Creativity

How personal projects can redefine and enhance your creative journey

Post by
Chrizelle Monique Sta. Cruz
How personal projects can redefine and enhance your creative journey

Have you ever noticed how many photographers share their ‘personal projects’? There's a good reason for it. These projects aren't just for fun – they're essential for honing skills and advancing careers. In photography, diving headfirst into a passion-driven project can really change the game. It doesn’t matter if you're just picking up a camera for the first time or if you’ve been at it for years; personal projects have a knack for unlocking new levels of creativity and professional growth.

So, how can personal projects benefit you beyond being mere enjoyment? If you're feeling inspired to start your own personal project but aren't sure where to begin, stick around for some practical tips on getting creative.

Practice makes perfect

That old saying "practice makes perfect" brings a whole new meaning for creatives. Think of personal projects as your sandbox. Here, you can try new things, make mistakes, and learn from them without the pressure of a client looming over your shoulder. You have a full creative license and freedom only limited by your own imagination. Keep at it – shoot, edit, create, repeat.

99.9% of my work I share is all my personal work…you just need to keep doing what you do, keep taking pictures and grow and develop your work and it'll eventually pay off. - Community member Georgie Devlinn from @geedevlinn
Georgie’s personal project making her favourite chocolate levitate and balance. Source: @geedevlinn

Try new things and kick some creative goals

Ever wanted to experiment with a new style or technique (like Georgie’s levitating magic!) but never had a client brief that pushed these kinds of boundaries? Well now's your chance. Step out of your comfort zone and see where your creativity takes you. You never know, your next personal project might just define your signature style.

Follow inspiring creators like Emily Puente from Huddl Studio who shares stop motion tips and tricks, a well-admired creative art form in itself. Emily is a huge advocate for practicing the art of personal projects and regularly shares them with her community. Being inspired by her work and passion may spark your own imagination to try something new, like animation!

One of Emily’s many personal projects along with her behind the scenes she happily shares with her community. Source: Huddl Studio

Expand your portfolio and repertoire

Every personal project is a potential masterpiece for your portfolio. They show off your skills, your adaptability, and most importantly, your unique vision. A diverse portfolio can open up new doors in your photography career, attracting clients looking for something fresh and dynamic.

A fun personal project by community member and creator Devon featuring his dream client LEGO. Source: @oxburgerstudios

Creator Ana has done a fun personal project with the product after shooting content for our customer. Source: @6sabores

Get noticed by brands

Share your work, tag brands, and make your presence known in digital spaces. Brands are always on the lookout for fresh talent on social media and online forums. Your personal project might just be the thing that gets you that big collaboration or commissioned project.

[#cta]

Engage with safe spaces and communities

Online platforms like our own creator community are creative hubs where you can share your personal projects and ideas in a safe space and receive feedback from like-minded creative folk. It's a nurturing environment for creative comfort, growth, and learning. Who knows, you might catch the eye of our team looking for your exact skill set for their next paid project with one of our big brand customers!

Just be active, share, engage and ask questions. This group loves to cheer you on, exchange ideas and help with problems. - Long-time community member Bianca Flükiger sharing her insight on being a part of Creatively Squared.

Bianca shares creative cocktails and recipes, like this Elderflower gin delight, on her blog to engage, learn and inspire. Experimenting with food and drink photography are deliciously good ways to explore personal projects and get noticed. Source: @ohsweetcultureshock

Boost your mental wellbeing

There’s no denying that passion projects spark joy. They are a creative outlet where the process is just as rewarding as the outcome. They keep the creative juices flowing and can be a wonderful way to de-stress and maintain mental wellbeing.

Read our blog on Practicing the art of self-care through creative expression

Challenge yourself

Participating in challenges (like the monthly ones we host here) are a fantastic way to push your creative boundaries. These challenges can act as creative prompts, pushing you to think differently and create under unique constraints or themes. Ours are sponsored by an inspiring expert creator who guides and inspires you along the way - see all the creators we have collaborated so far. Plus, they're fun, a great way to connect with fellow creators and you might even be rewarded with a unique prize from our sponsor.

Visit our community and see what our latest challenge is!

Photo by @haashouse_

Stop motion by @studiobitsy

Creatively Squared has been running creative challenges since 2016. Haas House challenged our community to embrace with the #cs_colortheory theme (Visit Michael’s popular blog post Essential color harmonies that every photographer should understand) and Everyday Co is currently embracing our passion for trying a #cs_personalproject!

Embrace the power of sharing your creative process

Consider recording and documenting your creative process and behind the scenes to share on socials. Our 2023 wrap up proves that sharing content like this is just as important and valuable to others as your own learning process and the final result. Share away!

Takeaway

Regardless of your experience level, engaging in a personal project can lead to significant improvements in creativity and professionalism. It's about practical learning and pushing your creative boundaries.

While undertaking personal projects requires time and effort alongside client work, the long-term benefits make it a worthwhile endeavour.

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