Earlier this evening, I sat in on a presentation by Robert Houser at the Apple Store in downtown San Francisco. Robert talked a lot of about the value of a personal project. In fact, for him, his personal project has become a source of stock as well as a big source of portfolio images. It’s also a source of personal creative rejuvenation. It keeps him sharp and fresh. It’s something that he loves doing.
It’s a concept that every photographer should embrace. Find a personal project and work on it over time. Mingle it in with your assignments and other work.
Using Aperture, it’s easy to work on a personal project over time. All you need to do is create a project that sits along side all your other work. Whenever you take a bit of time to work on your project—say you find a new texture of rusted metal while working on something totally different—you can snap away, then move your personal project images over into your project and keep them together. Then, when you’ve got the time to edit them down, or even if you don’t and just need to steal a few minutes away from editing down a set of headshots, you can dive in and work with them.
How do you start with a personal project? Well, Robert started his fatherhood project by shooting flowers of all things. During a review of his work, he was advised to start working on something artistic. So he started shooting flowers and while he was clicking away, he came to the realization that he wanted to shoot fathers with their kids. Like any writer with a block, sometimes the best way to figure out what to work on is to start working on anything and see where it takes you.