Why photographers should shoot for themselves

Many moons ago I got together with Jessica Kettle (The one and only) and we shot something for fun.

FOR FUN? you say.

I know it’s hard to fathom, especially if you are a photographer who is reading this. You know how it goes. We put so much into our shoots. We will drive the extra miles to get “that” location. Spend more than we should on THAT lens or THAT camera. Spend the extra time editing to make the pictures look just right.  Shoot on a day or time when the light is going to be best even if that means canceling a million other things and paying extra for a babysitter. We work long and hard and sacrifice much to get things looking the way we want them to…. and why?

Because we are artists.

Because we do what we do for the art. Because we believe in it and ourselves.  That is why I want to tell you, despite everything we already do, it is so very important to shoot for ourselves.  Because after we have sacrificed it all and rescheduled our life to get it right, we are left frazzled and stressed out. We still have the lingering pressure on our shoulders to perform and deliver a perfect product. An artist needs freedom and space to grow. An artist especially needs to be able to find his/her element and that stress-free safe place will allow the creative mind to expand.

Shooting something personal can also give us a chance to shoot with each other. We are often alone in our work. We don’t have a set of instructions on how to run our businesses or improve as a photographer. We often shoot by ourselves, edit by ourselves and even educate our selves alone. How many hours have you sat by yourself in front of your computer? It might take you 3 hours to figure out how to set that ridiculous back button focus button on your digital camera when another photographer could show you in 3 seconds. We already know that we are “visual learners” so it’s obvious that learning by watching would benefit. Getting together and shooting something “just for fun” with other photographers is a valuable teaching experience that we should all embrace.

The next reason we should shoot for ourselves is because it can bring the right type of clients and more clients our way. Let me be real for a minuet. This subject is hard for me because I honestly believe that if I become a good enough photographer, this won’t be an issue. My goal is to get to a point in my career where no matter who or what I am shooting I can eloquently bring out the best and the beauty from with in. But right now I still see myself as being a better fit with certain clients. Clients who give me their full trust and see some of my vision. If we shoot for ourselves we our putting our full selves out there by trying new poses, unusual locations and working more creatively with light. People will see this and recognize it. I think that there are many “perfect clients” out there for us that may have already looked at our work online but have yet to hire us. It takes just one emotional connection to get that certain person to recognize that our work it what they need.

The last reason we should shoot for our selves is for pure enjoyment. We need a reminder of why we started shooting in the first place. We need to remember how excited we get when we know that we just captured some amazing images, when the light fell just right and we connected with our client getting that perfect look. It will re charge our creative battery and remind us how much we love to shoot. Once before I have written this statement but I will write it again because It applies so well to what I’m trying to say

Like sparks exploding into the bright sky. It’s magical. It’s REAL. A connection occurs. My soul is tethered to what is in my camera’s frame at that moment and I am able to show you what is on my heart.

I’m at fault to not shooting for me enough but I promise to do more of this. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive or take up too much time it just needs to give me freedom. So who is with me? Lets all get out there and shoot for ourselves.




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One Comment

  1. Maisie wrote:

    This post captures the essence of one of my favorite quotes by Aristotle perfectly. He says “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”