You, reading this, you’re likely very creative. Am I right? Your heart is in your craft and you have a very real and deep passion to create beautiful art for your clients. When you turn this part of your brain on, ideas probably come to you all the time. In dreams, over breakfast, when you’re driving to your next shoot… you have ideas for new images, marketing strategies, and even new businesses! Trust me, I’m the same way. I have a notebook full of ideas that I believe are actually great! They’re valuable, they’re possible, but they’re also completely worthless. Why? Because I haven’t done anything with them.

The biggest mistake you can make when you have an idea is to not take any action.

We do this for a number of reasons. The first one is, we feel like it needs to be perfect before we put it out to the world. This results in us working behind the scenes SO LONG that we have another idea that grabs our attention and we leave the first one in the dust while we work on the new idea… obviously this is a crazy circle that results in a lot of half finished ideas. We spend our time and effort on something that never sees the light of day because we didn’t finish or follow through.

The next reason is that we are afraid of how people might judge us. As artists, what we put out is very personal. So, rejection feels personal. Rejection doesn’t have to be hate mail and downvotes, it can also be that no one cares. Have you ever worked so hard to put out a YouTube video only to find that your mom was the only one that watched it? The only thing worse than haters commenting on your stuff is when haters don’t even care enough to comment.

So how do you avoid this cycle or get over this fear? As far as fear goes… think back to the last time you judged someone on something they put out. Are you still thinking? You probably never have. I haven’t either. When I’m online, I’m looking for useful things for me, not things that aren’t relevant to me so that I can hate on it… that’s just a waste of time. The people who are seeing your stuff will either relate to it or they won’t. If they don’t, that’s fine, you’re here for the people who do.

As far as that vicious cycle I mentioned above, the first thing you need to do is sit down and evaluate what this idea really entails. The effort, cost, and what the purpose is. It’s not possible to run with every idea you have, so first you need to figure out if it’s worth it. Is this just a smaller personal project that won’t take up too much time and effort or is this something huge like starting a new business? Once you decide that it is something you want to do, you have to set a course of action and follow through before (KEY WORD BEFORE!) you move on to anything else. My friend always says “Plan the work then work the plan.” If you have a new idea before this one is complete, write it down and then come back to it. It’s like when I clean my house. If I wander around cleaning here and there, I can spend three hours and nothing will have been done. Instead I go room by room. I force myself not to get distracted by a stray pile of laundry in another room and tell myself “I’ll get to it once the bathroom is clean.” By the end of two hours, my house is spotless and I don’t have that awful feeling of “I just spent three hours working with nothing to show for it.”

Use your time wisely and set your focus to level ten. You’re going to do amazing things.

Thank you for being here for day 49! Tomorrow marks the HALF WAY POINT! I can hardly believe it! This series of 100 in 100 is an idea that I had and am following through. It took a really long time to curate the list, research, organize and write. I also had a lot of distracting ideas along the way, but those are on hold until I deliver these posts to you! Let me know your thoughts in the comments and I’ll see you tomorrow for day 50: 25 amazing photographers to follow in Instagram.

Day 98 is currently reserved for any questions you have throughout the next 100 days. To submit a question, please click here!  If you’re interested in supporting this project, please share, PIN and comment! Any other questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to email me at denise(at)denisekaris(dot)com

Denise Karis is a film & digital hybrid wedding photographer based in Phoenix who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

Welcome to day 48 in my 100 days of photography series! I am a huge movie fanatic and I’m guessing you are too… I mean, who isn’t? There are five movies that really speak to my photographer heart and I want to share them with you here! I’d also love to know yours and we can keep this list rolling!

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty:
I am putting this at the top of my list. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is about a reserved man who works with negatives for LIFE magazine. A legendary nature and travel photographer, Sean O’Connell, sends Mitty his film to be developed, processed, and printed. After realizing one of the negatives for the final issue of LIFE magazine is lost, Mitty leaves his safe basement office to travel the world looking for the photographer and missing the negative. You guys… this movie is filled with so much heart. It’s hilarious, adventurous, inspiring, and at the very heart of it is photography and a reminder that life is meant to be lived to the fullest.

Fur:
This movie is a bit weird. Like, let’s get that out of the way right now. The full title is “Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus.” Diane Arbus was a real life photographer who documented subjects that could be seen as odd or disturbing. From amputees and nudists, to Siamese twins and Circus performers, Diane was known for creating art from those that usually went unseen or ignored. The movie is inspired from one of her images of a man with hypertrichosis or “werewolf syndrome” and follows their story. I love this movie because it reminds me that it’s okay to be different. It doesn’t even take that much bravery, rather all that is needed is acceptance of yourself.

Big Eyes:
Not so much photography related but definitely a movie for artists. This is a true story about a painter in the 50’s named Margaret whose husband took credit for her paintings for over a decade. Margaret, a true artist, is a single mother trying desperately to make money with her art that no one is buying. Meanwhile, she meets another painter, Walter Keane, who can easily sell his lackluster art for loads of money. They marry, and soon Walter realizes a giant gold mine in Margaret’s paintings. Taking credit for her work, he builds an empire off of her style of haunting children with big eyes. The thing I loved most about this movie is that Margaret, through the entire story, has the heart of an artist. She has knowledge of art history, technique, style, grace, and often drops very simple, understated pieces of knowledge like “I think people buy art because it touches them” and “Artists have to be able to handle criticism.” Meanwhile her husband is raving and ranting about dollars and critics… it’s interesting to see the two side by side. Margaret, a wonderful artist with the heart and eyes of an artist would likely have never sold anything if it wasn’t for her tacky and arrogant husband. Which left me thinking: As an artist, do you have to have a bit of tacky arrogance in order to be successful?

