As a photographer, creating personal work to execute creative vision is the most important thing I can do to fulfill my creative needs and also land paying jobs. In commercial photography, many ad agency clients as well as photo editors can spot an authentic photo as soon as they see it. No photo is more genuine and authentic than when it’s shot on a personal level by the photographer. This mantra has rang true for me many times over the years, but it was especially true earlier this year when a major advertising agency contacted me regarding a photo I took for fun on my own time.

The photo was of my neighbor and friend. I had always been intrigued by his workspace and wanted to feature it in my ongoing series of small businesses. It caught the eye of the marketing director at a major company (via instagram) who reached out and ultimately hired me for the ad agency.

After a few creative calls with the agency and client, they hired me to create the exact work I had done for fun, but on a much larger scale for a national campaign! Needless to say, I was very excited that they loved my  vision enough to compensate me fairly to create even more work.

I couldn’t have achieved this if I hadn’t followed my vision and got to work. If you’re feeling stuck, here are a few tips to help execute creative vision.

Dive in

Paralysis by analysis is a very real and can be very debilitating. If you get into the pattern of sizing up your work to other photographers or thinking you can’t do a shoot for any number of reasons, then you are simply getting in your own way. It’s easy to dream up an excuse of why a shoot won’t be perfect or fit the ideal circumstances, but push past that! This is the only way to learn.

Shoot from the heart

When planning personal work, shoot what speaks to you and not what you think others want to see from you. Authenticity is important and easy to spot. When you are shooting purely for you, that authenticity will be recognizable by those viewing the work.

Make time for personal work

Create self-assignments as often as possible. As creatives, we are always refining and evolving our vision and that evolution cannot happen without personal work. Whether that evolution is technical or creative, creating personal work will help that process!


Want to further perfect your creative process and understand environmental portraiture? Learn more from Dan Brouillette now.