Opinion: Feeling burned out? Maybe it’s time to put down your camera

Photography fatigue
(Image credit: Unsplash: Nubelson Fernandes)

As I write this, I’ve just returned to work after a week off enjoying everything life has to offer, except photography. That’s right, feeling burned out encouraged me to abstain from taking a single photo during the past seven days and it’s been absolute bliss. Now, I understand that’s probably not the inspiring passage you’d hope to read on a website dedicated to the best cameras, the best lenses and everything in between. 

However, you can rest assured that I’m not suggesting anyone set down their camera for good. Instead, I’m advocating for a creative detox, a chance to wind down and free the creatively burned out mind. Here's why...

• Read more: The best cameras for enthusiasts

I’ve hardly squandered my free time and haven't dodged anything and everything photography related. In fact, I’ve been remarkably productive, choosing to use the downtime to engage in a few long-overdue bits of photography housekeeping. 

As I look over to my photography shelves right now, I couldn’t be happier: my lenses and accessories are dust-free and neatly arranged, my batteries are charged and memory cards have been backed up and formatted, heck, I’ve even cleaned my cameras’ sensors! 

At the end of 2021 I was feeling what I can only describe as some sort of photography fatigue. New ideas were getting increasingly hard to come by, I was struggling to feel inspired and I couldn’t seem to capture anything I was happy with. So, when faced with the opportunity to kick back and relax for a few days with zero consequences if I chose not to take photographs, I didn’t…

As I look back upon my spotless photo shelves, I feel totally relaxed. Knowing I can simply grab my gear and go is a great feeling – and extremely good practice – but the chores were really just an excuse to indulge in my hobby while sticking to my guns and avoiding the heavy lifting.

Without taking things too seriously, the point of this exercise was to take a very short creative hiatus, so I could return to taking photos fully rejuvenated. And so far it seems to have been a resounding success. 

If you’re experiencing ‘photo fatigue’, there’s no shame in taking the time to recharge both yours and your camera’s batteries. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited to head out with my camera as I do right now and best of all, those previously elusive fresh new ideas just keep coming and coming! 

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Mike Harris
Technique Editor

Mike is Deputy Editor for N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine, and brings with him over 10 years experience writing both freelance and for some of the biggest specialist publications. Prior to joining N-Photo Mike was the production editor for the content marketing team of Wex Photo Video, the UK’s largest online specialist photographic retailer, where he sharpened his skills in both the stills and videography spheres.  

While he’s an avid motorsport photographer, his skills extend to every genre of photography – making him one of Digital Camera World’s top tutors for techniques on cameras, lenses, tripods, filters and other imaging equipment, as well as sharing his expertise on shooting everything from portraits and landscapes to abstracts and architecture to wildlife and, yes, fast things going around race tracks.