Let me be clear. If you'd have asked me about the value of taking photos of myself several weeks ago, I would have said it's completely ridiculous. But then I started this personal branding class with photographer Julia Mae Hunt – and for the past couple of months, I've been striking a pose. It still feels a little weird, but here are a few things I've learned from the process that I think make it a worthwhile endeavor for anyone.
An image is only for that moment, but the impression can last a very long time. So why not see what you can create by taking photographs with yourself as the subject.
Sharing a photo of you is not about you. There are specific values of taking pictures of yourself: you are a canvas, and there are countless views and moods to paint. When you share a photo of yourself, there is essential communication taking place. Photos immediately create impressions on others. They may identify with the emotions the picture elicits.
In branding terms, a picture of you isn't only about you; it's about what the viewer sees in that image. It's a mutual experience, a blending of expectations, shared experiences, and surprises.
Once I stopped worrying about how I appear in my images – hair, makeup, smile, etc. – I was freed to think about composition, space, light, color, and what feeling or message I am trying to convey. That was a relief, no 8X10 glossy hair traumas, but me capturing a moment in time, hoping to connect with others.
2. Create for creativity's sake. Do you think of yourself as a creative person? If you do, you're quite lucky. We are each creative, but some of us struggle believing that and bringing it out. For example, I write, which I don't think of as creative because it's my work. Nevertheless, it is, and I am creating.
I have rarely used other mediums for my personal creativity. The opportunity has not come up often, so photography has been particularly fascinating, exploring the process, working though the thorny issues, and loving some of the outcomes. Now taking photos of myself and focusing on creating images and sharing moods, has reminded me that I have something to express.
3. Take risks. Creativity is an opportunity to leap into the pool of adventure and live to tell the tale. When you create, you learn something about communication and about yourself.
Take risks in creating and allow yourself room to be dissatisfied. Consider the effort of creating the point rather than the outcome. The process itself is a worthy practice and use of time. Think of creating as a measure of your own progress, where the only person you need to be better than is you.
4.. Tap into creative resources for inspiration. Creative people get this, but it's important to seek out inspiration for those of us, kicking and screaming into creativity. Look at art in all its forms for ideas of ways you can be creative. Artists learn from other artists.
Go to the art museum, see a show, listen to new music, read the book you've been putting off, check out documentaries on creative people of all types and disciplines. I've become enamored of creatives via Youtube and enjoy thinking creatively as an example.
"Art is an effort to create, beside the real world, a more humane world." ~ Andre Maurois, French Author
One of the most rewarding aspects of being human is our ability to create. Perhaps making art is one of the worthiest ways we communicate. What creative outlets do you enjoy? Who are the creatives that inspire you? If you're up for it, take a photo of yourself and share it!
Creating is behind the effort of items at Storied Gifts Shop. Humbly Human is a favorite t-shirt. You can check it out to see what you think here.