Photography can be such an enjoyable and rewarding hobby, but sometimes it can be hard to find the motivation to pack up your camera bag and head outside, so what can you do?
We've put together some ideas and tips to keep you clicking the shutter through the year.
Set yourself a challenge Venturing out with your camera without a clear plan or idea of what you're hoping to capture can often result in aimless wandering and not much photo-taking. It can really help to spend a bit of time researching the place you're about to visit to come up with some inspiration or ideas of the photos you'd like to come home with.
Setting yourself a challenge, such as to capture 3 small detail shots, and then 3 wider scene shots, will help you seek out potential photos with a plan and intention in mind.
Perhaps you could try shooting in black&white for a change if you usually shoot in colour? Or maybe you've only been comfortable photographing landscapes and want to challenge yourself by incorporating people and portraits into your photos?
It certainly will feel challenging at first, but persevere and you'll be proud of your accomplishments!
Take up a photo a day challenge Yep, it's another challenge! But it's a tried and tested one that a lot of people swear by.
It may seem extreme to go out and take a photo a day when you're feeling as though you don't have the motivation to go out even once a week. But it really does work!
Don't feel as though you even have to take out your camera each day either, as you can always use your phone's lens if you're strapped for space on your commute to work or travelling. The exercise of actively looking out for a photo worthy subject every day will help you become more aware of the photo opportunities available to you, and may result in some happy discoveries of places or subjects you hadn't considered capturing before.
There are so many 'photo a day' challenges to embark upon: alphabet challenge, different object each day, self portrait each day....and so on. Lots to be found via Google or Pinterest!
Photograph your friends or family Portraits of loved ones are something that we all hold on to and treasure for years. Photographing a family member or friend can be a great way of testing out and improving your portrait skills, as well as providing a thoughtful gift for the person posing for you.
You could photograph the person in their favourite place, such as in their home or local park. Maybe they have an interesting hobby that you could include in the photograph to give a bit of a backstory.
Feeling a bit nervous about photographing someone? Fear not! We have a guide on how to make people (and yourself!) feel comfortable with the camera right here.
Join your local photography group Attending your local photography group's sessions will introduce you to other local photographers, as well as taking you to nearby locations to explore with your camera.
Photo by Zac Alviz, Sydney Photography Group
It always helps to venture out with a group, rather than alone, as you'll have the chance to chat, share tips and provide feedback. Being part of a group is always useful when photographing in a big public space, such as practicing street photography, and may help reduce any worries about sticking out with a camera in your hand.
The Photoh fortnightly photography groups are all hosted by a professional photography instructor, who is there to provide tuition and inspiration for the different topics and locations explored each session.
Each session starts with an introduction to the fortnight’s theme, and the photography instructor will chat about the camera settings and techniques to use. You’ll then have time to take lots of photos, with the instructor present to answer any questions. You’ll receive feedback and have a chance to chat with everyone to share tips and ideas. We’re a social bunch! Find your local one on the Photoh website here.
Explore somewhere new It can be easy to feel like you're stuck in a photography rut if you've exhausted your usual photo spots and haunts. Find somewhere new to venture with your camera in tow to replenish your ideas and inspiration.
Not sure where to start looking for a new location? Try posting in your local photography Facebook group, or searching local areas on a social media platform like Instagram - where you can see geo-tags and map check-ins.
We asked our Photoh regulars where their favourite photography spots of Australia are, and have packed them all into a handy guide for you here.
Take part in photography competitions Competitions are a great way of having an incentive to take on a photography project or theme that you wouldn't usually consider.
You don't always need to enter a competition just to have the chance to win (though yes, that would be nice!) but see it as a chance to expand your portfolio with subjects that you wouldn't usually consider.
Did you know that we run photography competitions every fortnight? They're free to enter and you can see the details of the latest one on the blog here.
Looking for some tips on entering competitions? Photographer Steph Doran has compiled some of her top snippets of advice here.
Learn a new camera skill Nailing a new photography technique or skill can be so incredibly satisfying, and can also give you a boost of motivation.
Whether you've made a resolution to get yourself off of auto mode, or learn how to capture long exposure shots or light trails, keep taking the time to practice.
Discovering a new way of shooting will help to provide an influx of refreshed ideas, and maybe a new perspective on a place that you've visited many times before. Normally photograph a street during the day? Try returning at night to experiment with long exposure light trails from passing cars.
Don't stress too much if you're struggling to find the motivation to head out with the camera, it happens to all of us...even the professionals! Sometimes a rest can be beneficial in the long time as it will give you some space to think about ideas and challenges you want to set yourself for the future.