Well, here we are...three to four months into the selected mentoring program (Update: See this post). And life is getting in the way for my compatriots and me. (Funny how that happens.) We have been working so very diligently; reading, writing, defining our ideal clients, changing our mindsets, tweaking our websites, starting newsletters, building business boosts, forging relationships, learning to market our work. The words "brain mush" seem appropriate at any given moment.
Are you familiar with that bromide, "if you do what you love it's not work?" Developing a successful art & photography business is work - even when you love it! The work requires your full attention, your full energy, a lot of learning and a lot of hours.
A beautiful place and the best times
This week, I altered my work day patterns. I needed a break, a spark, and to feel the excitement of discovery. On a sunny day, I packed up all my gear and headed out the door for a photo shoot. All the requisite computer work was put "on hold". I headed up to the National Grotto in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The Grotto is most beautiful in spring. Azaleas, rhododendron, tulip trees and wild dogwoods provide a natural respite to the fevered and overworked brain.
Early morning or late evening hours are the best times to get lovely photographs. Yes, the quality of light is better during those hours. The bigger benefit, however, is there are no other people in the Grotto at those times.
Prepare yourself if you choose to take photos there in the later daylight hours. Busloads of pilgrims flock to the Grotto for special events. It will be particularly crowded during September because Pope Frances will visit Philadelphia. Every fully-packed bus that travels up Route 15 to Philadelphia will stop at the National Grotto for additional prayer and reflection. Unless you plan to photograph prayerful crowds, you might want to skip those busy daylight hours.
Playing with new tools
My current experiments involve the new Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens. You may have seen some previous photos onRebecca LaChance Art, Instagram (@rebeccalachancephotography) or the newsletter. The creative potential of this lens fills me with delight.
The second piece of the experiment? Film! Yes, 35mm film. Why film you may ask? Why not? Where does one find a 35mm film camera? Ebay! If you have insomnia, you can stumble upon an early morning auction for a Nikon N80 film camera, great lens, case, and 5 rolls of film - and the auction will end in less than 20 minutes! Yes, I snagged all that for $52.00 in the wee hours. (Insomnia has been very helpful to my photography career.)
Give up this stressor in your business development
Do you compare your work to other artists or photographers? Do you see "Big Name" in a magazine spread and think, "Oh man, my work is subpar"? STOP IT! NOW! Comparing your work to others can make you anxious and doubt yourself. If the Universe had intended for your work to look like some other Big Brush artist or Outrageously Expensive Camera photographer, you would have been born as that person!
But you were born as you, with all your own visions, skills, and creative desires. Please stop trying to reproduce someone else's style. You don't need the stress. The world doesn't need another copy of a Big Brush Artist business or Outrageously Expensive Camera photography business. The world needs Your Vision, Your Skills, Your Art, Your Business.
What, and how, would you paint or photograph if you had never been influenced by another's work? How would your business be different? Would you be different? Would your heart sing? Would your eye twinkle?
Create your works from your own heart. Continue to work towards YOUR long term artistic goals in your business development. Take time to explore what gives you the rush of excitement, the thrill of discovery.
Refresh yourself and take the creative breaks you need. You need only take one business related step at a time. But do keep stepping.
Start from where you are: Take a break from the business work and recharge your creative spark! Schedule "spark-charging today" in your business calendar, just as you post all your business building "to-do's" in your calendar.
Use what you have: Pull out the artistic gear, whatever it is, and just play. Explore what and how your work would look if you had never been influenced by someone else.
I enjoy your love notes when you leave them in the comments section. And please share to your social media.
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