Joy:
This is a true story about a single mother who invented the mop that I use. It’s not about art (although one could argue anything of creation is art) but it is about someone making something and putting it out into the world. I love this movie because the character is met with struggle after struggle after struggle. We’ve all seen that graph showing the path to success with a big squiggly line right in the middle, but we rarely see movies that actually show that. We usually see a formula of “Dream>>Small Hiccup>>Massive Success.” But throughout this movie, Joy is met with conflict and doubt from her family, she is shot down by a seemingly endless line of people, she takes huge risks, and puts everything on the line for her product and it’s inspiring to say the least. I will recommend this movie to everyone who is trying to make their dream come to life!

Bohemian Rhapsody:
I just saw this. If you saw this then you just saw it too. It only came out recently and when I went to see it, I didn’t expect to include it in this list but I have to. Everyone knows the story of Queen and Freddie Mercury, but seeing it laid out in front of you is a whole different world. The character, Freddie, is… well, excessively different, but there is this one part in the movie where he is gaining momentum in his band and he says to his fiance, “I am exactly the person I was always meant to be. I’m not afraid of anything.” I was so moved by that line that I started to cry. How wonderful to not be afraid of who you are. To know that being the most true and honest version of yourself will be met with hate or love, but it doesn’t matter because what matters most is that you are who you are. This story is wonderful and gorgeous and extravagant and tragic and worth experiencing.

That’s my list, what’s yours? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see you tomorrow for day 49: The Biggest Mistake You Make When You Have An Idea!

Day 98 is currently reserved for any questions you have throughout the next 100 days. To submit a question, please click here!  If you’re interested in supporting this project, please share, PIN and comment! Any other questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to email me at denise(at)denisekaris(dot)com

Denise Karis is a film & digital hybrid wedding photographer based in Phoenix who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

Sometimes we get stuck. We seek out images and think “ho hum. I’ve done this before, seen this before” and this ugly beast in your head starts looking around enviously at all the creative images others are making which only makes your own work look more stuck. So how do we get unstuck? Sometimes the answer is to just set it down and walk away for a while. Come back to it with new eyes. Sometimes it takes a little more… so for today, I have compiled some creative exercises that will hopefully help you out if you find yourself in a creative rut. Some are photography related, others allow you to explore something a bit different but they all are good for waking up the creative part of the brain.

  1. 30 Circles. Have you heard of this? It’s a popular one and there are a few ways of doing it. The first way is to draw inside of as many circles as you can in three minutes then evaluate the results. How many did you create? Do you see a recurring theme? The second way is to choose a theme and give yourself as much time as you need to complete all thirty circles. You can do this as many times as you want with different themes. Download the worksheet here.
  2. Brainstorm. I suppose most people don’t consider this a creative exercise, but I do. When was the last time you had a good brain purge? Pick a problem and write down as many creative solutions as you can. They don’t have to be good, they just have to be creative. Sue Bryce says “if I asked you to walk across the room 15 different ways, you’d jump, crawl, dance, run, walk on your hands.” So do the same thing for your business or photography problems!
  3. Explore a different medium. Instead of photography, sit down with some watercolors and see what comes out. This can be therapeutic and allow you to use the creative part of your brain without expectations.
  4. Try recreating an image you saw. When my mom was in college she took a creative writing class. The teacher had her write in the style of Mark Twain. Then she had her write in the style of Hemingway. Followed by Jane Austen. Then, she said, write a story in your own style. Do the same with photography. Create a photo in the style of Sue Bryce, Joel Grimes, or Jose Villa. Then create one of your own.
  5. Create 20 different photos while standing in one place. Your feet can’t move but your lenses and camera settings can change. Taking away something you’re used to having can help you rely on other aspects. People also do this challenge with being able to move but not being able to switch lenses or limiting the number of frames they’re allowed to take.
  6. You know that concept to shoot what’s been on your mind for a long time? Do it! For a long time I had want to go out to the river and create a “Lady in the water” type shoot and I finally did it. I absolutely loved seeing it come to life. It was like chicken soup for the Photographer’s soul.
  7. Pick an image and describe it completely. How does the image make you feel? How would you describe it to someone who couldn’t see it? Does it remind you of any memories? What sounds, smells, tastes can you associate with the image? Be as absolutely descriptive as possible.
  8. Have lunch with another creative. Maybe they are dull where you shine and vice versa. By sharing what you’re good at and by allowing someone else to share with you what they’re good at, you strengthen each other and build community.

I’d love to hear your favorite creative exercises in the comments down below! Thanks for being here for day 47! I’ll see you tomorrow for 48: 5 of the best movies for creatives.

Day 98 is currently reserved for any questions you have throughout the next 100 days. To submit a question, please click here!  If you’re interested in supporting this project, please share, PIN and comment! Any other questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to email me at denise(at)denisekaris(dot)com

Denise Karis is a film & digital hybrid wedding photographer based in Phoenix who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

 

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