Posts tagged ‘Inspiration’

The Masterclass.

It’s amazing how people think that because they paid for a course/seminar or training, the trainer will spill all their secrets or they’ll become a master. I can relate because I’ve been there. I pay for one and come away thinking I’m now a master, I mean it was called a masterclass. Only to find out that the thinking part that made the work so good was missing from my thought process, and the tutor got so good through years of experience.

I think people should stop calling these classes master classes and call them workshops instead because can you really be a master of anything? But then again some of them just use it as a marketing ploy to get you to buy them. Think about it we all learn & get better till we die.

In some cases, if the trainer thought you their major secret(s) he might as well give you his bank account details & his client list, then be out of business for the sale of his or her course to the public.

I don’t know about you but I feel that they don’t tell you everything which could be intentional or they can’t because their ‘X’ factor is so ingrained in them that they are not aware of what makes them great. I mean they’ve been doing it for a really long time in most cases. I also feel that some of them just can’t share everything with the world, for whatever reason.

Be aware, paying for that really expensive seminar, will not give you what you require on platter of gold. You have a lot of work to do & the learning really starts after the course has elapsed. The best way is to go out there and make mistakes and take the so called “masterclass” as a point in the right direction. Like I always say, it important to push your limits, for that is when you start to achieve that which you value.

Finally I think you need a bit of luck, but you also need to be prepared to seize the opportunity when it arises. Hope this helps someone out there.

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The dry periods and the break.

There comes a time when you’ll not know what to do. It hits us all at different times in our lives. You could be bored with your routine, whatever that may be, you could be tired of your work, you could be tired of your environment. You may not even know what it is. Yes it does happen.It’s ok to take a break during these dry periods. You may need to find a new way to jump start things. You may need to be inspired; you may need a change of environment, easier said than done during these lockdown periods depending on where in the world you’re.


Let me go against the grain & say do nothing. People & I myself have recommended bombarding yourself with things that inspire but, things don’t always work 100% of the time especially with art. Trust me sometimes you need a day off, if not several but with caution & with the objective of jump starting things. Let’s call it a lazy day or several. Do nothing.


We’re so used to being busy these days we find it difficult to do nothing. Ask people trying to meditate for the first to time. It is hard, I know, I’ve tried it. I’ve however found that that these dry periods can be a good time to look back & take stock of things that are important to you & to learn to appreciate them. We all move to the next project when one is complete. As a result we tend under appreciate where we’ve come from. We take things for granted. Take a moment to stop creating & look through your work from the very beginning & take time to appreciate how you’ve grown. I’m sure you will smile. I know I do. Dry periods are important to recharge, reflect & value how far we’ve come.

When do you do this? I can’t tell you because we’re all different people chasing different dreams. But make sure you add it to your tool box. How frequently? It depends on what works for you, but please do not over do this. Generally I’ve found that life dictates this period for you, your job is to recognize it when the time comes & when it does, embrace it & try & use it as best you can & not to reject it or see it as a crisis.

Take a break it is not the end of the world.
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If there is love.

You will push yourself and not know it. You will just because it is something you enjoy, the tedious part of your work/vocation won’t matter because “the ends justifies the means”. 

Time will fly by & you’ll not know it, because you’re so into what you’re doing. There will be one more thing you want to try, there’ll be many experiments you need its results.

Ask yourself is there love, maybe there isn’t and you just never asked yourself that question or you are in denial. A lot of us do what we do for the money, which is ok, especially if circumstances require you do so. But please do something you love in addition. I’ve said this in many previous blog posts. Do something for you every day no matter how little. You need it for so many reasons. For you sanity, to have something to look forward to, to get better, do what you love. To have a sense of fulfilment even if it is not monetary and to show love to yourself. Love begets love. Love what you do to show love to yourself. 

Short story I always loved drawing, was told at a young age that is wasn’t going to be financially beneficial to me or my family. So I went to school, got a first & second degree, but my love for art never left even though I subdued it for about 15 years. It was always there. 

