James Patrick Photography WorkshopEarlier this month I conducted a lighting workshop for a handful of high school students looking to learn about shooting sports and fitness portraits. Over the course of two separate three-hour sessions I discussed as much as I could conjure up on lighting, composition, style, creativity and even marketing.

The thing continued to pop up throughout the day that it became a theme; inspiration. We talked a lot about inspiration, we dissected inspiration and we turned inspiration on every side to examine it in detail.

Many of the students admitted to struggling how to find inspiration and wanted input on where it was and how to mine it to build a career out of it.

I confessed to them that if I only took pictures when I felt inspired to take pictures, I would not have any photos in my portfolio. The trick about inspiration is that it is not found by waiting for it, it is only found when you are already doing the work.

Imagine you worked as an engineer and you only came into the office when you felt inspired to do calculations to develop a new bridge. We would still be waiting on that bridge.

Imagine you worked as a landscaper and you only would approach a customer’s yard design when you felt the inspiration to put all the pieces together. Your very first customer would still be waiting on that design.

I take out my camera a lot. I almost never feel inspired to take it out. But by taking pictures with it, I get inspired. When I start a client’s project I seek inspiration while doing the work. When I engage in a personal campaign, I hunt for inspiration while the work is already being created. Sometimes we cross paths, other times we don’t. But the work still gets done.

Amateurs will wait forever for inspiration. Meanwhile professionals will do the work and if they are lucky and diligent, then perhaps inspiration will strike them. It does not work the other way around.

You want to write a book but are waiting for inspiration? Start writing every single day and maybe you’ll find it.

You want to create a video series to connect people on YouTube but are waiting for inspiration to know what to film? Start filming and posting videos and maybe you’ll find it.

You want to release a training program for clients but are waiting for inspiration to know how to perfectly put it together? Get it together immediately and get it out the door and revise as you go and maybe you’ll find it.

Inspiration only comes to those who do the work.

James Patrick
IG @jpatrickphoto