I am a big believer in the importance of a photographer taking time to do Creative Shoots.  Creative Shoots are photographer driven, not customer driven.  Creative Shoots are not about creating a product that the client wants to buy, but instead are about feeding the photographer.  I just recently finished a book called Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink.  He points out that there is an internal desire in us to learn, to grow, and to create.  If we, as photographers, only focus on satisfying our clients needs, we tend to not take risks, we tend not to grow, and we tend to lose our internal motivation.  When shooting for a client, it is essential to rely on our expertise to produce predictably good results.  That pressure to provide predictably good results, causes us to fall into a rut, not trying new things, not pushing the boundaries.

This causes us to stagnate…  get bored…  and lose all motivation.  In his book, Pink points out that the simple carrot/stick, reward/punishment, sale/no sale motivation technique rarely works in circumstances where creative thought and innovation come into play.  He asserts that there is a drive inside of each of us that just wants to learn for learning sake.

I have found this to be very true in my life.  I crave learning new things, mastering new skills and trying out new techniques.  There are times when I really want to hone in and perfect new skills, but I don’t want to risk a clients images on my learning….  Thus my Creative Shoots.

For this shoot I really wanted to try out an editing style with the feel of the awesome Meg Bitton.  She has a stunning urban maternity series that I love.  I also wanted a shot as classic Austin as possible… SO it had to highlight the Capitol building.  I called up one of my favorite teenagers and made a plan.

Austin Senior Photos - Capitol Balloon

The shot in the bottom of the collage above was the shot that I was wanting.  Honestly I wish there wasn’t a light post so prominent in the background, but other than that I love it.

The shots below were completely added bonus.   But I love the backlit balloons and that is definitely something that I would use with future clients.



Creative Shoots are an awesome time to collaborate with other photographers.  My friend Simi Showono joined me for this shoot.  It was great to have someone to bounce ideas off of and get a different perspective.

Find some friends…  make some plans and incorporate Creative Shoots into your calendar!

My goal is to do one of these creative shoots each month.  I really think that taking the time to focus on feeding my creative yearnings, make me a better photographer for my clients.

5 thoughts to “The Importance of Creative Shoots

Leave a comment to Hannah Nielsen Cancel reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *