You may know how to photograph your subject in a certain light situation, you may know how to compose your photograph to create additional drama, but do you allow your true emotions and feelings shine in your work?
Generally speaking, if you work as a professional photographer and this industry pays your bills, it also often dictates how much or how little of your inner personality and feelings it will contain. For example, as a headshot photographer you have certain criteria to fulfill for your client to be satisfied with the result, which means that they may have chosen you for your style of work, price, location, and perhaps personality, but the work will show little to no visual statement of your current state of mind.
However, once you have finished your client's job, you may want to consider leaving all that behind for a few hours and experimenting with something that's a lot more complicated, has no how-to guides, and is completely unrepeatable, namely documenting how you feel in this moment and time in your life. You and your family will feel grateful for this in years to come, I have no doubt about that.
Daring to be transparent with yourself and your current emotional state sounds like something that isn't quantifiable, and that's true. There is no blueprint for this, nor are there tutorials, because nobody can tell you how to visually express your innermost thoughts; this is such a unique process that only you can do. In comparison to a more technical exercise, such as commercial work, highly personal work becomes a lot harder to pursue because you are forced to become more mindful and slow down. And this is exactly why it is so challenging and rewarding.
Taking a step away from your professional responsibilities will allow you to create a deeply personal documentary of chapters in your life. Don't let your jobs take over your life so much so you end up with only old invoices and a bag full of gear as a reminder of your photography journey, however long it may be. Take time out of your busy life, even if it's just a few hours every month, and slow yourself down by tuning in with your current head space, and use your photography skills to document it. This exercise is not about technical perfection that you may use in your professional routine, and don't forget that you don't even have to share this work with anyone but yourself.
Remind yourself to be selfish on occasions and unplug from everything around you for a moment because if you don't, you risk losing that passion you have for picking up your camera and pressing the shutter to create something out of nothing. Your photography assignments may give you food and shelter, but don't forget to feed your soul, too.
Do you make time for personal work? Do you struggle to incorporate this in your routine? Let us know your experiences.