There are moments when it's difficult to go out photographing. Perhaps the weather is too bad, or it becomes dark too soon during wintertime. I have a couple of suggestions to spend these periods with less inspiration in a useful way.
Days can be very short during the winter months if you are living above 50 degrees latitude. There is not much daylight and the weather can prevent you from photographing the things you like. This is also a time when inspiration can be low, not knowing what to photograph. Perhaps this is the time to pick up some photography related things that you have postponed for too long.
I have gathered some ideas to get you through the long dark days and evenings, or when inspiration is lost. Some things might not apply to you, but I hope it will trigger some other ideas.
1. Clean up Your Photo Library
If you shoot a lot of photos, your library can get very large. Selecting and rating photos right after import may be good practice. The reality is often very different. A library often contains a lot of photos that were second or third choice. It can even contain photos that have been forgotten in some way.
Looking at the contents of your library is a good thing to do on a regular basis. But often there is not enough time for these things. Postponing this kind of work is way too easy. So why not take up this task during the long dark days and evenings. You could find a long lost gem between these images, who knows.
This is also a time to discard the rejected photos, place photos in albums or collections, and bring order to your catalog. I wrote an article about these things. Perhaps it is interesting to have a look at it if you are using Adobe Lightroom Classic.
2. Add Keywords and Metadata
One of the most difficult things to do is adding keywords and metadata to your photos. It can also be very difficult to have a good keyword system. Keywords can become a mess after a while, with words that have a wrong spelling, or words that are too general to be usable.
There are nice methods to bring order in your keywords, but you have to dive into this. Try to find your preferable way by searching the net, and set up a good system. So take a glass of wine, put on some nice music, and start working on a good keyword system. You don’t have to get it ready in one evening; that may be an impossible task. But you can spend an hour every day until you are happy with it.
3. Look at Your Older Work
Photography is fun to do, and the digital age makes it very easy to take a lot of photos. Older work may get lost in time with the continuous supply of new photos. The long and dark winter evenings are a good time to look at your older work again.
This can have a lot of benefits. It will not only bring back memories, it will also give a second life to your long-forgotten photos. Perhaps you like to perform a new post-processing method, a great technique you didn’t know back then. Or you can look at the composition and exposure. You can learn a lot by looking at your older work.
Looking at your early work can also bring new inspiration. Perhaps you would like to shoot a similar type of photo again, or you can compare the old photo with a new one of that same location. But you can also discover how much you have grown in photography throughout the years.
4. Design and Order a Photo Album
It might be a perfect time to catch up with holiday albums. I know how difficult it is to design and order an album with your photos right after a holiday. If you catch up during the cold winter evenings, you might get warm feelings and memories when seeing these photos again.
You can also design and order an album from the best photos of the previous year, or an album with an anthology of your work. Be creative and let your older work come back to life.
5. Make a Slideshow
If you don’t like photo albums, a slideshow may be a good alternative. Take a look at the slideshow option inside Adobe Lightroom Classic. But there are also other options available on the internet if you don't use Lightroom. Search for a good program and compose a nice slideshow. Add a title, text, and search for some appropriate music.
Place your slideshow on websites like YouTube, or you can publish your slideshow on social media. Your work will get attention, and who knows what will come of it.
6. Try New Software
Why not use the time for discovering new software? Perhaps you would like a new kind of post-processing software, or you could try out software with other functionalities. Most software offers a trial period. During the long winter evenings, there is lots of time to try new things out.
7. Try New Post-Processing Methods
If you are happy with your post-processing software, there is no need for another one. But perhaps you can search for new methods for post-processing your photos. New techniques you never thought of can help you achieve a better result. Why not look into this if you have time to spend? The end result can a better understanding of the software you are using.
8. Rediscover Your Camera
Do you know your camera by heart? Of have you set up your camera once, and never looked at it again? You can use the long winter nights to have another look at your camera. Rediscover the options and possibilities.
Looking at your camera has a lot of benefits, especially when you have used your camera for years. During that time you know the cons and restrictions of your camera. Perhaps there is a way to get around the restrictions. Or you may find another workaround that will increase the possibilities. Try new things with your camera. Change settings, and find forgotten options in the menu.
9. Check Your Backup System
The safety of your photos is often overlooked. A good backup is very important and can be lifesaving. If you don’t have a good backup system, it might be time to have a look at that. Search for the best solution for you and make sure nothing can happen to your precious photos.
If you have a working backup system, take another good look at it. Does it work properly? Convince yourself and do some testing. Especially when you have a system that works in the background, it is often forgotten because it is working all by itself. It would be terrible if it doesn’t work as intended anymore. If you have some spare time during the winter evenings, that is a good moment to check this.
Do You Have More Ideas and Tips?
These nine ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Do you have other ideas and tips to spend the days when photography is difficult? Please share your idea in the comments below. The more we all come up with, the better.