SHAKE IT UP!
Over and over again, we are told to create a personal style. As we find our personal style, it starts to become recognizable and that is fantastic. What do we do when the bookings start to come in more and more and the work starts to become, well…work? Many people relish this thought, but coming to terms with the reality of creating the same type of image day in and day out for clients can become a grind.
Several photographers whom I highly respect have had this happen to them in my chosen field of compositing. I find myself struggling with this as well. It can sometimes be a long slog for an image, sometimes up to 40 hours for some of my projects, and it’s not always easy to complete them in a timely manner. Your vision doesn’t always align with the client’s vision, and it can make for images you don’t always find to be your best work.
Another possibility is you become restless in your creativity and want to try other things, but the time isn’t there because you’re creating work for other people and for goodness sake, you’re an artist! You need to experiment and ‘art!’
So, I’m encouraging you to shake it up! If you do epic composite work, try some natural light portraiture (terrifying to me, but I do it every once in awhile). If you make natural light photographs, push your boundaries and try a strobe. If you like landscapes, mix in a human. If you only shoot studio portraits, try some street photography.
Make a simple personal project. For you and only you. What would you like to create? Start doing that thing now. Do it little by little, so you are creating more of what you love. If there is any way that it will make you money in the future, fantastic. If it won’t, that is fine as well. This is for you. Your own personal creativity. Getting you out of the box of other people’s ideas or what other people expect you to post on IG. The expansion of your mind, your eye and possibly even create a new portfolio are great excuses to experiment while creating new content.
What I have been doing for the past several years is to shake up my composite work with portraits and environmental portraits with one or two strobes. Simple work with simple backgrounds, and the editing must be quick. It’s about the opposite of creating a composited image. For me it almost feels like I’m cheating. There is very little pre-planning, and I use some simple umbrella boxes I made that pack really small. For me it’s almost improv photography.
Most of the time it is men I’m photographing for this respite from my work as they are so much easier to photograph for me. I am not trying to recreate the portrait world in these moments. I’m simply trying to capture a moment of time, a beautiful image, and their personality in one simple click of the shutter.
This work is faster, simpler, and different than what I am known for, and on Instagram it doesn’t get as much love most of the time. That’s okay! I’m completely fine with that because it makes me look more broadly at my photography. There is less PS in these images, but there is still some because I don’t feel any shot is complete straight out of camera. Some kind of dodging/burning, color correction, sharpening, etc. is usually needed.
Suggestions For A Photo Shake-Up
Here are some suggestions for you to shake up your photography and create something new:(more…)