Forcing Myself Out of a Creative Drought
Even if I don't know where to begin.

David Butler Posted by David Butler on July 3, 2019


As a commercial photographer, I sometimes feel like I am the luckiest guy in the world… I love what I do, and I cant believe its my job! That being said, there can be months that go by, and I don’t pick up my camera and create for myself, and there comes a point where I really need to re-charge, and force myself to find the time, energy, and opportunity to create new work, even if I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN!!

Way too often, my procrastination comes from these inner thoughts- “where would I start?”, ” I don’t have anything interesting around me to shoot”, “my work is terrible, and I should just quite (haha, this is daily FYI)”, “lets just wait, I will sketch out some concepts, then gather some materials/props”, etc…. ALL of these are valid excuses to talk myself out of shooting, but they are just that… excuses.

Ill be honest, as I was forcing myself to take advantage of some down time and create some personal work, I just wasn’t feeling it… My wife even asked me (as I was aimlessly walking around the studio gathering some items), “what are you doing?”, and I literally had no idea, I said “ creating” (thats the best I could come up with without sounding like an idiot). I just knew I had to start moving lights around, and wait for the creative mind to tell me what to do instinctually.

Its a little like when I would pick up the pencil to draw, and I really had know idea what I wanted to draw… but I would make a line and another line, and eventually a lot of lines that start giving me ideas… next thing you know I off in my own world, engaged in another level of thought, creating from the subconscious.

For me, I have always found myself to be most creative when I am under some limitations… like money, time, gear, space, or in this case a subject. I gave myself the restriction of coming up with something that I already have in the studio… and with that, I started with leaves, then got the idea of pairing it with what is essential in nature, and what gives it life… Water. This collection I ended up shooting brought me back to the basics of the pure magic of the photograph, and the process behind capturing the essence of a subject with a click. I knew as soon as I added the water, my subconscious mind took over, and was on a quest to create something tranquil, and harmonious. I need to create something I could feel… and for that reason alone, these images are successful.

Anyways, I wanted to share some of the images from the shoot, some behind the scenes, as well as some of my thoughts, because I imagine I am not alone in this creative roller coaster.


“Trust the Process”- Tom Petit

All images above ©2019 David Butler. All rights reserved.

More About David Butler

David ButlerDavid Butler is a Boston based Commercial Product & Still Life Photographer and Digital Artist specializing in high-end luxury products and other forms of natural still life. I collaborate with professional brands and creative leaders to craft images that showcase their vision and their product in all forms of print and digital media. Clients include Kuerig, Sam Adams,Tide, iRobot, Rockport shoes, Company, Bose, CenturyLink, Staples, and many more.

More About David Butler