Personal Project matters…. a lot!

I have heard photographers, including myself, for years recommend doing personal projects from time to time. However, truth be told: I rarely actual do one. They are important because you are shooting for you; not a client to please. Most photographers are their worst critic.

The other reason is I have been dealing with some personal junk over the last six months. As a result, there has been more days that I did not pick up a camera or load Photoshop than I did. I need to push myself back into doing what I love: photography.

While I could just find a client to do some work for or make a trip to get some prints; I want to challenge myself with something that could fail. If it does, it is not the end of the world. That’s the beauty of a personal project. Failure is a setback, not a loss of income.

The truth is personal projects are excuses to push some boundaries. What could I try and that I would not take a chance doing with a client or in front of a group? That is something I want to do on a project that doesn’t matter if I am successful or not. It is about growth and getting my head “back in the game.”

GoPro Challenge!

I have an idea for a personal project. It is to take a GoPro action camera and use it to get images around Kansas City. I have to make it work. Whatever limitations that the camera gives me (which is a hell of a lot), I have to work within to make the image the best I can.

Because I am very limited (ok, completely limited) by the fact that I have zero control over exposure, aperture or focal length; I have to make up for it in composition. I have to make the images interesting by doing things I can control.

The real challenge will be once the images are loaded into Photoshop. This is an editing challenge without question. There is no question in my mind about it. They will be shamelessly heavily edited in post production.

Why would I do a project like this? The Gopro is without question the worse camera on the market. It just can’t do the most basic things. It is purely a one trick pony. If I can make it work with one, I can do anything I want to with a real camera used for real pictures. This is meant to push me to the impossible.

I am also sure that out of this will come some very unique shots of Kansas City that bring a fresh look at life in the bread basket of America. Getting hero shots will be very easy as an example. It will also be more simple to get street photography because a GoPro does not yell “camera” to everyone.

Plus, after the project, I still have a camera to use for time lapses so I don’t destroy my DSLR.

Personal Projects become cash cows

In some cases, whole photography company were changed by one. You never know what interest people will have. It is possible that people will just love the idea. It happened for some really big names!

Sharing these images on Facebook and Flicker could lead to printing a book that would sell like crazy. It could land some work with tourism companies in Kansas City. The options are endless with a project like this. One of my most iconic images from the Philippines came from a test shot for something else.

If all else fails, I have added a lot of unique images to the website, Flickr and social media. For all I know that one of them will become popular a year from now. That stuff does happen from time to time. Just saying.


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