Have you ever just felt like your creativity was tapped out? Like you had nothing left to give?
As a food photographer, you’re expected to be a creative genius. People want you to have the perfect shot of their dish ready and waiting in your back pocket. And most of the time, that’s exactly what you give them.
But sometimes, you just get stuck. One day you’re coming up with brilliant images, and the next, it’s like nothing can get through that creative block.
I know what I’m talking about here—and I imagine many of you do too. Whenever I get stuck in a rut, I feel like I’ve got two options: just keep pushing through and hope something great happens (which almost never works), or give up (which is not really an option).
But let me tell you something—creative ruts are just a part of the process. If you’re struggling with your creative juices going dry, here are a few things that have helped me overcome my creative ruts.
When I’m not inspired to shoot, I turn to cooking. Complex recipes with lots of ingredients are an incredible way to come up with new concepts for food photography.
Cooking has been a great way for me to break out of that loop—to do something physical and creative while also producing something new and delicious! When you take the time to create something that nourishes you from the inside out, your body starts craving more ways to feel good. And that’s when inspiration comes back around.
I know that for some folks, cooking is as much of a chore as housecleaning or laundry. But cooking is an art too. When you’re using your hands to chop vegetables and mix them with spices, you’re stimulating more parts of your brain than just looking at a screen, which helps you get out of those creative blocks faster.
When I dig into those newspaper archives, one of the best things about reading recipes from the early 20th century is that there are no pictures! As a photographer, it’s easy to become overly dependent on pictures for inspiration. But if you use your imagination and envision how something would taste and look in your head, it opens up so many possibilities. Pictures are limiting because they show you how someone else interpreted that recipe, but visualizing something yourself gives you back control over the creative process.
Another thing about reading old recipes is that it’s fun to eat food from the past. It’s like a little taste of history. Going back in time really helps me step away from my own work and just enjoy the experience.
So next time you’re feeling stuck in a rut, try reading some old recipes and see if they inspire you on your next shoot.
I hope these ideas help you get over your creative block and find new inspiration in the process.
And if you’re still feeling stuck, remember: there’s no rush. It’s okay that you’re experiencing a creative block—it’s an opportunity to look at things in a new way, try something different, and make a difference in the world!