Eventually I went back, had to start afresh but that was never a problem. Why? because if there is love, you’ll always know your way home. So I went back and here I am. 

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My Confessions……

I’m not a writer, not by a long shot, so bear with me when reading my blog. The whole purpose is to communicate with my readers. I try to convey what I know to those who care and hopefully they can learn from me, or even teach me something in the comments section. 

I really tried avoiding writing a blog on my website when I first started I have to admit, but I think it’s imperative. Surprisingly it hasn’t been that bad. I’ve been doing my best and so far so good. I hope it’s helped those who have taken time to read it. Thanks a million, you know who you’re. 

I have made a lot of mistakes in my blog posts but I guess it is essential for growth, as Denzel Washington said in one of his speeches; it is ok to fail but make sure you “fail forward”. I definitely think I have done that looking back. There is still much to do but I think I’m getting a hang of it. I think the quality has gotten better and readers have been able to benefit from it from time to time.

It hasn’t been easy I must admit. I think it is just natural to want to spend time doing the things you really enjoy. In my case the artistic stuff. I think however that the blog allows me to connect on a different level that is also essential. I won’t lie I don’t enjoy it as much but we all have things we don’t enjoy but we have to get good at for our own benefit for example finance. Don’t get me started on that it is critical and the moment you make a conscious decision to get good at it the better for you and those around you.

So not to take too much of your time because I understand that there is so much online that competes for our most valuable resource, time. I want to say a big thank you. Thanks for bearing with us while we grow and get better.

Keep creating.

It’s one of the closing statements made by Umesh Dinda one of my favourite YouTube instructors. The statement is so apt. You create to put out your vision into the world. To satisfy a burning desire to give back, that which you love that brings you joy and hopefully others. 

You learn, you grow and become overall better.  There is always something to learn, there is always something to aspire to. So what happens when a goal is achieved? On to the next one, I’m afraid. You push your limits as far as you can and as you do, you get that addictive feeling of accomplishment. 

I find the joy is in the creative process more than the accomplishment itself. Achievements are very short lived. In so many instances the moment I’m almost done or nearing the end of a project, another one has invariably commenced, maybe mentally or in my sketchbook. It’s like reading a good book on amazon, the algorithm immediately recommends something similar for your next read or Netflix recommended another similar movie based on your previously watched movies or shows. 

As an artist keep creating. 

What are your thoughts? Can you relate? How do you start a new project?

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Don’t be mediocre.

So you’ve been told that your work isn’t good enough. For example, in photography, the light isn’t good; in art, your colours aren’t right or your proportions need work. They may be right, they may have a point, but be careful, it may lead your work down the path of mediocrity.

If you go ahead & tick all the boxes as required by the so called “best practices” you won’t stand out and you’ll just be one of the many. I’m by no means advocating you jettison “best practices”, no not by long shot. But have it at the back of your mind that your work should be yours. It should be for your audience. It should be a combination of the things that inspire you, with a bit of “you” added to it.

A bit of you can be many things. It could be what you’ve discovered while experimenting, it could be you going against the grain. It could be you embarking on what a lot of people shy away from. Whatever that may be, let it be that which puts a smile, a question mark, or that which puts an aha! moment on your face. I think that indicates progress on this never ending journey.

Now don’t get me wrong it doesn’t always work out, but I believe the day you stop doing these things is the day the mundane creeps up in your work.

So while you check some “best practices” boxes while working, have it at the back of your mind that the mundane is your enemy.

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People and their love.

People tend to take extra care doing what they love, it just shows. If you have two people on the same endeavour, with the same relative skills & experience, you can tell who loves it. It just comes through, it might not be immediately obvious but if you examine closely it shows. There is that extra labour of love in what we like. People that enjoy what they do tend to stick it out longer than those that don’t as well. So ask yourself? Do you really enjoy what you’re doing? If not, will you ever enjoy it?

