One of the really great things about working for yourself in photography is that you have such a varied work schedule. However, one of the challenges is that it can often be boom and bust. Sometimes you find yourself cramming numerous shoots in for weeks at a time, then facing days, or even weeks with nothing on the books.
You can use the downtime to take care of all those things you let slide when you’re busy: seeing your family, balancing your checkbook, or pursuing the other hobbies that enrich your life. However, sooner or later, your family will surely tire of your company, you will have fixed, mowed, or repainted everything that needs it and you will be ready to get back to work…only there are no jobs scheduled. What do you do?
Besides getting back on the phone and trying to rustle up more work, why don’t you use the time to shoot some personal projects? They don’t have to be grandiose, art gallery-worthy masterpieces (although they could be). They just have to be a productive use of your time and increase your photographic proficiency.
Here are 11 ways to keep your creativity and technical skills fresh and active:
- Work on the grandiose, art-critic-worthy masterpiece collection that you’ve been piecing together for years.
- Try out that new technique you recently read about on The Photoletariat
- Go out and practice with that new piece of gear that you just bought.
- Shoot a photo essay.
- Set up and complete a few stock shoots.
- Shoot some self assignments to pad or round out your portfolio.
- Do some photography for friends out of the kindness of your heart.
- Photograph a series and then write a story or extended article around the imagery.
- Set up and shoot a time lapse.
- Go shoot subject matter that you’d normally be terrified of shooting for a client.
- Try out a style of photography that’s completely different from what you’re used to shooting.
Senior contributor Dan Bailey is a professional adventure, outdoor and travel photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.
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