Amanda Reseburg is a wedding and portrait photographer from Beloit, WI. When she’s not photographing for clients she’s hanging out with her kids, shooting for fun and blogging incessantly. In the spirit of personal passions, Amanda started Kindred Spirits Hospice Photography in 2009. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.
Starting a career in photography is a lot like dating.
In the beginning, the passion is ignited and you want to be with photography ALL. THE. TIME. Your camera is your constant companion and you will photograph anything that moves. You love photography. Photography loves you. It gives you butterflies. You will be together forever.
As you become more serious with photography, you begin to settle into a typical routine. Sure, you still love photography, but the passion has waned a bit. You have regular clients. Regular shoots. Regular poses. It’s all very comfortable. All very regular.
There may come a time when you become SO comfortable with your long-term love Photography that you start to hate the very sight of it. Everything your camera does starts to bug you and you just want some time to THINK … ok, maybe not … but, much like dating, if you don’t feed your relationship with photography … it will die. Those butterflies you felt in the beginning will go away, and what you’ll be left with is a JOB. Yes, I maintain that even at its most hectic I have the best job in the world. But, that doesn’t mean my passion for the craft couldn’t use a little pick-me-up.
Enter personal projects. Diving into personal work is a way to not only practice newly learned skills, but it’s the best way to really enjoy your craft again. With personal work, the rules fade away for the most part. You are shooting for yourself and yourself only. There are no clients to please and no deadlines to meet.
Last summer I started a personal project based on my love of turn-of-the-century children’s portraiture. I wanted to tap into what I call the natural “creepiness” of kids. It was a departure from what my portrait clients typically ask for, but it was FOR me, no one else. The project morphed into what people started calling “Creepy Kids.” It was met with mixed reviews. Some people LOVED the darker take on children’s portraits. Some people thought I had made the precious children look dead or evil. But, I was satisfied in the end that I had created something that I liked and in the process learned something new about my aesthetic.[blogshow id=9ca3 player=1 autoplay=0 toolbar=1]
Tapping into a darker, moodier feel to my portraits changed my outlook on my regular client-based work. In that sense, stepping outside of my “9-to-5” to shoot just for me really changed my work as a whole. I could have continued shooting what easily sells, but I wonder how long I could continue to do that before I reached maximum burnout.
I challenge all working photographers to take time out to shoot for you. Reclaim your passion, embrace what others may find strange, and find those butterflies again.
Are you working on a personal project that you would like to share with other photographers? Tiffinbox welcomes your submission. Simply contact me if you are interested in guest blogging.