March 15, 2022
As professional photographers, sometimes, we may find ourselves in a rut. No matter how passionate we are about our art, shooting the same sort of things all the time can lead to that mundane feeling that often accompanies a routine. While this can sometimes happen, there are some solutions.
Maintaining a commitment to personal projects is one way to minimize this feeling, as is reminding yourself why you picked up a camera in the first place. The common thread here is inspiration—your why! You cannot lose sight of yours!
As photographers, there are times when we crave a strong, personal connection to our work. There are also times when we wish to work on a specific technique or try something new and experimental. These are the times when it’s crucial to work on a personal project. Being committed to personal projects helps us execute our vision, expand our creativity, and fine tune our technical skills—without worrying about a client on the other end of the lens.
Personal projects can also diversify your portfolio and attract new clients. When you do something for yourself and take the client out of the picture (literally or figuratively!), you are free to explore new techniques, get creative, and challenge yourself. This type of freedom is likely to be a catalyst for great work that’ll get you noticed AND get you new clients.
We know the importance of selling albums and tangible items to clients, so don’t forget to print your personal projects for yourself. Practice what you preach. Not only will you be able to hold onto a literal representation of your passion, but it’ll be something to share with others—to inspire, and to demonstrate the unmatched value of print. Hold your work in your hands; display it for others to admire; let your why come to life.
If you’ve had an idea for a personal project in mind then wonderful! During the off-season or downtime, plan out that shoot and make your personal project come to life. If, however, you want to shoot for yourself, but aren’t feeling inspired, take some time and do a little research.
Go on Instagram and find your favorite photographers – what are they shooting and why do you love their photos? Or, find a new photographer that shoots a different subject than you. Analyze their work and find elements that you like and dislike. Take this information and apply it to your own creative vision.
Another place that’s great for finding inspiration is nature! Get outside and go for a walk. Leave the headphones at home and simply look around and listen. As you walk and take in the space around you, an idea may pop into your head.
Lastly, visit the library and pick up some books! While the Internet is vast we often find ourselves pigeonholed into one little part of it. We look at the same photographer’s images and are delivered similar content through algorithms. By visiting the library and flipping through photography books you’ll be introduced to images, ideas, and styles you may have never come across otherwise. There’s power in holding a physical book!
The primary reason for us to shoot personal projects is to spark the enjoyment and passion we initially had for photography (that may have gotten a little blurred along the way). So, take a step back and remember why you picked up a camera all those years ago. It’ll get you out of that rut, relight the flame, and get you back to where you need to be to capture the magic.
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