Follow Your Intuition

How many times in a day are you faced with having to make a choice? What time do I need to wake up? What should I wear? What should I eat for breakfast, etc…. That’s within the first hour of the day. Everyday we have to make hundreds if not thousands of decisions. How do we know what to do, which path to take?

As an Artist, the decision making process is amplified. As we walk through the creative process we often second guess ourselves. What lens should I use? What background do I put my subjects in? White or black dress, hat or no hat, etc… The list of creative options goes on and on. Do you ever feel a bit overwhelmed?

On one hand the creative process can be the most exhausting, nerve racking experience an Artist has to go through. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could make a creative decision knowing that you are 100% right every time? I’m going to let you in on a secret that will revolutionize your photography.

First, have you ever watched American Idol, the X Factor, or one of those types of shows where the judges give advice? What do they say over and over. “Take a risk and be yourself.” “Do what feels right, and let it all hang out.” You see, originality will always trump those who copy. When you copy someone’s artistic vision, you will always blend with the masses because there is a line out the door of copiers. If you be yourself, you will stand out from the crowd.

So, how does the creative process work in the real world? For starters, there is this annoying voice that seems to chatter over our shoulder as we come to a crossroad and have to make a creative decision. It goes something like this, ”Are you sure you doing it right? Someone’s not going to like what you’re doing,” and it goes on and on. You start to think about your photography teacher and what he or she would say. And of course there are your friends, colleagues, not to mention the social media crowd. All this chatter is playing inside your head as you are trying to figure out which modifier you should put on your strobe.

Since you were born you have been practicing one thing over and over. From what shoes to wear to what music you listen to, you have been formulating what you like and dislike. It turns out, you are pretty good at it. You have a personality, temperament, history of years on this planet, that all play a factor in your decision making process. It all feeds into your intuition and is the culmination of who you are. It’s your uniqueness.

I have a quote that I repeat over and over to my workshop attendees, “You are unique, one of a kind, there is no one on the planet just like you.” This thing called your intuition is the ticket to you being a creative force. If you are in sync with your intuition, it will never lead you astray. NEVER! How do I know that? Because Art is the manifestation of self-expression. The creative process should be driven by the very core of who you are. No one should be able to tell you you’re off track.

The problem with most Artist/Photographers, is we never really trust our intuition and are constantly being swayed by other’s opinions. Often our creative process lacks the skill-set to compete in the marketplace. If you want to be a world class violinist you have to practice your craft six to eight hours a day. Just ask one. It’s no different in photography. The best photographers in the world out practice 99.9 percent of all other photographers on the planet. They take a risk by following what comes natural, their intuition.

When I set up my lights and build a portrait, how do I know I am on the right track? When it feels right! That’s right, when my intuition, my feeling and my emotions tell me it is right, I can’t go wrong. Because I end up with something that is unique that fits me to a T. A flash meter will never tell you where to put your lights, or what modifier to use, or how far you place it from your subject. This is reserved for the creative mind and falls on the shoulders of your intuition. Stop listening to the chatter of other’s opinions and follow the single greatest asset you posses as an Artist, your very own intuition.

You can see more of Joel’s work at JoelGrimes.com, and follow him on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

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  1. I look forward to each and every ‘guest blog’ and this is certainly one of my favorites of late. Joel’s column (and advice) struck me as being straight from his heart. It reminded me of a quote that syncs up exactly with his advice. “Intuition doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, but rather what you need to hear”. Thx. Joel for a highly motivational and eye opening piece!

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