2. Turn and Walk Ten Paces
To overcome editor’s block, you need to distance yourself from the work so you can look at it objectively. So, put some physical distance between yourself and your screen! I often edit in coffee shops, so I take frequent strolls for napkins. As you walk, focus on colorful objects and accustom your eyes to outdoor light. This will reset your internal white balance, which helps when you’re struggling with an overdone edit.
As you return, stop a couple yards from your screen. Especially if your vision is less than 20/20, images create a completely different impression from a distance as fine details disappear and you’re left with larger details. Ironically, poor vision can help you discover overall problems in an image. There’s one downside to this technique: the stack of unused napkins that mark where I sat.
3. Work With Your Creative Cycle
Don’t reproach yourself for not being able to produce creative work at a time or in an environment that isn’t your best. You may have to pull that off for client work, but in your fine art photography, it’s okay to work with creative highs and lows. You probably have a particular time, day of the week, or environment where you produce your best work, so be introspective and learn from it! My creative cycle is strongly correlated with the time of day: in the morning, I am overly critical, but in the evening I’m more poetic. Mornings are the best time for me to do more technical work to take a photo from 85 percent to 99 percent, while evenings are the best time for me to discover potential photos and try new techniques.
I’ve been struggling with photos from my last trip to Scotland. The color palette is especially challenging, so in the evening, I try different directions and reevaluate in the morning. Here’s an unfinished shot that is making its way out of post-production purgatory, one day at a time.