then and now

In my last post, I discussed progress and the difference between then and now. Since my switch to film, I’ve had a lot of people reach out and ask me how I get consistency in my Instagram feed and say that it seems like I have a strong visual voice. (I’m flattered by any and all positive comments by the way, so keep em coming ;) )

Here’s a few things that worked for me to get closer to a visual voice that is true to my art and what I’m trying to create that brings ME joy (WARNING: not for everyone! These tips may apply to you but you’ll still have to put in the work of figuring out what speaks to YOU individually!)

  1. Figure yourself out. This is probably the hardest work to be done, but once you do it, the rest is fairly fun and easy. You’re going to need to look inside yourself and figure out what makes you truly happy. You’re going to have to observe your life, look it in the face (the good, bad & ugly) and see what gets you out of bed in the morning. What have you always enjoyed? Which subjects in school were your strong suit, and what about them did you excel at? These may not be huge money-makers, but nobody said this was a get rich quick scheme! This is all about finding satisfaction in your art (and in your life!) Yan Palmer’s Teethkiss workshop (more about that below) is an amazing helpful resource for this.

  2. Learn. I recommend you look a little more intentionally when scrolling through your Instagram feed. Who are the artists whose work stops you in your tracks? Do they offer classes? Mentorships? eWorkshops? You may consider checking out the Clickin Moms store to see if your favorite photographer has a class offered there, or even discover a new photographer with a class topic that you’re drawn to. I’ve done classes by Ben Sasso which are short and sweet and full of good info. I also love Wendy Laurel’s Seeing Double PDF for any digital or film photographers interested in mastering double exposures. But HONESTLY, if you want to take your creative life to the next level (for EVERYONE, not just photographers), I canNOT say enough good things about Yan Palmer’s Teethkiss Workshop. It includes a huge, in-depth PDF with videos, and I opted to buy the hard copy too and have taken extensive notes and done a LOT of beneficial work. Yan is magical. If you’re looking for an all-in, in-person photo conference experience, I attended Yeah Field Trip last year and was forever changed. My next conference on my wishlist is Photo Native! I’m hoping to make it in 2020. Put in the work, fork out the cash, and INVEST yourself! If your budget is tight, check out some helpful photography podcasts. My current fave is Brooke Schultz’s Heartful Podcast.

  3. Experiment. Shoot at all times of the day, inside and outside, of people or mountains or weddings or births or architecture. Shoot upside down, laying down, from up high, underwater (use proper underwater housing, of course!), spinning, double exposures, long exposures, the sky is literally the limit. Shoot into the sun, or play with shadows, but (if I may) ALWAYS DO IT IN MANUAL. Master your camera. Know what it can do, and know how to do it.

  4. Connect. Meet up with creatives with a variety of interests, backgrounds, specialties, and passions. DO NOT limit yourself to only connecting with like-minded individuals! I started a little once a month meetup with some fellow photographers in Southern California, and it amazes me how different we all are! We have common ties too, of course, but we grow as we learn from one another (and anyone in SoCal is more than welcome to join!) I did a group 10+10 online mentorship with Cathlin McCullough which I also really loved! It was helpful to get three other people’s perspective on similarities and differences in my work compared to work I admired.

  5. Don’t give up. Like any good love story, the flame sometimes turns into embers and we have to reignite the spark that once carried us through creating our best yet work. If you’re feeling the burnout, start at step one and try it all over again! As changing humans, we have to continue to learn what we love and what inspires joy as we grow. What used to call you to life may no longer, and that’s okay! Find what does now. And DO IT. Find new classes for this new passion, dive in head first and feel the fire again. And when that fire extinguishes, don’t give up! Keep that cycle going