How Passion Projects Can Spark Your Creativity As A Photographer
When you’re a photographer, it can be a really tricky balance of shooting for clients, taking all the family memory style photos, AND taking photos for pure joy!
The kind of creative ‘play’ many of us used to shoot when we were first learning…
Maybe your kids have grown up or they’re not as home much anymore doing all the cute things…
Maybe your client work is so busy, it feels like a chore to pick up the camera more…
Or maybe you simply don’t know what to shoot!
We scroll through feeds of beautiful photos, but sometimes the motivation has gone a little missing?
It’s so easy to get sucked into the ‘comparisonitis’ vortex and feel like giving up completely… or just lacking general ideas or structure
But don’t quit just yet! Instead, why not try tapping into your inner artist by undertaking a unique and personal passion project?
What’s A Passion Project & Why Do I Need One?
Passion projects are all about embracing the idea that photography isn’t just about capturing moments; it’s about creating them. It’s about moving beyond the documenting of our everyday lives and creating a project that challenges our artistic boundaries.
In short, it’s getting a nugget of inspiration, taking that idea and executing it!
If you shoot professionally, passion projects are a fab opportunity to express your creativity without the constraints of commercial or client demands. They allow you to enjoy the process of creating without the pressure of having to deliver a finished product.
And if you’re a hobbyist, passion projects are a way of carving out a little ‘me time’, and the perfect excuse to experiment with new techniques just for the pure fun of it. A passion project can be a fantastic creative rut buster, and it will totally strengthen those creative muscles!
Where Do I Find Inspo For My Passion Project?
You might already have a spark of an idea for your passion project. But if you’re drawing a blank, there are a multitude of ways to gather inspo. And remember, keep an open mind – your passion project can grow from the just the tiniest seed of an idea!
Here are a few of our fave ways to find inspo…
1. Scroll The Socials
Yes, yes, I know we talked about the way social media can suck the joy out of the creative process. BUT it can also be a fab source of inspiration too! Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest are a great starting point – use hashtags and the ‘For You’ suggestions to find artists whose work catches your eye, then think about how you might use some of the concepts you see in their work to create your own personal passion project.
2. Create An Ideas Board
Or why not go old school – grab some magazines and chop out images you love, then use them to create a collage or ideas board. Look for common threads among them such as a colour, texture or location to help you develop a vision for your own passion project.
3. Collaborate With Other Artists
Whether it’s fleshing out the details of your passion project, figuring out exactly how to execute a technique you’ve seen online, or even finding out where to source props and accessories, it’s always helpful to have other people to bounce ideas off.
Our CLG community is a great place to start! It’s a safe space to explore your ideas and post your practice shots to get feedback from fellow photographers to help bring your passion project to life.
So, What Does A Passion Project Look Like?
Still struggling to come up with an idea for your passion project? Here are two fun examples from CLG Advanced Grad (and the undisputed QUEEN of passion projects!), Jennifer Magnuson.
Water Dancing Portraits
Jennifer’s initial inspiration for these gorgeous images came from TikTok, where she’d seen a behind-the-scenes video of a shoot with models appearing to ‘walk on water’.
Jennifer decided to take the concept one step further. She reached out to her local dance school for a couple of keen dancers to help her out, and the result is these stunning, dramatically moody water dancing portraits.
Light Painting Portraits
Again, this one began with a spark of an idea that Jennifer had seen online, this time on Instagram. She sourced some light tubes (which she describes as similar to a children’s toy light saber), then spent several days experimenting with props, setups and settings before hitting the local dance studio for the actual shoot.
To make these images, Jennifer had her camera on a tripod and used a light tube to create light patterns that accentuated the dancers’ poses and positions. She also used fairy lights to create a dreamy, ethereal effect.
Free Online Class
If this blog post has excited you to embark on your own passion project, you’ll love our free class with Jennifer Magnuson – you can watch the replay here.
Passion Projects for Photographers
Watch this free class to discover how to boost your creativity and spark fresh ideas by embracing passion projects. Be inspired by her ideas to enhance your work and reginite your love for photography!