This is the first part of several to help you kick-start your own photography passion project. Not only will that give loads of photo opportunities, it will help you develop your photography skills. During my first years of my career I felt great gratification in working for magazines and clients and having people paying me to take pictures. That've somewhat changed a little. Don't get me wrong, I still love working as a commercial photographer but some years ago I started to feel something missing. I wanted to tell a story. The only problem was, I didn't know what story to tell.
A lot of my student on my workshops tells me they want to photograph more, but they do not know what to photograph. They want to say something but they don't know what. In your early photography career that is a good way to feel! Even if you don't know what it is exactly, you have the urge to tell a story. Embrace that instinct and make something out of it and you'll grow, not only as a photographer but as a human being.
My urge to tell a story later evolved to my current undertaking, the EthniCity Project. I'm meeting and photographing one person from each of the 175 countries that is represented in my hometown. An amazing project that is giving me more than i could ever imagine.
What is a passion project? Just what it sounds like, something that you do because you are passionate about it, not to earn money. If you aren't already convinced that you should come up with an idea for a great long-term project, here's why you should!
It will set goals
Take a look at any website or blog on the theme success, self-help or business. The number one key to succeeding? Setting clear goals. Knowing where you're going will help you move forward fast. When you snap pictures randomly you you have no idea of what you are out to accomplice. During a project, large or small, there's a light in the end of the tunnel and you're able to aim for that. You have a path to walk on and even thought there's going to be a few obstacles, you know where you are heading. When you want to succeed, in any field, set up goals. We'll go deeper into goal setting for your project later on.
It will create continuity
Whenever you feel the urge to photograph and create, you'll be able to continue where you left of the last time. No need to come up with new ideas or do any pre-planning. Just keep on shooting and build a larger and better bank of pictures. You will be able to see substantial progress through the whole progress. It's amazing to be able to print some of the pictures and put them on the floor to see how a project evolves!
It will open doors
Your project is probably focused around something that you are passionate about and probably want to learn more about and you can never know to much people. People love passion. If you put your soul into a project and become genuinely interested in what people have to say, a lot of doors will magicaly swing open. You will learn more and you'll certainly gain a lot of friends that will exist long after the last picture is printed and framed.
During The EthniCity Project I do not only have the chance to get to know 175 new people in my own city. I gain access to contacts in 175 countries around the world. A good thing when you travel for a living.
It will make you more creative
The editors and ADs are counting on you to deliver what they are paying you for and here's a great deal of insistence on you to get it done. That will usually suffocate a great deal of the creativity that your brain possess. In your own personal project there is no client waiting for result, no buyer that need it to be done in a specific manner. You are your own boss and it's entirely up to you how you want to wrap it up. You'll be amazed what total freedom will do to the creating parts of your brain.
A passion project is a great way to explore new ways to use photography.
It will give great pleasure
I'm sure you've felt the happy sensation jolting through your body when you finish a large exam, turn in a report or finish the last layer of paint on the summer house. We feel great when we see something that we've built with our own hands. The larger the task, the greater pleasure.
It will lead to really interesting business
When I started the 100 Days project I could never imagine how much that would come from such simple idea. It was published in three magazines and news papers. I got an opportunity to become a in-house blogger for one of the largest travel magazines in Scandinavia. I was asked to record a seven hour travel photography video class. It helped me sell numerous prints. And the project itself didn't cost me anything but my time.
Whenever someone puts his or her blood, sweat and tears into something, people will gain interest and respect in that project. We love dedicated people.
In the next part I´ll give all the tips you need to come up with a great idea for your project. If you already have one, you'll get the chance to craft it a little more before launch!