June 19, 2014

on inspiration

Inspiration always ebbs and flows. After picking up photography seven years ago, nothing is more obvious to me than this. Every year I find myself "in a rut" and every year I struggle to pull myself out.

When I completed my 365 in 2010, I always knew that tomorrow I had the chance to do better. Maybe today I was busy, bogged down with work & school & college applications, but I knew that the choice to do better was always on the horizon. All it took was a short walk down to the playground or the soccer field and I knew my creative mojo would come back.

Today, it seems harder for me to tap into inspiration when I run out of ideas. It's harder for me to "just wing it" like I always have in the past. I do, however, have a few methods of looking for inspiration that I didn't know how to do a few years ago. 

Read. Read a lot. Books, magazines, articles, blogs. I've always been an avid reader and now I've learned to appreciate how the words of others can aide in the inspiration department. Right now, I've been slowly making my way through The Happiness Project and trying to identify and take the steps necessary to leading a more fulfilling life.

I also find myself going back into the archives of A Beautiful Mess as well as Elise Blaha Cripe's blog, enJOY it, to look for inspiration. Elsie & Emma have grown their business and their brand from the ground up and I love that they've documented everything along the way. Elise frequently blogs about goal setting and small business (and cool DIYs! Project Life! Her awesome family!) and she is someone I aspire to be like when I grow up. Her advice to "just start" is always perfect to read when I need that extra push to get an idea off the ground. 

Speaking of archives, I frequently go through my own as well, both on the blog and on my flickr page. Reading my own words and seeing past photos can sometimes spark something in me to see things in a different light. I look for different poses I've used, certain ways that I have manipulated different lighting setups to work for me, and when all else fails as least I know that my own work goes through phases as I do in my life. It's interesting to see where my work was say, four years ago during my first 365 and when I was in art school as opposed to where it is now when I am a broke twenty-something trying to figure out how to chase my dreams. 

Music is another big point for me. I have a whole set on flickr dedicated to interpreting song lyrics into photos. Music brings out so many emotions in people, it sets the tone for a lot of my own memories and it's fun to take those words that other people have written and put my own spin on them. 

Pinterest, while it can be a huge time suck, is another tool I turn to for inspiration when I need it. I have a whole board just for photo inspiration full of photos from my favourite photographers and random things I've found while browsing. It's nice to have all of my visual inspiration in one place. 

Right now, I'm in the process of going through seven years of archives and making a hardcover portfolio that I can show to future potential clients. It's exciting to see how far my work has come since 2006. I was a baby, fourteen years old and taking pictures of everything I could. Now I've tackled one successful 365 self portrait project, one 52 weeks project and am in the process of seeing another one through to completion. I have taken a million self portraits. I have photographed 26 seniors since I started taking photography seriously, the summer before my senior year of high school. I've dabbled in fashion photography, as well as families, babies, weddings and events. I'm confident in all of the experience I have under my belt that I can make a career out of this. 

I worked at a portrait studio for a year and a half that gave me such a great opportunity to learn what it takes to run a business, a lesson in efficiency, and how to provide awesome customer service. My time with Lifetouch was such an eye opening experience and I would absolutely do it again if I could. 

I can find inspiration everywhere. You can too. Just believe in yourself and the journey you're on and you can do it.

*some links throughout are affiliate, which means if you purchase something I receive a small commission

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with compiling the portfolio! The work of yours that I've seen has all been beautiful. I also have trouble with the ebb and flow of inspiration. What I do to maintain it is develop a rigorous daily practice. I sort of get into the habit of being creative.