If you live in a state like Michigan, it can feel tough to stay “in-shape” during your off-season. Snow, sub-zero temperatures, and let’s be honest, snotty noses, make it difficult to want to get out “there” and shoot. Of course some of you are just getting into your busy season, so just go ahead and ignore me on this one until it’s your turn to relax.
First, take some to chill the heck out. Our seasons can be grueling depending on how many sessions you are shooting. Let your brain decompress, your hands unclench the camera for a hot second and relaaaaaax…
But then, if you want to stay in tip-top shooting shape and not feel like a curmudgeon when your season begins, you better get out “there” and practice your thaaang. This is a great time of year to try something different, something unique, something fun. Last year I really needed to work on my shooting so I found a gorgeous model (thank you, Melissa!) and a former student of mine who was willing to do a winter shoot for some of her senior photos (thank you, Becca!) and we trounced through snow fighting off bitter temps to get some shots, and, seriously, they are some of my favorite images EVEEEER! It was so cold, but we had so much fun because it was different, we weren’t tied to any specific ideas, we just went for it. Of course, that turned my normal shooting ADHD into super ADHD and I was all over the place, but It. Was. Magic. (I also have to give a shout out to Syd, Shannon, and Alix who drove four hours that day, with Becca, to help me shoot since I was in a shoulder sling).
There are other things to do besides freezing your you-know-what off to keep yourself fresh during your downtime. Practice your editing skills. Take some old shoots and re-edit them. Play around with Photoshop and see what you can learn. There are tutorials on Adobe’s website to help you if you aren’t too swift with it yet. Heck, even if you are a rock star at it, there’s always something new to learn. Last spring I began editing for another photographer friend and I can’t begin to tell you how it’s improved my own editing. After editing for her and gaining confidence in it, I have done some work for other amazing and talented photographers as well. My knowledge and self-esteem with editing has increased three-fold since taking on this outside editing. Even if you don’t want to do it for others, as I said, work on your own images and you will gain confidence as well.
Find some classes you can take online or take a peek at Creative Live. Maybe find someone to mentor you if you feel you need that to give your off-season self a little boost in your confidence.
It’s not just shooting we can work on. We all do much more than shoot, as I’ve mentioned over and over and over and over again. We design. And a lot. Play around not just with Photoshop, but Illustrator and InDesign if you have to it. Work on some templates for yourself so that you don’t get bogged down and stressed out when you need to come up with some in MAY for the clients who’ve waited until then to order open house invitations.
Ok, I’m putting this out in the universe, so now I’m going to have to follow through…pardon me while I puke…I’m opening my own design shop. EEEEK! There, I said it! I’m hoping that this will not only help me bring in some income throughout the year, but it will also force me to continue my creativity in my down time. I can only imagine the emotional roller coaster this will take me on in the next several months as I put it all together, but, gosh darn it, I’m doing it! BOOM!
Don’t let yourself get all gooey ooey, out of shape, and unmotivated this off-season. Once again, I’m talking about shooting shape, but sheesh, with all the holiday goodies, many of us may physically get a little gooey, but it will be worth it (Fruitcake, yum 😉 )! Shoot, learn, play around and let your creativity take off so you don’t feel stale and out of it when it’s shooting season. Or sit on your butt, it’s up to you…