If you are like many professionals in the creative industry (photography, graphic design, modeling, makeup artistry) you have the tendency to get entirely consumed in your paid projects. From one project to the next you work on what the client needs of you.

Often, at night, you sit and yearn to do something new, different, unique and creative – however you get frustrated as none of your clients seem to want you to try anything new out that it outside the realm of what you typically do.

You begin to feel trapped. On the one hand – you are a business owner and in the industry of providing service to your clients. However, on the other hand – you chose to be in a creative field for a reason, to have the ability to create.

This is where I was feeling at the beginning of last year. As such I set out a year long creative campaign called the Year of the Shot in which I would take on multiple personal projects (I ended up doing 10 in the year) which would test out concepts and ideas that I just wanted to do. There was no exchange of money (or if there was it was very minimal) and there was no client to appease.

It was solely my wants as a creative to develop new images that excited me and reinforced why I chose to be in this field.

There are a bevy of benefits on taking on personal projects – a few include:
– Opportunity to create different work for your portfolio
– To be in control of all aspects of the work
– Chance to reignite the passion you have for your craft
– Way to practice new skills without fear of failing on a project

And the more you develop and take on these personal assignments or projects – the more you have the ability to think creatively of new projects and approaches for what you do. The results expand exponentially.

The first protest to developing a personal project is “but wait – I am so busy and I don’t have any time to do personal work!”

My response to that is – how long do you sit at your computer every morning or evening? How long are you on Instagram or scrolling through your Facebook feed? It could take no more than a single hour to do something new and different. You could skip an hour of sleep one night. And the rewarding feeling you will have afterwards will be more than worth the investment of time and energy.

James Patrick
instagram @jpatrickphoto