I know a lot of cool people. Smart people. Funny, creative, talented, generous, loving, wonderful people. They encourage me to be myself, push me to be better, and give me goals for the kind of person I want to be when I grow up. This series is all about the lessons I’m learning and the ways they inspire me. This month, I’m inspired to make time for creativity.
Last Friday I attended a stock photography workshop hosted by Stephanie of LifeCreated.
I quietly follow her on social media and we crossed paths at a blogger event quite a while back, but I’ve never taken advantage of any of the workshops or mentorships she offers. She’s extremely talented; her work is beautiful. I highly recommend working with her if you are local and have the chance.
I, on the other hand, have gotten pretty lackadaisical in my photography. Rather than seeking out good lighting conditions, I bump up my ISO and hope for the best. As a result, I have to brighten every image that comes out of my camera and they’re grainier than I’d like. I rely heavily on my marble back splash + butcher block counters for food pics. I tell myself it’s good to be consistent, but consistency is not the same thing as quality. This is just easier than trying anything else; I can do better. It’s been easy to blame my mediocre shots on an old camera which has been dropped more than once and honestly could stand to be replaced, but let’s be honest: it’s merely a tool. And a tool is only as good as the one who uses it.
Plenty of excuses that mostly boil down to me being too lazy to make time for creativity.
So I signed up for this stock photography workshop. It was reasonably priced, Stephanie is–like I said before–brilliant at what she does, and I needed something to take my mind off the anxiety of Mila starting school soon.
I was weirdly nervous before the thing started. Turns out there was no need to be. For one thing, my friend Camille was there, and having a friend around always sets me more at ease. For another, the workshop was incredibly laid-back. Just a handful of women styling vignettes and creating pretty photos.
It was so good for me. So so good. I was pitifully unprepared (I should’ve brought way more things with me to photograph) but it didn’t matter much because I came away feeling all kinds of inspired. Inspired to work on my styling skills. Inspired to learn from watching others who are good at what they do. Inspired to flex my creative muscles more often.
Some thoughts I had during and after the workshop:
- My style is my own. In photography and home decor and fashion and everything. It’s pretty clear from my Instagram grid and Pinterest boards that I prefer bright colors to the neutrals, pastels, and white backgrounds many women prefer. Saturated colors make me happy. Better to embrace that than to try to emulate other styles I like less.
- It’s good to try new things. At someone’s suggestion, I took some shots of a pineapple on a small cake stand and wound up with probably my favorite image from the whole evening. It’s simple, I’d never thought to do it on my own, but I really really dig it. It makes me want to experiment more.
- Light is so important. I know that but instead of acting like I know it, I make a lot of excuses and try to work around it. Time to stop lying to myself and spend some time finding better lighting conditions for my pics.
- Anything can make a pretty photo. At first I felt overwhelmed and discouraged because I didn’t see any props that appealed to my aesthetic. That was foolish. A handful of paperclips can make as nice an image as an impeccably styled bar cart. It’s all about perspective.
- Practice makes better. I should pull out my camera more often to shoot and shoot and shoot some more. People and things and landscapes and food and whatever the heck I see. Practice practice practice.
Stephanie’s workshop was the breath of fresh air I needed to clear some fog in my brain and get those creative juices flowing again. I’m excited to make time for creativity more often. Up my photography game, sure, but not just that. Color and doodle more. Work on my hand-lettering skills. Write until my fingers are sore. Learn some new chords on my ukulele. Experiment with some new recipes. Make some design changes to the girls’ bedroom. The possibilities are endless.
I’m in my thirties, yes, but I’m not yet too old or set in my ways to try new things!
Do you have a creative outlet? What do you do to keep learning and improving your skills? How do you get out of a creative rut? And–my biggest problem, so please please please share any ideas you have–how do you make time for creativity?