The process of becoming a professional portrait and wedding photographer goes a little something like this:
You get your hands on a camera and you’re in looooove. You want to photograph ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING. That tree? Ummm yess! That door knob? Duh!! The neighbor’s cat? Absolutely!!! That dumpster? Well yeah!!! It’s a shutter frenzy as you snap away at everything that moves…..and plenty of things that don’t. Then…you photograph your first person and OH how your life changes! You quickly become a people’s photographer, photographing everyone you’re related to, then all of your friends, then acquaintances, then…basically anyone who won’t punch you for getting your camera all up in their grill. Yes, PEOPLE are your passion, anyone from age 0 to 101 is your ideal client! Then you get your first paying job and you’re just delighted! You quickly print up business cards that lay out all of your specialties “_________ ________ Photography, capturing creative moments for families, weddings, newborns, maternity, seniors, head shots, children, and more!” But, with time….your preference’s change and soon you find yourself zoning in to one niche. Whether it be newborns, weddings, or seniors, you find that one area that you belong! And you go on about your way, photographing your area of expertise for the next 5 decades. Happily ever after.
BUT….it’s bound to happen. Sometime in those 50 years of happiness, you become uninspired. You start remembering those first few blissful months in the “dating” stage with your camera and wonder how you managed to be so creative and content photographing a spider web??? Because it’s true, the more you saturate your desires as a photographer, the harder it becomes to maintain that constant creativity and passion! As the newness fades, it becomes a constant battle to rock it out and keep your work fresh!
So what this all leads to are my top 5 tips for caring for your creativity!
1). Stop shooting anything you don’t love. You got into this field because you love it. Don’t continuously take on jobs that will associate your camera with dread. I know, I know, you need to make money….but if you are looking at your camera with contempt and pouting, as you head off to shoot something that’s NOT your thing, you are doing a disservice to that client AND yourself. So if the issue is money, keep in mind that nothing will make you more money in the long run than sticking to the area you ROCK in and not burning yourself out in others!
2). Immerse yourself in other arts. We all spend too much time scouring Pinterest and other photographer’s blogs. (Wait…did I just speak for all of us? Okay, sorry guys. But you know you do!!) And yes, it’s awesome and inspiring, but sometimes it’s nice to mix up the routine! Lately I have been incredibly inspired by music. I’ve even been bringing a portable speaker to my shoots! Whether it be music, fashion, painting, or graphic design…take a step back and appreciate other art forms out there. What do you love about those artists? What do you think makes them tick?
3). Start shooting what you do love. If the right jobs aren’t coming your way, get out there and find them! Don’t just sit around. If you are putting effort into personal projects that leverage your brand, then you are lining yourself up to attract those ideal clients and all the while, fine-tuning your skills. So what if you lose a little money by shooting something “just for fun”, if it’s what you love, it will show in the final product and THAT will pay off.
4). Take the backseat. So you’re probably used to being the ring leader at your shoots/weddings. That’s the best way to be creative, right?! You gotta be in the prime spot for the “good angle”. Wrong! Second shooting is such an awesome learning experience and I will try my best to never get too busy for it. Even if you have been shooting for 10 years, there are still some things you can learn from working alongside another photographer. For example, when they take that “good spot” for a shot, where do you go? Being forced to think outside of the box can lead to a whole new world of perspective. If you’re not a wedding photographer, set up a collaboration shoot with a photographer friend. Two creative minds working together can set a shoot on fire! It’s such a refreshing experience.
5). Rest and live. If you let your entire life revolve around photography and let it be the ONLY thing you get enjoyment from, you will get burnt out that much quicker. Take a step back. Do some of the other things you love. Like sleeping!!!….. I’m not even kidding. Sleep is important! An exhausted photographer won’t be the most creative one. Above all, just LIVE LIFE! See the world, meet new people, and seek inspiration from it all!
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