Do you ever have one of those days where you think of a million things that would be super awesome to do and then turn around and have a few days of nothing…zilch…no inspiration? I had one of those days this week and I just wanted to go home, curl up in my bed, and sleep the world away.
But I didn’t get that chance.
I looked through my inspiration notebook and found some ideas that had been running around in my head during one of my (many) sleepless nights and decided to get to work on those. It has kept me busy and kept me occupied and hasn’t allowed my brain to wander and the best part is, I felt productive! I just love it when I get things done! When I get creative I work…a lot. I also decided to knock a few things off my to-do list. (Yes, I was feeling quite ambitious!)
I had also been asked by a photographer to look through her work and give her a few critiques. I am pleased to say that there were so many wonderful things I was able to say. She has stayed away from all the “trendy” things like selective color, overusing props, etc. Her images were what I would call “timeless”. It made me start thinking about the trends in photography and what people will think of them in 10 year or 25 years even.
Being able to check some things off my to-do list allowed me some time to look through my images and think about where I want them to be and what I want them to look like.
I don’t want my images to be overdone or out-of-date (eventually I know they will, but I hope that is a long time down the road!). I see photographers get swept up in their “I know how to put text on photos” mindset and every photo has a name, a quote, or a (weak) attempt at graffiti. (Sorry, that is an art and you have to know what you are doing to get that to look natural!).
In 15 years do you think that client would want an image that says her name and Senior 2012 (or an inspirational quote) on it or do you think she would rather have a beautiful black and white portrait? They both would be considered art, but I think the b&w would be the one she would prefer to display. It has that “timeless” feature that images need to be a lasting work of art.
It’s easy to get swept up in the here and now and to try to copy every photographer and every prop just to keep up, but realistically, you may be doing your own art and photography a disservice by doing that. You don’t want to be known for using every prop every made, you want to be known for your images!
Start keeping a photographer’s journal of ideas, even if you have to keep it on your bedside table. Write down the things that inspire you. Create a bookmark on your computer labeled “Inspiration and Creativity” and bookmark the things that speak to you and make you want to create. Join Pinterest if you haven’t already and you will be guaranteed to find all sorts of things that will spark your creativity. (If you need an invitation to Pinterest, let me know and I will send you one! If you are already on there…head over and follow me HERE.)
Don’t follow the crowd, break away from the crowd. Shoot images in a way that reflects you, your vision, and the values you have for your business. Don’t be swayed by trying to keep up with what other photographers are doing. If someone says “I have this awesome idea, we want our image of our baby black and white except the diaper.” you have the opportunity to say “Well, selective color might be cute, but why don’t we try **insert great idea** to get some amazing images that you will love even more…” and then rock those shots. In that way, you didn’t tell your client “NO! I don’t do that!”, but you led them to an image that in several years they will still love. You want them to keep coming back to your for your great work that they are proud to hang in their home, not because you follow every fad or trend that is out there!
(And just my two cents, images of babies should showcase the baby, not your prop collection. Think soft and sweet. No glass. Nothing breakable….)
Your clients tastes will change, trends will come and go, but at the end of the day, it’s your business name that will go on the image. Your reputation and your future name in the industry are based on what you create and put out there. Don’t do shots you aren’t comfortable doing, don’t shoot on active railroad tracks (it’s a Federal offense, FYI!) and don’t put babies in glass jars or anything breakable.
Be proud of what you create and let your creativity and inspiration soar. Breaking away from the trends and the fads will be something that will actually free you and let you be able to create some amazing images. Timeless images. When you let your imagination and creativity take center stage, they will take you and your business to places you never thought possible!