As artists, we can tend to get in a rut by going through the motions in our day to day lives. We thrive on pleasing our clients and making them happy, but what are we doing to make ourselves happy as artists? In my 12 years of experience, I have learned that if I don’t take time to schedule creative projects for myself and not for a client, then I would burn out by the end of the year. A creative project could be a styled wedding shoot, headshots, brand shoots, going on a walk and taking pictures of nature or animals, or just anything out of your daily norm. I may be preaching to the choir on this one, but for those who need to hear it, here are some tips for planning personal creative projects that will make your heart sing and your portfolio grow.
1- Create a vision board with things that inspire you and photos that you want to take.
This is a great time to think outside the box and do something your clients wouldn’t normally do. Be a trend setter or show your potential clients what you can do with different color pallets or designs. Last year I was asked to do a bridal session with a horse, which has always interested me. I am a little bit country in my heart and love trying new things that I haven’t done before. Since this was just a creative shoot, I wasn’t under any pressure to please a client and I had more freedom to do what inspired me. I teamed up with a great dress company, found the right model (who also happened to have a horse and property), and a hair and makeup artist who I enjoy working with. We set a date, a good time for the best light and went for it. The shoot ended up being absolutely magical! It was definitely something I was able to check off my bucket list.
2- Find creatives that you want to work with.
There are so many talented people out there in the world, so you are sure to have people you are dying to work with. After I create a vision board, I send a message to the other creatives I want to work with and ask them if they are interested or available. Once they respond back to you that they are available, send them the vision board and what you are hoping to achieve with this shoot. I love teaming up with other creatives because it also provides a chance to connect with other people in your industry that will allow you to easily work with one another in the future. I’ve met many of my close friends by doing this.
3- Look for places that might want to publish your work.
Last year I wanted to photograph a bride wearing a pink dress. I know, crazy right? However, it turned out better than I ever could have imagined and it even got picked up by Style Me Pretty. Wedding and fashion blogs love things that are unique and provide their readers with something that they don’t usually see. A pink wedding dress may have sounded crazy a couple years ago, but now they are becoming more popular. Maybe it’s because bride’s started to see how elegant they actually can be. Do you see how showing people new things can work to your advantage? Plus, it helps with your visibility and SEO.
By the end of any creative project, you should feel inspired and thrilled with your images. You should have tried new techniques, new angles, or something you don’t normally do. It’s okay if you are frustrated or feel like you could have done better. This are the best times to make mistakes. If you didn’t feel amazing after your personal project, let me know. I would love to help you come up with some ideas on how to achieve one that will make you inspired and encouraged to keep creating them.
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