Landscape expert Mark Bauer advises on the importance of taking time off
Landscape pro Mark Bauer talks the importance of taking some time off
For many people, being a full-time landscape photographer is a dream job. And to be fair, most of the time I feel really privileged to be able to make a living from landscape photography. However, as with any job, if you’ve been doing it for a while you can begin to feel a little jaded. This is especially true if you’re not spending enough time doing the fun bit – taking pictures. The reality is that you spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer screen writing about landscape photography, a lot of time helping others improve their landscape photography, and precious little time actually taking landscape photographs.
As a result, I found that I was feeling increasingly weary. They say that a change is as good as a rest, so I tried running workshops in new places and being more selective in the editorial commissions I took on. This worked for a while but early in 2018, the jaded feeling had returned. It became obvious that what was needed was in fact a complete break.
Fortunately, a situation arose in late spring which meant that work just had to take a back seat. So for four months, I led no workshops, did very little tuition and wrote just a handful of magazine articles. Although not great financially, it was good for the soul and with plenty of work booked for the autumn, I convinced myself not to worry too much about money.
At first I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to head out with the camera and concentrate on my own photography, but the reality was that my creativity had hit a low point. Rather than struggle with this, I decided not to put pressure on myself and only go out shooting if I really felt motivated. I ended up taking a complete break for a couple of months. During this time, I did very little photography and didn’t even think much about it. This turned out to be absolutely the right thing to have done. By the end of the summer, I’d regained my enthusiasm, was champing at the bit to get out with the camera, felt ready to meet clients again and by taking a step back from the day-to-day running of my business, had realised how I could restructure things so as to avoid burnout.
All of us occasionally suffer from these feelings of weariness and lack of creativity. My advice would be to accept that you need some time out. If you take it, you’ll come back refreshed and more than ready to pick up the camera again.
PRO BIOMark Bauer has been a full-time landscape photographer for over 15 years and writes regularly for the photographic press. His latest book, Landscape Photography from Dawn to Dusk (co-authored with Ross Hoddinott), was published earlier this year. MARKBAUERPHOTOGRAPHY.COM