Last week I started asking photographers, what they considered to be their biggest challenge to be. The responses, as you can imagine were quite varied. Some spoke in quite vague terms, while others were very specific – even down to how to cope with just one specific shot.

However, a pattern has emerged and that pattern is pretty close to what I thought it was going to be. I said that I believed that there were two main challenges facing photographers. These are

1. Inspiration and Motivation and
2. Technical know-how (particularly when it comes to understanding and controlling light)

Based on the responses I have received, I am going to add a third challenge. But this is a bit different. It is a challenge that isn’t just limited to photographers, and it doesn’t apply to all photographers – only those who are seeking to turn their hobby into some sort of business. That challenge is:

3. Marketing

We are going look at each of these challenges in turn. This time, we will look at the first of these challenges.

Inspiration and Motivation


I have put these together as a single challenge because they are inextricably linked. If you are truly inspired by something, you will feel motivated to make sure it happens. Yes, there may be hurdles and frustrations along the way, but the inspiration and motivation drive you forward to overcome those obstacles. Without inspiration and motivation, it becomes too hard and we give up.
How does this manifest itself? I saw an on-line thread recently, where a photographer posted saying that he had lost his ‘mo-jo’. There were dozens of replies from other photographers saying thing like “I know what you mean, I haven’t used my camera for months” and even one person saying “Yeah, I’m thinking of selling mine”
One of the common bits of feedback that I receive after running photography courses is that a course gives the attendees a reason to go out with the camera. The fact that I have set a challenge or given homework, means that the photographer has to go out and shoot.

Motivation and inspiration don’t come by sitting on the sofa, and moaning about a lost mojo on Facebook. It comes by getting up and getting going. Shoot something… shoot anything. Walk to the end of the street, pick up a household object. Take the bus into the city. Make a photograph. Look at it on the back of the camera. Is it “the perfect shot”? No, of course, it’s not. So what needs to change to improve it? Different light? A different angle? A different location? Maybe even a different subject? As you go through this process you WILL have ideas. Each shot will lead you down a new path. The right side of the brain (the hemisphere responsible for creativity) starts working and inspiration comes, that inspiration motivates you to create the next image.

And all that all starts with getting off the sofa in the first place!

Let’s not pretend it’s easy. We often need a kick to get us off the sofa. And that is where Ian’s Studio can help you.  In a couple of weeks’ time, I will be announcing some changes to how Ian’s Studio helps photographers to develop their skills. Part of those changes will be a scheme which will give you a weekly metaphoric kick to get off the sofa and get out with your camera.

What I have planned will help you with your photography no matter what level you are currently at. It doesn’t matter you are a seasoned pro, or a point-and-shoot beginner, the very act of having something specific to shoot will motivate and inspire you.

Next time, I will talk about the challenge of technical know-how and how the same scheme that will give you a weekly ‘kick’ will slowly drip feed the technical information you need to improve your photography.

Until next time: keep MAKING great photographs.

PS. Do you think I am right about inspiration and motivation? How inspired/motivated do you feel? Let me know in the comments below.