May 30, 2012

Keeping it Fresh

by Cindy Larkin

I have found that being a photographer can be one of the most creative things I get to do in my little world.  But sometimes, when I get really busy with it, it becomes just another job on my to-do list, and I'd like to take my camera and shove it where the sun doesn't shine.

On one such stressful weekend, my friend Kim invited me over for a cup of tea, and to pick some fresh veggies from her lovely garden.  After we chatted for a while about kids and life, her doorbell rang and I found myself sitting alone, beneath the umbrella of the patio furniture. 

I don't recall how long I was there, or how long it had been since I'd had a moment to quiet my mind, but slowly I started to notice her garden in a new way.

The sun overhead was lower in the sky, and the heat from the day was held back by the retaining wall. I could hear a lawn mower sputtering away in the distance, and the smell from the lemon tree was faint in the air.

Just then a hummingbird darted in close, as if to say "hello", and then was off again as soon as it had come. As I stood up from my chair and began walking around, I remembered the camera that was draped around my neck (a usual spot for it in those days). Although I had missed the tiny bird, I didn't want to miss anything else. The details of the garden became magical as I gave them some undivided attention.

When the business of photography gets dull, and life gets crazy, carve out some time to just enjoy a new location--{Just you and your camera}--no models, no time constraints, no plan. 
A walk on the beach, a trip to the park, or some alone time in your own backyard, can give you a fresh perspective, and a renewed love for the simple things in life--and maybe even your camera.



Tiffany Burke:  "My approach to keeping my photography fresh is to continually listen to my heart. I try not to compare my work to others and I truly look inside to find what it is that makes my soul sing. I ask myself questions about who I truly want to be as a photographer, not only technically but emotionally as well. And I let that emotion resonate with me as I am shooting. Then I just let my camera capture what my heart guides my eyes to see. It's all about allowing my heart to see the image before it is taken".

Matt & Agnes Hage:  "We do occasionally get pretty fried and take some time off. Last year was absolutely frenetic; we shot over 200 days. And then busted down to NZ with a tight deadline to meet. After we got that job taken care of we settled into this really nice mountain town and took 10 days off. That means minimal email, phone and packing the photo gear away. Depending on how burnt we are, it takes 4-6 days before we get the itch to flex the creative muscles again. Then we usually play around with some low-key personal work; no deadlines, no expectations, no stress. Just having fun. And if we're not feeling it, the camera goes away for another couple days. We've also gotten better at taking vacations in places that don't fit our usual clientele; cities and beaches. That way we're not temped to try to do work".

Leaha Bourgeois: 
1. Read- Blogs, Blogs, Blogs
2. Listen to podcasts on business smarts
3. Community- I joined "Showit" and we meet once a month
4. Mentor- I mentor folks to give back...and I usually get it back in return
5. Don't be afraid to take risks
6. Compare yourself to yourself

7. Focus on being DIFFERENT, not better than someone else

Sally Mk:  I'm actually at tht stage now... So at the moment, I'm just looking at images in flickr to get new ideas on how to improve my images. Also I try to shoot something that I havent tried before. 

Adrienne Griffin:  To keep my photography fresh, if i shoot in the same area alot I will try to get a shot that I have never gotten before.  I also like to try different lighting techniques to make the scene look different. Inspiration comes from other photos I have seen previously either online or in a magazine.

Kevin Hulett: "Shooting for yourself, with absolutely no pressure on deadline or giving the client what they want is huge.  I always make it a point to stop and breathe, or take a break. It's hard to break out of the routine from normal shoots of quick-quick-quick-perform! So when you can, it not only allows you to be more calm and creative, but you tend to leave the shoot excited, re-fueled and ready for more. I've found that reading more and free-writing when you're stuck, really helps too".

Troy Hoskins:  "First is to recognize when I'm not progressing.  Once I see that, I force myself outside my comfort zone, trying things I have no clue about".

Lainee Read:  "Experiment- It's easy to get in a rut with either shooting in the same locations or in your editing- Stylized shoots are a good way to take the time to push your creativity. I also like to experiment with shooting at different times of the day- brave the sun!!!

Wendy Clymore:  "I Shoot for myself occasionally. It gives me a chance to try all the fun stuff I have been wanting to try that I can’t ever seem to work into my normal shoots".

Valerie Hart:  "Taking classes and workshops help bring in new techniques that I can then apply to my personal style. I take inspiration from everything such as books, movies, magazines and then try to create a shoot off of that inspiration. I also go shoot for myself. No pressure, no time line...just go and shoot whatever I want, the way I want".

Sharee Jones:  "Being part of a serious critique photography group, who take the crafting of the final product very seriously can be beneficial. Also, working and putting your work in competitions where you go before a panel of judges, or taking an upper division photography course from a University where your classmates and professors will be your critique group can be rewarding".

Rex Winteron:  "I take workshops, whether it has to do with composition, lighting, flash, or landscapes, every few months, to stay sharp".

Marlie Warren: 
I focus on being different.  Come up with your own personal projects from time to time. 

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