There’s nothing worse than wanting to start a personal photography project and not having the foggiest idea of where to begin. So you start a 365 project because it seems like everyone else you know has a 365 going strong and they all take incredible shots, so you, obviously, would have the same luck. Except, by the 100th day (if you’re lucky), you’re messaging friends begging them for any idea they can suggest to help you drag your creatively lifeless body out of the photo a day trenches and save you from yourself. And also, you realize you there’s not a snowball’s chance you’re going to make it another 265 days. So you put the camera down and slowly back away from the project.
Then you decide that maybe, just maybe you can tackle a 52 week photo project. That’s certainly going to get your creative juices flowing. But then week after week of trying like hell to find something clever to photograph for the theme of fork, you have enough and scrap it. You opt to spend way too much time scrolling through Instagram, getting caught up in all the talent out there.
Which leads you down a shame spiral. You begin to wonder if you’ll ever find that one thing…that one photo subject that you were meant to photograph. Raise your hand if you’ve been there. I have. More times than I care to admit actually. But here’s where you have to put in some effort. It’s the same idea as creating a Pinterest board except you are now making mental notes of everything that sparks that fire in you.
Maybe it’s your children, your garden, the way the light hits your kitchen table at dinner time, how your dog sits and stares up at you sweetly. Turn inward. Look at your day to day with a fresh set of eyes. Forget what you were jealous of on Instagram and start focusing on your own world. After a while of stripping away all of those “brilliant” ideas that you just knew were the answer, your passion project/your personal photo project will begin to unfold right before your very eyes. But let’s be honest, this may not happen over night. It may not happen for a painfully long time, but don’t give up. One day you’ll recognize a tiny little spark that will make you take pause. And soon that spark will become a flame. Remember, we, as photographers, are passionate people. We are driven to create art, moments, memories. It’s at the heart of why we love this medium with every fiber of our being. There are sparks and flames that are drawing us in every time we pick up our cameras. Again, you may not see it at first, but when you do, it will stop you dead in your tracks.
So this is me calling out to you to not give up. Jot down all of those moments that moved you. Scour through old photographs that made you feel something deep down in your core. Find that spark. You just have to look for it because I promise you it’s right there.
Katie Oblinger is a child and family photographer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. She believes that there is extraordinary beauty in the chaos and undeniable joy in the quietest of moments. She’s the photographer behind the series The Face of Childhood. You can follow her work on Instagram and you can find her portfolio here.