Pedro Quintela is a history teacher, talented photographer, and one of the most motivational people on 500px. His latest piece of sage advice, published below, is for anybody who is struggling to stay motivated and inspired with their photography. Pedro recently went through a tough time himself, and shares 6 ways he rekindled that fire inside.

For more about or from Pedro, follow him on 500px, check him out on Facebook, or license his images through the 500px Marketplace.

Road to Dreamland part 2 by Pedro Quintela on

Regardless the kind of shooter you are, someday you’ll inevitably reach to a point when the motivation starts to fade, you slowly stop shooting, and the inspiration is gone. You should realize that, being creative individuals, motivation is a sort of short-term idea that comes from the outside while inspiration is a long-term goal that comes from inside yourself. That’s why both are so important whether photography is your profession or just a hobby.

When you reach this point, many thoughts start to take root in your mind. Am I depressed? Is this a life crisis? Why do all of my images look the same? Everyone criticizes my work because it’s no good. Or, in my personal case, I start thinking that maybe it’s time to trade in my gear for a sewing machine or a shiny new fishing kit.

Then the plot thickens when you see those gazillion-follower top shooters somehow enjoy all of the consistency and inspiration in the world. Your work starts to feel like a drop in the ocean compared to their amazing images. You think, “I’m not up top. so it’s time to leave.”

No my friend, it’s time to start seeing things from a different perspective. There’s still hope for us!

I have several ways to rekindle both motivation and inspiration. The following solutions have been tested many times and no photographers have been harmed in the process, so you can try with all the safeness in the world.

Royal Light by Pedro Quintela on

1. Listen to your favorite music or soundtrack in a location you like

I have this love for soundtracks and old songs from the 60’s. So I always carry some great tunes on my mobile phone. ready to be listened to when I visit my favorite locations. Sitting for a while, or walking around, while those songs flow through your head really makes your realize how beautiful life is… and just like that, ideas start flowing again.

If you don’t now what songs are best, do a quick YouTube search for inspirational music and you’ll be surprised how much great material you find.

2. Join a photographic community or group

Becoming a part of a community or group is great because you start to see examples of other’s work, hear stories, and create bonds with fine shooters. If you’re up to it, there’s always someone that will connect with you, helping with his ideas and motivating you to go further in your images.

My whole world changed when I joined 500px. I wouldn’t have created most of my images if I weren’t on here because seeing such great photographers’ work inspired me to try similar things or genres. That motivates me and, on a grander scale, inspires me to shoot more.

Chasing the Sunset by Pedro Quintela on

3. Learn a new technique or try a new type of photography

Some people criticize post-processing, saying it’s “fake” or “isn’t photography at all.” What they often don’t realize is that retouching has existed as long as photography. I’m not talking about creating UFOs and aliens in your photos, but learning a new technique for enhancing your RAW files or trying a different workflow. There are so many free tutorials on the Web—seeing a few of them certainly won’t hurt you.

Trying to capture another type of photography can also perform miracles for your motivation and inspiration. You should shoot the type of photography that makes you happy and gives you the gratification that you seek. No matter how crazy your ideas, are there will be always an avid public to admire it. And as they say: if you didn’t succeed at first, try and try again until you get it!

Revisiting locations you already know can also be a good step forward, because you´ll be motivated to capture it in a different way. Remember that the light changes all the time, and a place can be totally different depending on the time of the day and year you visit it.

4. Buy, rent, or trade in your stuff for new gear

I’m not saying you should spend more money on gear, but sometimes changing a lens—like perhaps start using a 50mm prime for the first time—will force you to see things in a different way. New angles, compositions, and themes start to flow because framing the scene through this new lens is different and challenging.

If you don´t want to or can’t buy a new one, try to rent a new lens or even trade one of yours in for it. There are always other people in the same shoes as you, people who need that lens you don’t use anymore. Good deals can be had for everyone involved, so keep an eye out!

Nothing Left to Lose by Pedro Quintela on

5. Always carry a camera with you

How many times have you though, “if only I had my camera right now!” Nowadays it’s easier than ever to avoid this problem: mobile phones keep getting better each year and many modern mirrorless cameras are small and portable enough to carry around without being a pain in the lower back.

6. Create a wish list of places you want to visit and challenge yourself

About a year ago, I started writing down all the places I see on the Web that wow me, places I want to visit. But wait, there’s more! By searching for images from these locations, I also train my composition, gain new ideas to try in the meantime, and feel happier imagining the moment when I’ll actually get there. Positive thinking always!

Challenge yourself with a project like this, by making all the preparations and thinking ahead to that moment and how you’ll turn your ideas into a beautiful photo.

Hymn To Life by Pedro Quintela on

I hope that my ideas help you in some way. Give me your feedback, and share your personal experience getting remotivated in the comments down below. Happy shooting!