Get out of a photographic rut
N-Photo: the Nikon magazine|August 2020
Get out of a photographic rut
Shooting the same type of image, of the same clients, in the same locations? All that gets boring – here’s why you should shake things up
Paul Wilkinson

I once heard a radio interview with a successful songwriter, who said that he used to write all his songs while sitting at the piano. This method worked well for him until he had about 15 years’ experience.

Suddenly, the muscle memory in his hands became too powerful. Every time he sat down to compose something new, his fingers would revert to melodic tricks that he’d used before.

In 1993, researcher Anders Ericsson published the results of a study on violin students at a music academy in Berlin. He found that the most accomplished students had accumulated an average of 10,000 hours of practice by the time they were 20 years old.

When you’re on your way to spending that much time with your camera, you’ll develop muscle memory, too. That’s partly a good thing. When you can operate your camera instinctively, you can respond more quickly to the scene in front of you. But you also risk repeating yourself in your work, and routinely recreating your past images again and again. If you’ve entered this industry because you’re a creative, you’ll soon feel bored by the repetition.

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August 2020