Why Shooting Personal Work Is Important

It’s been pretty rare that I share personal work online. There are many photos that never see the light of day online because I’m always afraid that my work is never good enough. One thing I’m beginning to realize is that there are a lot of photographers who feel the same way. I’ve heard countless photographers that I look up to say they don’t think their work is great. And I myself am always striving to improve. I’m such a crazy OCD perfectionist and I’m always hard on myself. I know this. But it got me to thinking about why shooting personal work is important.

When you’re nothing but a photographer, shooting all the time is important. For most, it’s probably all they want to do. And personally, shooting keeps me sane. No seriously… it does.

So, before I go on, I’ll just explain how OCD I am. I have to plan out shoots with whoever I’m photographing. Everything from location to poses/expressions to wardrobe to the overall mood. Part of that planning process is also to get to know the person I’m photographing. I want to capture their true self and build up trust with each other. From the look of my images, I’m sure it doesn’t seem that I do this planning because I try and shoot with a very candid and natural look. However, sometimes there is this excitement that comes over me when I get to a place I’ve never been before. Particularly, if it’s an awesome location… especially out of San Antonio. In general, I feel I have a fair amount of a spontaneous personality. So, I started thinking to myself, “why do I always have to plan things out”? Shouldn’t I work on being able to embrace more of my spontaneity in my photos?

Yesterday was one of those days. I got together with someone that I had never met and chose to shoot at a random location that I saw while driving earlier that morning. I decided I wouldn’t plan out what I wanted for wardrobe or makeup. I just wanted to show up and see where everything went. It was such a huge eye-opener. I realized that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself when shooting personal work because, at least for me, it’s a way to practice, experiment, and just figure myself out. In my head, I was asking myself why I shoot the way I do.

What I got out of yesterday, was that I now feel like I’m going to pay closer attention to that question… “Why”? I want to shape my photography more and more. I want to understand my eye as an artist.

Here’s a few frames.

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