Creativity on Demand

by | Sep 25, 2021

Today’s post by Joe Farace

“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.” ― Pablo Picasso

After how do I pronounce my name (it’s Far-ace) and where do I find my models, people often ask where I get the ideas for the magazine articles and blog posts I write. The truth is that they come from many sources, including my favorite—shower ideas—but sometimes, I get ideas from you—like the photographer who was frustrated with the limited creativity he was able to apply to work he was shooting for clients.

Not all the photographs we make for clients could be considered creative. Sometimes the very nature of the project itself forces us to become passive recorders of an event, although it doesn’t always have to be that way. But I had a solution for him and he laughed when I gave it to him: To get unlimited creativity, sometimes you just have to shoot a job for yourself.

How I Made this Photo: Captured with a Pentax K100D Super and SMC DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 ED AL (IF) DC WR lens (at 135mm.) Exposure was 1/500 sec at f/5.6 and ISO 200.

Here are a few projects that allow total in control of all creative aspects and here are a few:

New Portfolio. When’s the last time you updated your portfolio—print or your website? Sometimes you get so busy with paying projects you can overlook the marketing tool that brought many of those clients to you in the first place. Update that print or Web-based portfolio to include personal work or self-assignments demonstrating capabilities that potential clients might not know about.

Client Mailers: While many creative types use samples of recent work as promotional mailers, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you want to obtain more assignments of a certain type, create one for yourself, then mail a copy to everybody and his cousin’s friend. Since many people send holiday-oriented mailers, choose a less popular holiday, like Halloween, Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Day.

Promotional Projects: Back when we owned our studio, Mary talked a local bank into having an exhibit of her portraits of local professional women. She made dramatic portraits of them under her total creative control. At the end of the two-month exhibit, thousands of people had seen the photographs and most of the women featured in the portraits bought prints. It was a win-win for everyone.

Be aware that all this creative activity can become a money pit. You can kid yourself into believing you’re actually working but you’re not producing income. Being a professional also means you should make a profit from your creativity. Any promotional activity should be approached like a client project: Set a budget, schedule, and completion date.


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