Why You Should Always Make Time For Personal Projects

Sep 4, 2015

Jose Rosado

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Why You Should Always Make Time For Personal Projects

Sep 4, 2015

Jose Rosado

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

personal-projects-02

Whether you’ve been a photographer for 10 weeks or 10 years, we’ve all heard the cautionary tales about yet another creative who’s packed it all up, sold off all their gear, + decided to do something else in terms of a career.

It’s with that in mind that I am writing about the importance of personal projects.

Most people hear that and think of young art school students, who pull together friends to shoot some fun stuff in between their demanding curriculum of school mandated projects. Now while that is a good example, it is worthwhile to note its importance on the healthy creative ‘paid/personal’ work balance that really never goes away, but we often forget nonetheless.

“BEING A CREATIVE IS NO DIFFERENT – DO ANYTHING FOR A CAREER, IT WILL EVENTUALLY BECOME A ‘JOB’.”

A few notable professional examples of photographers who still instill said balance in their careers are Chase Jarvis + Joey L, both of which preach a lot on this topic as they realize the long-term benefits and how it impacts their careers+ more importantly their overall creativity as well.

SOUNDS ALL WARM + NICE BUT HOW CAN YOU MAKE THIS ACTUALLY WORK?

________________

Setting aside the time + sticking to it

  • Dependent on your focus, it can be as long or short as you prefer
  • Most important part is making sure you focus on unplugging from usual everyday routine

Finding the right amount of time that works for you

  • It can be as short as a week or 3-6 months – finding what works best for you will take time; don’t despair
  • Wedding photographers use the seasonal downtime to work on personal work + new ideas for the upcoming busy season
  • Commercial photographers can be lucky enough to have three busy months of big work can allow them 2-3 months of traveling + shooting passion projects

Realize the workflow benefits as well as the creative ones

  • Walking around new cities with your camera can be therapeutic + a great way to shoot new plates for composite work or even limited run fine art prints
  • Prospective clients sometimes follow photographer’s personal work closely for outside-the-box ideas for their creative needs/briefs
  • What starts out as something small may suddenly become a new direction for your career

Start small + slowly expand your comfort zone

  • Like shooting cityscapes? – the nearest city will always be great for discovering new neighborhood pockets or even new ways to shoot the same ones again
  • However, when comfortable why not discover somewhere new by train/car/or even plane? Think #wanderlust
  • The creative lifestyle can be tough, especially when it involves family – so why not bring along your loved one/ones to help you unplug + remember why you work the long crazy hours

Remembering why you picked up a camera/paintbrush/pen

  • Ask a lot of professional athletes who get paid millions to play a game + most if not all will say the best time in their career was the times coming up – before the money, contracts, + endorsements
  • Being a creative is no different – picking up your camera with no creative brief or for no monetary gain can remind you why you got into the field to begin with
  • Doing anything for a career, it will eventually become a ‘job’ – getting burnt out on a fun, creative outlet is inevitable, it’s all in how you remedy the pain
personal-projects-01

Often times in the roller-coaster lifestyle of being a full-time creative, we only come to these lucid understandings after some time away from it all entirely – whether we take a 9-5 job to help bring in a steady paycheck or just unplug from the creative side + move to another spot behind the scenes.

However, it doesn’t have to take such a stark departure to help bring about that understanding and instead remember the importance of on-going personal work while in your creative career.

About The Author

Jose Rosado is a photographer, producer and creative director from Baltimore. He is also the Host of The Angry Millennial Podcast. You can see more of his work on his site, and connect with him via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This article was also published here and shared with permission

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

DIPY Icon

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 responses to “Why You Should Always Make Time For Personal Projects”

  1. Ralph Hightower Avatar
    Ralph Hightower

    I had one New Year’s Resolution and two photography projects. The New Year’s Resolution was to photograph the entire year exclusively with B&W film. One of the projects was to photograph the sunrise over the city from a dam on the solstice equinoxes and solstices; the other project was to photograph the full moons rising and setting (and hope that weather cooperated).
    I am a photography enthusiast; photography is not my vocation. For professionals, you probably can’t make the commitment to shoot the year in B&W.
    Regarding my New Years Resolutions, did I have regrets? Absolutely! Particularly when I saw a stunning sunrise or sunset. But one of my projects was photographing the sunrise. Ansel Adams didn’t have color film.
    But that year was a year for me to experiment with B&W contrast filters (yellow, orange, and red). It took me about three months before I started visualizing photographs in B&W.
    The two projects that I had about the sunrise and full moon were brutal during the winter.

    1. Jose Rosado Avatar
      Jose Rosado

      That’s an impressive endeavor! Glad to hear that you hit some roadblocks but worked your way through them.

      Best of luck with your project!

  2. FJ Avatar
    FJ

    I want to do more night shooting but not the nights are getting darker earlier – and colder – I’m more reluctant to go out. I’m also concerned about going out alone. Some of the shots I want will require a tripod and long exposure, I’m worried about my own personal safety and that of my equipment. How do you pros who do this manage? My son could come with me – he’s a rower, so pretty big but will get bored fast.

    1. Jose Rosado Avatar
      Jose Rosado

      FJ – apologies on the delay. A lot of photography like that will just depend on your best judgement and taking some necessary precautions which you’ve already mentioned. If you feel uncomfortable, then leave + get out of that situation – simple as that.

      Even for us pros, there’s times that you have to do your research and go and see the space during the day to gauge whether you find it safe and accessible.