Toy photography anxiety

It’s been well over a week since I took any toy photos and I’m starting to get anxious.

Pose skeleton hugging a LEGO teddy bear
When anxious, hug something.

I’ve had this before, but previously, with projects and blog ideas on the go, I’ve pushed through. But now? I’m struggling to pick up the camera. It’s sitting on my desk, accusing me of abandonment. Toys are piled high next to it, waiting for that inspiration to strike and the motivation to be gathered to head out and shoot.

K2-SO in a puddle
Treading water.

I’m starting to panic though. It’s a little scary to feel this lack of interest. Where did my inspiration go? Will it come back? Will I ever have new photos to share?

(OK, OK, over-exaggeration here. I know I will! But when I’m sitting looking at my camera, which is staring at me in a lonely looking way, it’s hard to cope with.)

Things I have to shoot:

  • a pile of un-photographed series 18 figures
  • an  abandoned toy dinosaur (still unnamed)
  • the arch-to set
  • my Brick Headz
  • any of the other million toys around the house

But all this seems meaningless when I have lost the impulse to pick up my camera and take photos. Of toys, or of anything else for that matter.

I’m not really even doing much of anything really. All hobbies on pause. I’m just mooching around, hanging out in my hammock. (Seriously, go get a hammock! Best thing ever!)

Rubber gnome on a bridge
Bridge guard.

So for this week, I’ll accept that there are no new stories. No new toy photos. And that maybe sometimes that’s okay. Instead, I can use the downtime to share some of the photos in my archives that I haven’t shared yet. There’s plenty there after all!

LEGO scuba diver in beans
Time for bean scuba.

This post features a whole bunch of unshared photos from the last Toy Safari I went on (to Edinburgh with the Stuck in Plastic gang).

In addition to providing photos for this post, looking through my unedited archive got me really excited for the upcoming toy safaris that are happening! Oregon in May (where I will live vicariously through other people’s photos of what’s going on as I can’t make the 10 hour flight) and Paris, where I will be heading in June!

LEGO Snape harvesting potions ingredients
Spending some down time in the garden.

How do you cope with down periods of photography? Do you get anxious about it? Do you push yourself on, or do you accept that photos are not an ‘always’ thing? Do you find that the need to keep posting on social media forces you to take photos or just makes you feel more anxious about the lack of photos?

  • Lizzi

P.S. Since writing this post, I totally got a little inspired and took some LEGO pics at a Kendo tournament. More on that next week. Awesome.

21 Comments

  1. Baked Bean Scuba Man! That was such a fun breakfast 🙂
    I’m with you, I’ve got loads of figures I want to shoot but I’m feeling low on inspiration at the moment. Forcing myself to shoot never ends well because I’m not in the right mindset to enjoy it, and I end up hating everything that I have shot. But I’ve always found that my creativity comes and goes in waves. So my tactic is to just let the lull wash over me and then when the mood strikes, I’m be refreshed and ready to press the shutter again!
    Hope that you get your mojo back soon, don’t stress out about it 🙂

  2. James Ippoliti

    I get like this with all my hobbies. I know I do and often I quit. What I did this time around is a photo a day on instagram. There is at least one National Day every day of the year. I post one a day and there is always a day so I don’t get blocked on what to shoot. Having a commitment to a goal has helped. It doesn’t have to be every day but it has to be a clear goal to keep taking photos ( once a week, once a month, etc) I think everyone feels this way. Currently I am just not liking how my photos are coming out, which is discouraging. They always look better in my head. But I’m learning. As long as I keep to my commitment that is all that matters right now to me. Glad that hear you took some photos.
    My instagram: Minifig_A_Day

    • Thanks for your comment James! I do think that having gone from daily posting to no real schedule has confused my creative side of the brain, but it’s slowly coming back!

      Hope that your photos start to look like they do in your head! That’s always a struggle! 🙂

  3. One of my mentors once gave the sage advice that the creative process is cyclical. We all have periods where we are highly motivated and productive, and periods where we’re not. That is just natural and the way life goes. We need to give ourselves permission to have periods of downtime, as that is often when our batteries recharge, and ideas percolate…. and someday you will wake up, be inspired, and possible end up creating your best work ever.

    So take heart! What you are experiencing is entirely normal, and forcing it it often doesn’t help. You’ll get back into the swing of things soon enough.

