Personal projects are important for artists of every skill level. Driven by passion, these projects are crucial to developing skills that are outside of your comfort zone and can also lead to some amazing networking opportunities. People want to support moving, powerful projects — and passion is the engine that drives such projects.
So why don’t people spend more time on personal projects? For one, they aren’t known to pay the bills, but what holds most people back is fear or trepidation. Do you have the skills to create your vision? Do you ask people to help you or should you do it on your own? What if someone takes your idea or does it better than you did?
Professional photographer Matthew Jordan Smith has a few tips that can help you overcome those fears and bring your ideas to life.
Write it down
Believe it or not, people let inspiration go to waste. When something inspiring happens, it’s important that you write it down as soon as you can. Putting something on paper makes it more real and more likely to happen. Very few ideas come to life that have never been written down.
Start taking some test shots for your project. Are you able to capture the mood, theme and vision you have? What types of materials and or skills will you need to move forward with the project? What type of team will you need to build? By answering these questions, you will overcome the fear of not being able to turn your vision into reality.
Once your test shots are completed, start sharing your ideas with others. Find out what they like and what they don’t. Don’t be afraid of your ideas being piggy-backed – In photography, even with the same gear and ideas, two photographers will never create the exact same image.
Throughout the process, use social media to share your project. This will help build interest in the project and bond with people that follow you.
As you share your ideas you will come across people that are negative about the project. That’s just fine. Matthew explains, “When you put something out there in the universe, the universe helps you.” What does this mean? You will get feedback in a number of ways. Some will want to give you constructive criticism that, at first, is really hard to swallow. Others will reach out to help and offer you their services or they will give you the number of someone who can help. The ways others can help is endless, so let the universe help you create your dream.
Personal projects are scary for everyone when they first get started. Just remember to document your idea, test the concept, share the story and let people help you develop the project. Once completed, you will have amazing art to show both your inspiration and your skills, which can help you launch your career.
Learn more from Matthew Jordan Smith during How to Launch your Career Using Personal Projects.