If you fancy yourself to be a creative person, then you know how hard it is to start a project "from scratch."
My daughter, Sarah, happens to be one of those visually creative people. I realized that fact very early on when I wanted to re-paint my bedroom and found her pouring over the paint chips (at age 5) and coming up with a color that suited me and was perfect for the room. She took off from there, drawing, painting and then on to sewing and continues doing all of those things today.
Somehow she is driven to create something that exists only in her imagination and not dictated or restricted by direction from anyone else.
Here's a recent example of what I'm talking about. Sarah wanted to do something special for her brother's Bar Mitzvah and decided that giving him a quilt would be the perfect gift. I wanted in on it too, but knew that my best chance of having any input at all was to pay for the materials and then let her design and stitch it.
My creativity ended once my wallet was empty, but Sarah created a true work of art--if I may brag a bit. She loves to sew, making clothes and decorative objects for herself and her family and friends. Her passion is fueled by her imagination, and vice versa. See the quilt here.
Will she ever make a living doing what she's passionate about? Who knows. But that's not the point.
She does it because it's fun and imaginative and keeps her fresh.
It's the same with photographers. Though their assignment work is how they make a living, it's the personal work that keeps them inspired and fresh. And that's good for you and your photo assignment.
You will have a much deeper understanding of that photographer's vision if you ask to see his/her personal work.
First of all, photographers will be flattered that you are interested and will be happy to talk about their personal photos.
Secondly, you yourself may be inspired by what the photographer presents to you
. If you're looking for a studio photographer, ask to see personal work that has been shot in the studio. For a location shoot, ask to see personal work shot during a location assignment, or even on a vacation. You may benefit from a point of view that you hadn't considered before.
A word of advice
: if the photographer won't show you any personal work (or worse, doesn't have any), you might seriously consider passing on him/her. To me it shows a lack of passion and imagination for the craft.
Let's take Bill Gallery as an example.
Most of Bill's assignments revolve around being a fly-on-the-wall, either in an office or in an industrial facility.
Since there can be some time spent waiting for meetings to start or work to begin on a construction site,
Bill likes to "find' things to shoot.
Which is exactly what he does on an assignment anyway, even when he is working off your shot list.
Have a look below to see what I mean. The photos here are ones that Bill shot while in corporate offices. And, though none of these were specifically mentioned on the approved shot list,
they certainly tell you a thing or two about his vision.
All images ?Bill Gallery (based in New England)
It's amazing how Bill's office furniture looks so gorgeous, isn't it?
Maybe even changed your perception of a product that doesn't usually have the word "gorgeous" in the same sentence. If you want to see more of his personal work, just click
Oh, and Sarah's quilt was a huge hit. I got plenty of credit in the form of hugs. But Sarah got the bulk of the acclaim--as it should have been.
,* look out! Sarah's coming to town..
*Etsy is a peer-to-peer e-commerce site focusing on handmade or vintage goods.