What do you do to continually push yourself and develop your work? Often it can be tricky to figure out how best to push ourselves, as well as keep the momentum up to continually do so. The best photographers I know are constantly pushing, challenging themselves a little each day and now one of them has given us the chance to up our game - welcome to the next 10 days of the 'Stay Out There' Lindsay Adler challenge.
Lindsay is without a doubt one of the hardest working photographers / people I know of in the industry today; her work ethic is insane. Whenever I think I can’t work much harder, I look at what she is doing and actually realize I’m basically slacking in comparison!
This is why I love the idea of her bringing us this free 10 day challenge. Each day is a different challenge she had set, which aims to push us all out of our comfort zones and inject some new creativity into our work. Much of the concept for pushing and creatively challenging ourselves is taken from her book Creative 52, where she presents readers with weekly challenges that aim to stretch us all to reach new creative heights through the course of an entire year.
I was lucky to get a little time with Lindsay and find out what she enjoys about pushing her creativity constantly and what she was aiming to achieve with this project:
This Adobe project is about helping other photographers grow, and in these tutorials I not only challenge other photographers but provide my own visual answers to these creative solutions.
I teach a bit about lighting, camera/lens choice, Photoshop CC, Lightroom mobile, Adobe Voice, and Adobe Slate.
On a personal note, as someone who has just signed up for the full Cloud experience, I’m very keen to see what I can learn from these challenges and how it can improve my workflow and provide some insight into Adobe applications that I rarely use (I’m spent 99% of my time in Premiere, Photoshop and Lightroom).
From what I’ve seen, Lindsay takes us through her shoots and essentially breaks down exactly what she did – from the lighting, the props, the concept, the practical effects she is using, and how she achieved the overall look. She details her final images and gives a great overview of the process from start to finish in a series of nice succinct videos that are totally free and pack a ton of info in to a nice short running time.
I wanted to find out from Lindsay her approach to challenging herself. She told me a story of how her first big portfolio review with an editor of a fashion magazine in London years ago was a total wake up call which led to her desire to always push herself.
He basically told me “to start again”. I stared at him - I thought he wanted to start at the beginning of my portfolio again, or maybe start the meeting again. He actually meant I should start my PORTFOLIO again. Re-do it. Start from scratch!
What she took away from this was invaluable – in order to be memorable and stand out she would need to find her own vision and creative voice to be truly impactful and memorable.
I needed to find my creative voice-- something to make me heard and remembered. For the next year after that meeting, I did one personal shoot a week, and this is how I really started to become the strong photographer I am today—through these personal challenges.
This is the concept she extends to all of us for her 10 day challenge, and I think the idea of pushing ourselves in whatever way we can is fantastic.
She had a few other nuggets from our conversation that I thought were really insightful that I’ve shared below:
On pushing herself while staying true to her own vision and style:
The number one way I've found to push myself is to study the work or technique of another photographer, and try to emulate the technique while staying true to my own style. Sure, I might try to master another photographer's lighting, but always with my own vision and twist. This way the work is my own and true to my style while I can grow my technical knowledge.
On why she thinks it’s important to always challenge herself, and how she goes about doing that year in, year out:
Each year I aim to replace a third to half of my portfolio with new images. If I’m not growing and not shooting, then I’m falling behind. This constant drive to shoot has allowed me to slowly grow each year. Seldom do I make leaps and bounds, but in more than 15 years of shooting I’ve slowly grown into the photographer I am today.
Personal projects and assigning myself creative challenges are absolutely essential to my growth as a photographer.
You can see all of Lindsay’s 10 day challenge videos here and more will come online through the course of the next week.
Special thanks / All images copyright: Lindsay Adler