When you're a pro photographer, you spend 99% of your time making beautiful images for other people. And their love and respect for those images makes it all worth it.
But when you're so concerned with making your clients happy day after day, you can forget to shoot for your own enjoyment.
While on holiday in the lovely St. Maarten, I grabbed my camera and just went on a little stroll. It was an entirely different shooting experience.
You don't have to be in a foreign country to shoot for yourself, and it's important to keep up the practice for a few of reasons.
1. You develop your skills
Think of it as a contribution to your 10,000 hours. Practice makes (almost) perfect, and the more you get out there with your camera in your hands, the better.
2. You see differently
When you're shooting for clients, it can often be a chaotic atmosphere. There's a wedding schedule to adhere too, a crying baby you're trying to sooth, or make-up and hair people running around on set. But when you shoot on your own time, you're allowed the space to truly see your surroundings unencumbered. This allows for your creativity to flow in a totally different way.
3. You're free to f*** up
You can totally make mistakes, and it doesn't matter. So go ahead and try that new lighting technique you've been wanting to practice, or experiment with creative compositions. What you learn, you can bring back to your professional work.
4. It's fun!
We all need to remember why we do photography in the first place - because we love it. There's nothing like a little personal work to bring the joy.