A Thing I Learned – Trust Your Instinct
I had some feedback on my blog recently and it went a little something like this:
I love your work (in relation to weddings) but there aren’t enough weddings posted and there’s a lot of other stuff that detracts from your wedding photography business.
They have a point but I’ll be re-writing the ‘about me’ section on this blog as a result of this feedback, to make it clear that this little blog isn’t just about my business. It’s also a little bit personal.
I like to off-load the contents of my brain from time to time, as well as documenting my life through photography and documenting my journey as a photographer through the odd personal post.
With that in mind I’m going to start writing a bit more often, rather than just posting my work.
Today I’d like to talk about working when your creativity isn’t flowing.
I did a photoshoot last week. It went ok. I got some good images but it didn’t put a fire in my belly like some other shoots I’ve done.
I guess not every job will excite me in the same way and that’s something I’ll need to accept but the specific circumstances of this shoot meant that I couldn’t be true to my own creative style and that’s what left me feeling a bit dejected by the outcome.
It was an engagement shoot and we had planned to shoot in the couple’s large garden but then it rained. We did manage to get a few good outside shots but then we had to move the whole thing indoors and whilst their house was lovely, it wasn’t the right sort of back drop for the way I work.
Studio photography is about as far away from what I’m about as it’s possible to be. I like to get my subjects to interact with their environment and use a variety of backdrops and settings when I’m shooting. Although I do plan each shoot, when I get going I like to work in a spontaneous way and it just wasn’t possible to do that in this situation.
In the setting of their house the best place to shoot was against a backdrop of a huge window with a voile curtain which resulted in back lit shots that felt quite sterile and studio-like.
As a result, I’ve ended up with a set of images that I think my couple will be happy with but I feel disappointed with myself because I wasn’t true to myself creatively.
I’ve read a lot of interviews with various established photographers where they’ve said one of the biggest lessons they’ve learned in relation to their businesses is that you have to say no when you get that gut feeling that tells you a job isn’t necessarily going to be right for you.
When you’re just starting out, it’s tempting to say yes to everything for the money and experience. It’s also tempting to proceed with a shoot that’s planned because you don’t want to let people down.
In hindsight, I think that if you know something isn’t quite going to work for you it’s always better to postpone until the circumstances mean you can give your clients something they’ll be happy with that’s also true to your style and aesthetic.
In summary, what I learned this week is to listen to my instinct and go with my gut, rather than just making the best of a not-quite-right situation. If I take jobs that excite me and allow me to work in the way that I know I work best, that passion will come through in the pictures that I take.