It may be you don’t like the stage you’re in but the stage is required to get to your favourite part. So stick it out. If not, how fast can you can get out? If you can’t get out for the time being, what can you do to alleviate the situation? It is not all endeavours we dislike we can easily get out of, for example your day job. So what can you do to make it more interesting? It could be something as simple as listening to your favourite music while you work. We know that music can change ones mood. 

If for whatever reason it is hopeless can I recommend setting a part of your day to do what you love, it can be therapeutic in my opinion. It could be done after work. You could take up a personal project that you are passionate about. Overtime you’ll find out that you start to look forward to it and it invariably brightens your day. Thus having a positive impact on your mundane daily routine. So give it a try, what else is there to lose? Hope it helps.

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Keep it simple…

Sometimes it pays to keep your image simple. You don’t always have to use all you lights, your strobes, your gels etc the model doesn’t need heavy make up and yes I know you like that dress, but sometimes it pays to just put it all aside and work with the least amount as possible. I like the fact that it forces you to get rid of so many stuff you are used to and go back to the basics of what makes an image memorable. Is it the model herself ?, the colors?, the light & shadow ? or the scene depending on what you’re shooting. It can be liberating in some ways. It reminds you of where it all started from before complexity became the order of the day. I recommend you go back to the basics from time to time you might learn something new. I mean look at Apple products they epitomize simplicity in all their products and that is key in their sales. 

It can be hard to do, especially because it is easier to add than to take away, but I encourage all to do this once in a while & see where this leads them. 

They are all interconnected.

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Try not to work in isolation, I believe everything is interlinked when it comes to art. If you are a photographer or aspiring to be one, you have to study a lot of different subjects. Yes you need to understand your photography stuff like your gear and lights, and so on, but that is just the beginning of your journey. You then have to make what you are shooting interesting, it depends on you, it can be very simple it can be very dramatic. So what other things do you have to consider?

Ever wondered why you love some images and you just can’t tell exactly what it is about the photograph that makes the image tick? Yes it can be beautiful, yes the colors may pop, yes the location may or may not be exotic or grimy or grungy depending on the type of photograph. I believe it’s the subtle stuff that goes unnoticed that make the difference e.g. things like the model’s pose that you never actively noticed, give the image grace, make the image regal, movement, subtle facial expressions like squinting of the eyes, the time of day the shot was taken e.g. the golden hour and so on. Trust me as an artist/photographer you have to be aware of these subtle details, I don’t think you can ever actually master them, but noticing them is alone is the beginning of getting better in the long run.

So going forward learn as much as you can on an ongoing basis, be it posing, styling, makeup, be it communicating better with your subject during the shoot to get “that” expression. e.t.c learn as much as you can because for a fantastic shot all these things come together to make it what it is, so learn as much as you can to be able to tap into them and make your images stand out.

Something to Consider In Photography.

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Are you familiar with the quote “spray and pray” in photography? I think we’ve all done it, at least when we first started out. You take pictures, lots of pictures hoping that by magic you get that good shot through luck. It happens make no mistake, but rarely. Let me recommend an alternative………..

Do it with purpose. Before your next shoot and during your shoot keep asking yourself the following questions.

Why are my shooting?

What are my shooting?

What makes it unique?

What am I trying to say?

What is the concept?

What is the setting?

What angles will I shoot from?

What kind of light will I be using?

What type of light diffusers will be ideal?

e.t.c

By doing so we give the whole experience a sense of purpose, a direction. Thereby controlling the whole experience. Brooke Shaden (check her on instagram) gave us a template to start with, she recommends we consider the following when coming up with a concept for a shoot. They are:

  • Color
  • Prop
  • Wardrobe
  • Setting
  • Theme

I think that they are a great starting point for any shoot and we should consider them when next we are shooting. So for your next photography session you may want to consider or incorporate these suggestions. So get out there and start shooting.

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