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Fighting Photographer's Block

A wise man I met in Japan more than 20 years ago described his process of problem solving. He said that when you are trying to come up with a solution to a problem and you've racked your brain and thought out all possibilities but still come up empty...stop.

Go back to the beginning and try a completely different route around that problem—maybe even the exact opposite route, or some other different approach that first pops into your head. In other words, reset to the beginning and try something completely different and new.

His words have always resonated with me, and I have used his suggestion successfully to fight a creative block. When I'm working the situation and things just aren't moving forward, I stop and try a completely different photographic approach. In a portrait session I might change locations from indoors to outdoors, or vice versa. If I'm shooting long, I might try wide. It's about shaking things up and not overthinking. It's about taking chances. Albert Einstein said it's okay to get crazy.

And when you try stuff and it works, these successes are woven into your brain and embedded into your process for future photo situations. Your photographic palette of possibilities is widened. You become a better photographer each time you stretch and try something new, especially when it works.

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