When i posted about my Canon 5D Mark III i tried to point out that i have two sides of being a professional photographer.
The side that pays the bills, actual work, and as a friend told me, the side that fuels the passion, the fun part.
I learned that i have to have both in order to be motivated, sane and be a happier human being.
Whenever i have a job, big or small, i feel motivated being busy. How long it takes doesn't matter. In the end, achieving the best results, knowing that i tried and gave my best, delivering what the client asked for is what counts the most. Depending on the type of client, it may be or not a creative process.
It is a meaning to an end. I can pay the bills, i can eat every day, take a warm shower, take the train and plan awesome trips to awesome places. I shouldn't complain.
But i do. Most of the jobs don't make me a better creative. I felt that i was getting stagnant only having paid work. That is where personal projects come into play.
For a while i didn't have a personal project. I had ideas but never felt motivated to do them. I can blame it on the camera all i want but in the end, it was my willingness to start that made me move forward. At this moment is hard for me not to go out and take one photo every day. Meanwhile, i started working on an old personal project. Even my website/blog is a personal project.
It allows me to be as creative as i wish, mess up as many times as i need, try different things and learn from it. The only person i have to answer to is myself. As i mentioned before, once i started taking a photo every day, i started to feel much more creative and motivated towards photography.
But does it pay the rent? Can i put food on my table? Take that warm shower every day? Take the train? Go on amazing trips? The answer is no.
The point i want to make is that there has to be a balance between both. Having a specific goal and being occupied working is an amazing feeling. I love working with everyone i got the chance to meet so far. Waking up sometimes at 5:30 in the morning and getting back home sometimes at 2 in the morning of the next day and do it all over again next day. Running around on location trying to get everything. Setting up lights, directing models/subjects. Getting my hands dirty. Being stuck at home editing photos or going places i would never go.
With that said, once everything is figured out there is little room for improvisation and most important, failure. I learn a lot on jobs but i learn the most when i am trying things for myself and doing things for myself. I can try to do things i would not be allowed to do on a job. Sure, not all the jobs are the same and there are a few that i can experiment and do my thing and even learn a lot especially when there are more people working on it.
In the end, for me, my best work is the one i do for myself.
PS: It took me some time to figure out how to write about this. The reason being that in my mind this is a cycle. Having jobs pays the bills allowing me to have personal projects which in turn makes me more creative helping me on jobs.