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How to turn personal projects into paid assignments

One thing a lot of photographers don’t lack is passion. I think that one of the reasons for this passion is that most of us didn’t start out taking pictures for money, I know I didn’t. The first time I remember picking up a camera was when I went away to summer camp as a kid and I wanted to capture the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. I had a little Kodak disk camera that I brought along and used up all the film I packed in the first two weeks of the camp- not that any of those images were any good. Since then, my equipment has improved a long with my images, but what has not changed is the care and passion that drives me to get up early on a Saturday morning to shoot a trail runner when the light is streaming through the trees or swimming out into the surf in the middle of winter to capture surfers riding big waves.

Though lately, I have found that my inspiration to shoot images has waned a bit and I have just been picking up my camera only for “paid” assignments. So to break out of that rut, I sent out a call to some athletes I follow on Facebook asking for models to do some images for my portfolio. After only one shoot with an athlete, who was asking me who else I was looking to shoot, he has now connected me to a friend of his who is starting up a new sports clothing company and needs some product images done for her catalogue. Not only that, but she also is friends with another top athlete who is looking for some new sponsors and needs new promo images done. So by working on a personal project and shooting what I am passionate about, I have connected with two potential new clients.

Next time you are feeling flat or stuck creatively, go back to what inspired you to pick up a camera and what you are passionate about shooting and who knows what it will lead to.

Here are a few images I have taken as part of personal projects that have lead to paid jobs.


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