Maintaining Enthusiasm and Creativity in a Budget-Driven World
In this budget-driven world, where many of us are hampered by time and financial constraints, it is sometimes hard to find the energy to be creative with our images—and enthusiasm can be difficult to muster when you're often feeling like a worker bee.
An added challenge for professional medical photographers is that images have become cheap and commonplace, as digital camera phones are now everywhere and the general public consider their images to be great.
In the face of all of these challenges, we need to develop strategies to enable ourselves to reach beyond the day-to-day workload and reinforce the value of using professional image-makers by showcasing our talents and reminding our organization that we create good images because of our knowledge, not just our tools.
Here are some ways to maintain your own enthusiasm and creativity while increasing your profile as a professional photographer.
Find new ways to promote your services.
Take the opportunity to marry current and past photographic technologies to create a unique product and showcase your art. Utilize your existing digital image collection and make a negative via your printer. At the most basic level, digital negatives can be contact printed onto paper that has been hand coated with chemistry, exposed in the sun and washed in water to create a beautiful piece of art.
Have an exhibition or create a book utilizing what you already have in your back catalogue.
This is a great way to generate interest from your colleagues and an admiration that you are a professional that has abilities that don't come with the digital phone camera. In addition, reinforcing to your colleagues that you are the imaging expert will bring you more business.
Attend professional meetings, lectures and conferences.
This is a great way to reaffirm your own professionalism with your peers. By attending meetings and having the opportunity to talk and collaborate with colleagues, I find validation with my frustrations and my working methods. Many photographers work either on their own or in very small departments. The ability to communicate with other colleagues/photographers reminds you that you don't have to feel like you are the only one in the boat, that we are all in this together.
Make connections with different people and departments in your work place.
This can provide new opportunities and ideas. I work closely with our veteran coordinator and our arts in health coordinator, which has provided me with opportunities to be involved in some very exciting projects that in turn have allowed me to promote myself as well as the services I offer to the organization, while raising the profile of our department.
Review past images that you have taken that you are especially proud of.
This helps when you are drudging through the mundane bread and butter jobs and reminds you that although you may not get the opportunity to take an award winning photo every day, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Visit museums and galleries or see a movie.
Inspiration comes in many forms. Do something completely different that has nothing to do with photography to help clear your mind so you can refresh the little grey cells. I find cooking, another form of chemistry, helps me to relax and unwind, and get the ideas flowing.
Stop, take a breath, and smell the roses.
Reflect, review and renew. These methods work for me but everyone is different and what inspires me may not inspire the next person, so look inside yourself to see what excites you, but most of all remain passionate about photography—after all that's why you are doing the job you're doing. Make sure you have some fun with what you are doing even if that can't be all the time. If you can't do that, you need to do something else.
About the Author
Danielle Edwards is the Manager of Clinical Photography at Austin Health in Melbourne, Australia.
Tips & Techniques is a resource tool for sharing expertise and professional experience to professional photographers and visual communicators in the life science community. To submit an article for consideration, contact Karen Hensley or the BCA Office.
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