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Why Shooting Personal Work Will Grow Your Photography Business

Question: With budgets so tight, how can I “practice” the art? It seems that the more experience I get the more expensive the projects can become.

This question is rather difficult to answer without knowing something about who you are, where you have been, and where you are intending to go creatively. I always dislike answering questions with questions, however I love breaking rules more. Don’t you?

Are you asking about personal images? Are you asking about how to make portfolio pieces without incurring huge production costs? Let’s start with the concept of personal work. What is it? What makes it personal? Who cares about it?

Are You Shooting Personal Work or Just Practicing Techniques?

For some, personal work refers to any image that is not assigned by someone else. Some photographers believe that if an image is not assigned, it must be fine art. To make personal work really personal, it must come from your heart.

The Creative Lab Dave Moser Housewives A Series resized 600

© 2011 Dave Moser

Dave Moser’s most recent personal project: Housewives – A Series. Dave has posted the first 25 images in this series on his website. He is still going strong.

Sometimes personal work is confused with testing. For example, a photographer may self-assign a concept to deconstruct someone else’s lighting technique. A photographer may choose an interesting widget that is not so photogenic and find a way of shooting it that makes the ordinary extraordinary. Another may shoot a portrait of someone they have never photographed before in their style. Or someone may be shooting in a style that worked last year or may be looking at other people’s work saying I can do that too.

Creating is Causing What You Love to Come Into Being

It is about passion. It is about innovation. It is about making images that you have never seen before - often working inside/out. Creating demands risk. And that means making mistakes.

Are you willing to grow creatively and do something new that you are truly passionate about? If that is the case, you will be doing something original. There is only one you. Be true to yourself. Your personal work will gather all the energy needed to bring it into being. Then do it again and again until you have a body of work.

Then look inside and begin the process all over again. When we are creating we tap into the abundance of the universe. Trust it. There is enough to go around.

About Ian

Ian offers teleconferences, workshops and career coaching to a wide range of artists. He’s created a new 2-day offering called The Heartstorming Career Redirection Workshop, which is based on the concept that our passions remain more or less the same throughout our careers, however it is vital to take new actions to bring them into being. Heartstorming

Related Articles:

1. Dialogues Podcast: Don’t Fight Change, Embrace It

2. Fitting the “You” in Your Work

3. Creative Collision: Connecting Strategy and Personal Meaning for Success