Decompressing after a shoot

Dec 31, 2013
Louisville, Ky
This week I worked what is my biggest shoot. And now my longest running shoot. It is a huge vacation bible school, averaging 460-500 kids. Plus all of the volunteer staff who work it. I am shooting from 8-12 five days a week. Which has me running nonstop all over a large facility, with a 3 story building. There is also the normal multi day event stuff. Like making sure batteries are charged each night. SD cards are ready. Gear bags are re packed for the morning, etc. We do a same day turn around on editing and posting the images, which average 200-250 keepers per day. So parents and families can see what their children did during the day. The media guy I work also takes the images and makes a video slide show to be played each following day. And this year, I had the SiJ. Which I managed to keep up with.

I have a ton of fun doing this. But it is a whole lot of work. And by the end of the week I find myself with a fried out brain. I know that at least a few of my post reflect the crustiness of my brain. Like me mixing up names in the SiJ discussion thread.

This all has lead me to some questions. Do other people get to a point where the need to decompress from photography? Are people who find themselves in a creative funk, uninspired, or wanting a break actually at that point of needing to decompress from photography? And most importantly, what does everyone do to decompress?

Last night, I ultimately found myself sitting in a chair out in my backyard. Holding our chickens and feeding them treats. Oddly enough, that seemed to start doing the trick. Never in my life would I have thought that just sitting and petting chickens would be so relaxing.

I would love to hear what others do to wind down and decompress.


Super Moderator
Aug 13, 2011
Sunny Frimley
Bill Palmer
It's a good question right enough.

I find that doing absolutely nothing is not the answer. It may feel good for a short while but the brain keeps ticking over so a lack of physical activity doesn't quite do it for me.

It's why I am not a beach holiday type (see my increasingly desperate entries in the SiJy threads).

Because a lot of my working life these days is spent in my home office, I don't have the "decompression" of a commute, during which I could quiet my brain before arriving home.

I find I have replaced it with cooking. I'm reasonably competent - my Grandmother was a chef, my Mum taught Home Economics and my second wife used to work in hotel catering so I have had some sound tuition over the years. Prep and presentation require concentration but it is totally different from what I have been engaged in so it relaxes me.

Does that make sense?


Super Moderator
Nov 11, 2011
Milwaukee, WI USA
I have never tried it, but I think coloring books might work. It engages the brain on a very low level and can almost be like "zoning out".

When I need to clear my head, a brisk walk usually helps......sometimes with headphones...sometimes just tuned into the sounds around me....birds in trees, traffic, etc.
Dec 31, 2013
Louisville, Ky
Part of what I was doing last night was tuning into nature. The sounds, grass on bare feet, etc. Today I've been sleeping and resting to recoup before getting back into more of a normal routine.

I thinking the next time I need to decompress that much, I may try my other shooting hobby. It usually gets my brain in a zen state, letting go of everything and focusing on breathing and the target.


Super Moderator
Aug 7, 2011
Jersey Shore
I have a long commute aboard a bus to and from New York City each day. So I have that for work. Other than that, pets are always good. I also have motorcycling - good for almost anything that ails me. Concentrating and "being in the zone" are necessary conditions of riding a motorcycle. So everything else must be pushed away.


Oct 27, 2010
I don’t do photography for a living but when I used to be a nurse, working in a (more than it had to be) highly stressful environment, I USED photography to completely clear thoughts of work from my head. Thankfully I got out of that job and am now working in an interesting (sadly much more hours, less pay) but stress-free job, I find I don’t need photography to decompress anymore. So I tend to just pick up my camera these days when travelling (which I do a lot) or these single-in challenges.
Dec 31, 2013
Louisville, Ky
@Briar I have several good friends who are nurses. It seems most to be a stressful, and often thankless and misunderstood job. Meaning that there are many people who think nurses spend most of the day on break. When in reality, nurses mis breaks, meals, etc. You definitly have my respect.

@rayvonn I love Beetles. So much fun. Project cars are currently on the wife's ban list after my 86 Landcruiser. She says her, and our bank account need some recovery time.

Photography is not my main job. Or even a job most of the time. Now that I've retired from the con/festival circuit and weddings. This VBS shoot is my last massive event shoot. Photography is mainly part of my everyday life/adventures. And I've found I really enjoy the creativity of portrait work. While taking some paid clients in that area, and doing collaborations or free shoots at other times. Like many, photography is often my decompression from something else. But I found myself in a situation where I needed to decompress from photography. And unsure exactly how to go about it.


Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
Hot Tub, New Order, Fireball. That should work for most people. Maybe not "New Order", substitute favorite music.

But not decompressing from Photography, that is part of my decompression. More like decompressing from a day of work that meetings get in the way of writing code. Somedays- after lots of meetings, I've decompressed by coming home and writing FORTRAN code to process DNG files from my Leicas. That does not work for most people. Also taking lenses apart, and giving a good CLA- again, not for most people.


Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
But not decompressing from Photography, that is part of my decompression.
+1 - but I fully get the situation from which this thread originated. If I find my desire to go out and shoot waning, I know I pushed myself too far on the whole - but usually, picking up a camera and doing in spite of my lack of enthusiasm helps anyway ... Walking around with my eyes wide open is regenerative in itself as far as I am concerned.


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