    Plus, if you think about it, beating yourself up about down time is kind of silly. Unless you make your living from your photography, this should be a fun and rewarding hobby. If you’re not into it at the moment, no one is getting hurt, so just let it be. Give yourself permission to not be creating all the time. It is OK – you’re just recharging for the next round of awesome.

    A couple months ago I had a similar issue – I wasn’t feeling creative at all. Nothing I did would motivate me to pick up a camera and shoot. It was agony, for sure. Frustrating as hell. Then one day I woke up, went into my studio, and in 4 hours I had shot my Scenes From A Street Corner series – 20 images, some of which are the best received work I’ve ever done.

    Creativity… man… its a struggle. When things are flowing it can be euphoric. When its not it can be a tortuous courting of the bitch goddess Disaster.

    The best thing you can do is give yourself permission to have down time. Good luck!

  4. Yes! I get anxious when I haven’t taken photos in awhile. I worry that I’ll lose momentum and never get it back. But I’ve learned that creativity comes spurts, so I try not to stress over the down time (it’s not easy though). Sometimes if I’m lacking in time or inspiration, I’ll do something simple like minifig portraits with an easy background. Often that’s enough to get me going again 🙂

    I’m looking forward to the Kendo photos!

    Lynn

  5. I get anxious with this subject too! For me, taking toy photos is a way to reduce stress, and when things don’t work as I want (idea vs real photo), I get frustrated.
    Sometimes the best to do is to take a break and hope for better days 🙂

  6. brett_wilson

    Lizzi, it must be this time of the year. Maybe it’s the changing seasons? Or maybe it’s the hammock? How ace are hammocks?!
    I can count on one hand how many times I’ve picked up my camera in the last month. That’s mainly because I post weekly and there has to be at least one photo per post. Ah, maths!
    I’ve come to learn to embrace these times. I used to post daily on social media. It wasn’t a decided thing, it just happened. But the pressure to perform really sucked the creativity out of my shots. Now I post when there’s a photo that I think deserves to be posted, not when a date ticks overs.
    Plus, you’ve shown that you have plenty of fodder to revisit and delight us with!
    My only worry is that I’ll have forgotten how to shoot when I’m at the Oregon Toy Photo Safari? At least I’ve got four posts in draft for while I’m away that I need to shoot for. I’m sure they’ll refresh my memory.
    Now, get back in that hammock and enjoy it!

    • Thanks Brett! The hammock is a dream! Now I just need the sunny weather to return! It’s gone back to UK rainy days!

      Good luck in Oregon, I’m sure all the photographers there will re-inspire you! 😀

  7. You’re definitely not alone, Lizzi! I go through these periods too, and feel equally anxious about it. It worries me specifically because I’ve often given up hobbies entirely over the years. I used to be super into creative writing, making short films, played instruments, had a series of videos where I filmed and interviewed local bands… Eventually they were all things I gave up for exciting new hobbies! I’ve long wondered if toy photography would be the same.

    Luckily it hasn’t, though lately I’m not shooting as much as I was a few months ago. And when I am shooting, I’m not posting very often. Maybe there’s something in the air? I’m hoping the upcoming meetup will get my creative energies going again. I’m glad to hear that the Kendo tournament may have done just that for you. Can’t wait to see your shots!

    • Thanks James! I’m totally concerned that if I stop shooting, it will fall out of favour as a hobby! I don’t think it will, but it’s always an underlying thought! Just posting this has helped, and with toy safaris up and coming, I’m hoping it will click into place! Have fun in Oregon!

  8. JP

    I have almost the opposite problem, too many ideas and not enough time. I envy people who post weekly, or more frequently. I’m sure I will be on the side of not being motivated at some time, but wonder if it is because i am still new to this hobby that;s it’s motivating me like it is, but a couple of years down the ride I could be in the same seat you guys…. great topic for a blog subject, thanks for sharing

  9. Definitely have experienced this. It’s a weird feeling, to look at the toys and just see toys instead of characters and stories and ideas. But it passes, if you let it. Downtime is fine, but creative people are never silent for long. 😉

  10. Sorry you have anxiety about it, but I’m glad you dug up all these wonderful images to post! I’m pretty prolific at shooting photos on the toy safaris or when I travel, so I “stock up” on images that I can post later when I’m my usual busy self at home. I often go weeks at a time without picking up my camera but I’m OK with that.

    I actually think taking breaks can be a good thing too! It may freshen up your perspective and allow you to create something you might not have when constantly churning out content!

    ps. I need to get a hammock!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.