Above: Here's the last set from my shoot at Fight Factory, and that's Mo (you remember Mo from Monday and Tuesday's posts) doing some curls. When he was done, he handed the dumbell to me, and I was pinned to the floor for 40 minutes. Above: Here's the production shot (photo by Brad Moore). Pretty simple set-up, but it's the only one where we actually used all three flashes. The main light is to the left of me, and that's powered by the Ranger RX pack. The kicker light behind him is a bare bulb flash with a metal Grid attached to the front to focus the beam. Then, on the floor right behind Mo, you see the third flash, positioned down low, aiming upward to light the white seamless paper. But, there's a problem. And I caused it. Above: When I first got…
Photo courtesy of B&H Hey gang, Brad here with this week's pimpy stuff. We've got prizes, discounts, some exciting news, and more! If you're debating signing up for the Real World Concert Photography pre-conference workshop with Scott Diussa and Alan Hess at Photoshop World, here's something that might help with your decision...Someone from the class will be going home with a brand new Nikon D7000! The person who gets the best shot from the workshop will win the camera that's been called the Camera of the Year by Engadget, PDN, and Photo Focus, and received CNET's Editor's Choice Award! There are only a few spots left, so sign up now if you want a chance to win, or even if you don't... It's a really fun way to spend a day!
Did you know that you can come to the Photoshop World Expo for FREE?? All you have to do is go sign up for a pass over at the Photoshop World website, then come take advantage of all the free classes from people like Cliff Mautner, Dave Black, Jeremy Cowart, Jack Reznicki, Frank Doorhof, and plenty of other amazing instructors! And, of course, you'll be able to get your hands on all the latest gear too ;) Speaking of great instructors, Rafael "RC" Concepcion's book Get Your Photography On The Web is now back in stock at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Kelby Training Store! Need a high end camera? Need a super telephoto lens for a special shoot or trip? Need to reserve some gear for the wedding you’re shooting two months down the road? Well, you're in luck! Our friends over at LensProToGo…
Developing Personal Projects
As a fine artist, I advance my career with personal projects. Personal projects also create a clearer direction for and develop greater meaning in my life. My life would be unfulfilled without them.
You don’t need to have a fine art career to benefit from personal projects. Many commercial photographers find that personal projects re-energize them, add purpose to their lives and quite often lead to new assignments or whole new streams of income. Many amateurs, making images purely for the love of doing it, find greater satisfaction and personal growth through personal projects.
As an artist who mentors other artists in workshops and seminars, I’ve often been called to speak about the importance of personal projects; how to find them, start them, develop them, complete them, present them, and promote them.
Here’s an overview of what I share.
Defining a project is one of the single best ways to develop your body of work. When you define a project you focus, set goals, set quotas, set timelines, create a useful structure for your images, collect accompanying materials, and polish the presentation of your efforts so that they will be well received.
Focusing your efforts into a project will help you produce a useful product. A project gives your work a definite, presentable structure. A finished project makes work more useful and accessible. Once your project is done, your work will have a significantly greater likelihood of seeing the light of day. Who knows, public acclaim may follow. Come what may, your satisfaction is guaranteed.
Create a mission and set goals.
Define the purpose of your project and what you’d like to achieve through it. Many times, people adopt the mission and goals of others without first checking if those goals are personally beneficial. Some have professional aspirations, others don’t. Your goals will help you determine projects and timelines that are appropriate for you. The few moments (or hours) you spend clarifying why you’re doing what you’re doing and what you’d like to see come of it will save you hours, months, even years by ensuring that you’re going in the right direction – a direction of your own choosing. When you take control of your personal projects, you also take control of your life.
Make a plan to achieve your goals.
A plan will help make your project a reality. A simple action plan is all you need to get started. Action plans define the steps that are required to achieve completion. Action plans should be clear and practical. Action plans should be flexible; odds are, things will not go exactly according to plan and you’ll need to modify your plan to accommodate surprises, both pleasant and unpleasant. Reality happens. Grace happens too. Having defined what you need to accomplish, your unconscious will go to work on the task, generating many ideas. You’ll find yourself ready to make the most of unexpected opportunities as they arise.
Set a timeline.
A timeline can be used to combat procrastination and/or distraction and encourage you to produce work. Set realistic timelines. Unrealistic timelines simply produce frustration.
Identify where and when you’ll need and who will help you.
While many artists define and produce projects themselves, some artists engage a curator, gallery director, publisher, editor, agent, writer, or designer to help them realize a project, in part or in whole. Finding the right collaborator(s) can improve any project. Above all, seek feedback. Seek feedback from people with diverse perspectives whose opinions you value and trust. One thing you can always use, that you can never provide for yourself, is an outside perspective. People with different perspectives may identify ways to improve, expand, or extend the reach of your project. Remember, feedback is food for thought, not gospel. In the end, all final decisions are your decisions; it’s your project.
Stay focused and follow through.
You can work on multiple projects at a time. Be careful that you don’t get scattered. Starting projects is easy. Finishing them is hard. Make sure you’re working on the best project. List all your possible projects and identify the ones that are most important and the ones that are easiest to finish. If you’re lucky enough that the same project fits both criteria, focus all of your efforts there. Otherwise, you’ll have to strike a balance between what’s practical and what’s most important to you. Only you can decide this and the balance is likely to shift as time passes and circumstances develop. Look for a common theme among projects. Often your projects will be related. Focus your efforts in related areas. It’s very likely those areas have greater relevance for you than others. Your work will be perceived as stronger and more cohesive if your projects relate to one another, implying evolution.
What’s your project?
A project is a wonderful thing. It gives direction. It brings clarity. It increases productivity. It produces tangible results. It brings personal growth. It presents your work in the very best light. You and your work deserve this. Pick your projects well. They define not only how other people see you but also what you become. You are what you do. Take the first step today; make a commitment to create a personal project. (Write something right now – put your words somewhere where you’ll constantly be reminded of them and can continue refining them!)
You’ll find an extended version of this content and many other related resources here.
Now, let me speak in more specific and personal terms, as a way of sharing a few more of the insights I’ve found over the many years I’ve developed personal projects.
Above: This was probably my favorite from the gym shoot, and while it was fairly easy to make, the athlete (his name was Reeth) who had to do pull up after pull up until I got it just like I wanted it, had it a lot tougher than I did by a long shot. Above: Here's the production shot (photo by Brad Moore---click for a larger view), and although there are two strobes in the shot (one to my left, as noted in the image, and one behind Reeth, we turned that back one off for this shot after I didn't like how it looked). The one strobe we did use is a flash head connected to a Ranger RX, but to make the light punchier, we removed the front diffuser (you can see it hanging from the bottom of the softbox). We did…
If you're headed to the Photoshop World Conference & Expo at the end of this month (March 30 - April 1) in Orlando, Florida, here's a quick heads up: a few more of the optional pre-conference workshops are about to sell out. Here's where we stand as of yesterday close of business: >> Jim Schmelzer's "Quality of Light" workshop only has 5 seats left >> The Real World Concert Photography workshop has only 8 spots left (and they're giving away a new Nikon D7000 to whomever takes the best shot during the workshop---more on this on Thursday. That's a shot from the workshop above). Here's the link for more details, but if you're going to conference, I would nail down one of these pre-conferences fast before it's too late. See you in Orlando!