivations as a photographer. I find it tricky to go exploring at the best of times simply because the 9-5 day job just gets in the way and when I do get home I prefer to rest and spend time with my wife as those moments are precious to me.

So when I can't get motivated enough to put the viewfinder to my eye then I really do wonder if my photography career is approaching its zenith.


Let me break some of my thought processes down so perhaps you and I can understand why I am at an impasse.

  • Today has been pretty overcast all day - not the best lighting for outdoor photography.

  • I live in Somerset but grew up in East Devon, which is where all my haunts are - I prefer to photograph around areas I am familiar with, however they are a bit of a distance from me.

  • It's middle of the month and funds are tight, so I do feel guilty about driving Devon bound when I could save petrol money.

  • As I have mentioned, East Devon is very familiar to me and I've already covered the area very well. I often find myself stuck for new places to go. Sidmouth is my favourite of all locations but I do find that when I get there I am often hunting around for subjects to photograph. Usually I end up settling for an old favourite, such as Jacob's Ladder or Connaught Gardens. By-the-by - if you are interested in this beautiful seaside town on the Jurassic Coast then why not checkout my Facebook group - Sidmouth Pictures.

Below is a view of Sidmouth, taken from the west end of this stunning coastline.


Those bullet points were perhaps the main barriers that I put up, maybe subconsciously.

But when I look back and re-read what I have just written (it's now late afternoon so no chance at getting over to Devon now) I realise that I've left a major point out: I'm just being lazy! I know that over the years some of my best work was captured when I wasn't really looking for a particular subject to photograph. On the other hand I may have a brilliant idea and I can plan and plan my shoots down to the fine detail but when it comes to actually pressing that trigger something about the photo just doesn't work, no matter how many times I mess with those settings!

In hindsight I should probably have got off my laurels anyway and seen what I could capture on camera, but some days it just doesn't come naturally.

Here are a few things I could have done instead:

Overcast days can actually help when capturing shots at waterside locations, such as falls and lakes and riversides because the lighting is defused meaning highlight burnout from bright sunlight will be reduced. This can be helped further by utilising a polarising filter. This is great if you are trying to capture long exposure shots, such as the one below at Becky Falls in Dartmoor.


I could have taken my macro lens out with me and gone insect and flower hunting and all things miniature. By concentrating on the small world in my garden instead of the big world beyond (well Devon at least) I could have found some great subjects right on my doorstep, such as the one below, taken a few summers ago.


Why not see more of my macro work on my Facebook page - My Little World.


So I am going to write off today and put my lack of photo enthusiasm down to the overcast sky, though I know deep down inside I'm probably just being bone idle!

Never mind, tomorrow is another day and I am sure my photographer's block will soon be broken.

Let's see what's on telly!

Do you ever get photographer's block? Please help me out and share your ideas and ways to overcome this annoying feeling.

Comment on my post below or on my Facebook Twitter pages.

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Alex Walton is a professional photographer based in South West England, covering Devon and Somerset counties. 

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