“My biggest fear regarding my business is that I will get stuck…stuck in the rut I have seen so many other ‘popular’ photographers fall into. I dread the day when I am are no longer fresh. I fear, with all of my heart, the time when I will no longer be the hidden secret of the most stylish brides in my area. I thrive on creativity and bringing new things into my life, but it has begun to take a lot of effort because the older I get, the more time and effort my family seems to require from me. So, how do I avoid becoming the photographer who becomes uninspired and, well, stuck in a rut?” – Samantha Bender, Hoboken, NJ
In the beginning of our careers, our work almost always feels fresh, fun, and exhilarating. Everything is new to us and all we can do is look toward the future like a wide-eyed child. After a few years pass, there often comes a time when the passion dies down, the butterflies cease to flap, and we begin to feel “stuck.” Same poses, same locations, same mood, and ultimately, the same photos, client after client. Your style has begun to feel like a straightjacket, strangling your creativity. And what’s worse: you don’t have time to change (or at least that’s what it feels like). Your family and the daily pressures of life make big business decisions seem overwhelming. You know you need to do something, but you’re not sure what. Sound familiar?
Answer this question truthfully (and if you need to, take a look back over your past archive of work):
Are you letting your professional life evolve, or have your art and business become stagnant?
We all change significantly with the passage of time, in our personal lives and as creative professionals; our art and commerce should transform with us, if we let them. Are you embracing this change and allowing your work to adapt accordingly?
Try this exercise: take an hour or two away from where you usually work. A cozy coffee shop, a museum or even outdoors in nature will do; give yourself time and space to think deeply, without distractions. With a blank notebook eagerly awaiting your ideas and your favorite pen in hand, ask yourself if you’ve permitted enough risk taking in your work. Answer with honesty. Write it out. Does your work still reflect who you were when you became an artist? Yes, No, Kind of. Underline your answer. Are you allowing yourself enough freedom in your business? To try new things and to allow mistakes, even if there is a possibility of failure. Ask yourself these difficult questions and be prepared to answer them honestly!
Take a breath and look at your answers; this is not an easy exercise. If you’ve admitted to yourself that your work needs to more accurately reflect who you have become as an artist and person, then you can begin to strategize some solutions (and possible new directions) for your business. Check back tomorrow for our concrete suggestions on how to rejuvenate your photography. Can’t wait until then? Here’s our archive of inspirational blog posts.