Last month, my friend and fellow photographer, Heather Dunnigan and I launched the first issue of Denim+Grace Magazine- created for photographers & creatives, for photographers & creatives. D+G is meant to inspire, evoke and encourage photographers of all levels and all genres. We absolutely love photography and wanted to do something to give back to this incredible industry. Our May issue was so much more than either of us could have ever imagined! We were blessed to have articles from over 15 photographers in our premiere issue, we also had the opportunity to share an inspirational article in the issue, too. If you haven’t picked up the May issue yet, what are you waiting for? :) You can get your hands on a copy over at the DENIM+GRACE site now! I am so, so excited to share my article with you all today, along with some pictures of two of the cutest little kiddos on the planet, who accompanied my article in the May issue. ;)
REKINDLE THE SPARK by Holli True
You’ve probably been there. Deep in the throes of an all out creative rut, feeling anything but inspired about your photography. It’s a disheartening place to be, not to mention unsettling. Especially when, for most of us, our love and passion for photography is what compelled us to make a business out of it in the first place. When it feels like you’re falling out of love with it, it’s terrifying.
In the early days of Holli True Photography, I would have given my left limb to be a full-time photographer. There were hundreds of sleepless nights I spent scouring the internet for more knowledge, more insight, more tips and tricks, simply more. I lived and breathed photography. I never left home without my camera and I literally jumped at every single opportunity that arose when someone was in need of a photographer. Holding my camera brought me so much joy, I couldn’t get enough of it.
It was in March of 2010 that my dream came true. I became a full-time photographer. I had arrived and it felt like I had conquered the greatest feat in the world. After all of the sacrifices that both my family and I had made to see my dream become a reality, I could finally say that it had all been worth it. Blood, sweat, tears, stress and love got me there. Without the love, I have no doubt that it never would have happened.
But no one warns you about what happens when you turn your passion into your career. Or perhaps as creatives, we simply aren’t willing to listen. It becomes your job. Shocking, right? Well, to most of us, it is. Especially when you consider that the majority of what we do for our photography businesses, doesn’t involve our camera at all. We have to embody so many roles in our company on a daily basis, it’s an identity crisis in the making. The artist in us is screaming on the inside, yearning for the days when there wasn’t a business to contend with. Just a camera and a dream.
I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I started noticing that I wasn’t taking my camera anywhere unless it was for a booked shoot. And that made me sad. When had my excitement to document my life and my family and friends wear off? When did my love affair with photography fizzle? And the biggest question of all- why did I let it happen? Truth is, I didn’t have an explanation. It just happened. From what I’ve heard, it’s happened to the best of us. While I can’t speak for everyone, I can say that it wasn’t okay with me and I knew that I had to do something to change it.
Specializing was one of the ways I fought back, choosing to focus on a key demographic that I absolutely loved, high school senior girls. By narrowing my focus down to a specific genre that I was passionate about, it got me excited about shooting again, allowing me to build on my love for posing and connecting with teen girls. It also got me amped about marketing and products, catering my entire business around the things I loved that I knew they would love, too.
Concept Shoots were another solution for me. With so many ideas bouncing around in my head, I decided to make them happen. The beautiful thing about designing concepts is the creative freedom to let your imagination go wherever it wants to. Whenever I have new poses, locations, shooting techniques or post-processing edits I want to try, I intentionally do them with my concept shoots. This allows me the opportunity to work through the kinks on my own time and not with a paid client. Also, when I post my concept work, I generally see an increase of traffic to my website, blog and Facebook page, which tells me my past and future clients are just as excited about these personal projects as I am.
Shooting just for the sake of shooting was another remedy. No expectations, no rules, no limits. Just me, my camera and whatever or whoever happens to be available. I am never disappointed when I take the time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me. My children are generally my go-to when I am in need of a photography fix (as you can see.) The simple act of just capturing them being them is so beautiful. And I know there will come a day when I will look back and count my lucky stars that I had my camera there to capture these fleeting moments.
I believe wholeheartedly that the key to a successful and thriving business is staying inspired and in love with what you do. Yes, this is your business, but it doesn’t have to just be your job. You can achieve the right balance of business & demand and passion & creativity. Take a minute to remember what caused you to fall in love with photography in the first place? It’s time to bring that back into your daily life and business.
The June issue will be released in the coming days and we are so, so excited! Want to stay in the known? Be sure to follow us on Facebook.