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Be Inspired.

26 May

Deb Schwedhelm, my dear friend and an amazing photographer posted this incredible image + statement on her blog yesterday. Not only are her words true, she is a phenomenal example of a woman who is true to herself, who seeks her own path, who  takes risks in her work and most of all, nurtures her own profound sense of creativity. If you enjoy this post, browse her archives to learn more about her and her life. If you are just starting out, you will admire her journey — and if you’re a veteran photographer, you may just discover a kindred spirit. Thanks Deb for being fully YOU and for never ceasing to be original and inspirational.


Follow Your Heart

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”
– Steve Jobs

It’s so easy to get caught up in being inspired by others’, which often results in feeling frustrated and discouraged with our own work. And that’s exactly when we need to dig a little deeper, trust ourselves and follow the direction our heart is telling us to go.


10 Ways to Infuse Your Work With Your Personality

25 May

Keri Smith is a brilliant artist, illustrator and writer. She’s also the author of a variety of books including Living Out Loud – Activities to Fuel a Creative Life, which is now next on my to-read list. A fellow photographer shared a link to Keri’s blog where she shares this gem. So, for anyone wondering how to find yourself, your style, your own creative voice — or for anyone needing a gentle reminder to regain something they may have lost, read on. Her words are wise, poignant and relevant. Thank you Keri for sharing your words!

1. Document what you are responding to regularly. *journal/sketchbook, blog, listmaking, photo journal, bulletin board collage, internet bookmarks, Allow yourself to go deeper into an idea. Find influence outside of your field. Consider that you are ALWAYS working for yourself.

2. Start to challenge yourself on a regular basis to try new things, (not just for work. *i.e. new foods, colors, processes, classes, travel, become a guerilla artist, etc. Your hobbies are your greatest source of play.)

3. Go back to your childhood, (the formative years). What were your favourite things to do? In this lies some clues as to where you want to focus your energy as an adult. What makes you burst with energy?

4. Do something that is not for money. For your own enjoyment. (Your greatest work will come from here!)
-x-mas card
-product concept
-gifts for friends.
Design for yourself. *See handout on guerilla art.

5. Use sources that are based on your daily life. Your life IS your art. What are the things that are most important in your current life?

6. Become a collector. Collecting allows us to look at one thing in a contemplative & mindful way. Giving you new insights and perceptions. Examples: Maria Kalman -purse contents, Steven Guarnaccia -shoe sole
rubbings, Ian Phillips & Grant Heaps -Lost & Found pet posters, Mark Ulriksen (former art director) -misspellings of his name, Charles & Rae Eames -toys from other countries

7. “Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain.” Ignore what other people are doing. It has no bearing on your existence or vision of the world. The times we feel the most discouraged are usually due to the fact we are comparing ourselves to others. Most times reading awards annuals, and industry mags only serves to make us feel inadequate. Try cutting it out entirely. Designer Bruce Mau recommends not entering awards competitions. His reasoning, “Just don’t do it, it’s not good for you.”

8. Don’t promote to target your audience. By all means send things out into the world, but don’t think in terms of “promoting to get work”. Send stuff out because -you’re proud of it, -you want to share something with the world, -it’s fun to get mail, -to have good karma, -you want to spread your germs, -you like licking stamps. Try sending a postcard of something you made for fun, (i.e. directions on how to make a finger puppet). When thinking of subject matter for promotions look to your current life. If you deal with topics that are important to you a piece will have much more life to it.

9. Take a lighthearted approach (Don’t take yourself too seriously). If you feel stuck, you can always reinvent yourself, (re: try something else).

10. Study other artists or creators who followed their own vision. Research.

– article + illustration by Keri Smith


24 May

saw this and it made me smile. a little.

How to be YOU.

19 May

If you’re reading this, you already know we value originality. In fact, we shout its merit from the rooftops. While a large portion of our mission is to defend copyright in the photography industry (and give photographers the tools to do so), we also want to share resources that encourage photographers to foster creativity and pursue their own unique path as well. Today, MCP Actions features a great article by Jessica of 503 Photography that does so perfectly. The topic is building your storefront/website and is a perfect follow-up to “Do the WRITE Thing” posted earlier this week. Instead of looking to other photographers for inspiration, Jessica chronicles her journey of finding the right design and copy (note: it didn’t happen in the first iteration).

She shares tips like “Be You”, “Write Genuinely” and “Let People Get to Know You” — sounds simple and obvious, but she expands on what this looks like and, no, you don’t have to spend a fortune to do it. Most importantly, anyone can put her suggestions into action — if you’re ready to hang your shingle as a photographer, be prepared hang the shingle of a brand that’s uniquely you as well.

Take a look at the full article here.

While you’re reading, browse these articles on finding and developing your unique brand:

Losing Your Fear. Finding Your Brand – Fast Company
One Easy Way to Find Your Brand Idea – Shoestring Branding
Personal Branding 101: How to Discover and Create Your Brand –

Celebrate Originality

14 May

My dear friend + photographer Deb Schwedhelm posted this drawing on her blog this week. Her 13-year-old Kiele created it to celebrate her mom’s creativity and originality. Not only do I love her art work, I adore the fact that Kiele is already embracing the idea of being true to who you are. We could learn a lot from her.

If you have a photo, piece of visual art or quote that celebrates originality, please submit to along with the proper attribution.

Be Yourself.

11 May

Saw this awesome image by Liz and thought it was a perfect fit. Brightens things up a bit, doesn’t it?

“Individualized” by Elizabeth Leighton: Don’t settle for being a part of the crowd