Chapter 1: Feeling Inspired On Command
A few years ago, I participated in a free business course funded by the European Union. During one of our sessions, another participant, a jewelry designer, mentioned how she for a long time had been holding back on a great idea of collaborating in-studio with her clients, because she was afraid the inspiration and creativity needed to perform in front of her client wouldn't come.
I thought about this for a while and then raised my hand and said that, well actually, I basically always need to be creative on command in my job. And I had never thought about that part of it before. But with weddings especially there are no do-overs, no time to hesitate. You must create in the now, in that second, on THAT day. You must feel inspired right then.
At the time I had no answer to give her as to how I managed that expectation and pressure. For the first few years as a photographer I think the "high" of actually just being behind the camera, creating, doing what I loved, living the dream, was enough to keep me going. But even when your passion is your job, there are still hundreds of tasks involved in running a business that are decidedly not inspiring. Tasks that seem to suck the life out of you. But the following night as I lay in bed waiting to fall asleep, it hit me: it all comes down to attracting the right clients. (Sometimes I feel like I am repeating myself in this course, but I cannot emphasise enough how much that one thing changes everything in your business!).
When I get booked by clients who I can relate to, with whom I share similar values and interests and world-view, and whose personal style just lights my fire, I am also guaranteed that I will be itching to get started once their wedding day arrives. When a client values me, my time, and my art, I feel a fire inside to create my best work for them, to make them feel GREAT in front of my camera and to make sure I do my part to give them a wonderful wedding day.
I am inspired by many things on a daily basis, but to be inspired and creative on command, I need to work with people who inspire me.
Another way to be able to bring out that elusive feeling of inspiration whenever you need it, is to make sure that you stay in contact with your muse on a regular basis. When running a creative business, you should consider it an obligatory task to oxygenate your inner flame. This is something I still have to remind myself of every day. It is so important to nurture creative impulses and hobbies outside of our businesses and also realise that not all of what we love or enjoy have to be turned into a business. That they can simply be a source of joy and inspiration.
My friend and photographic artist, Maria Fynsk Norup, has written a wonderful essay specifically for you, for this course, on exactly this topic and I look forward to sharing it with you in the Bonus section.