A watched pot never boils. Which is fine because you don’t get many commissions through a boiling pot. The problem is the same bad analogy can be applied to your phone. Waiting for the phone to ring can be demoralising at the best of times. It can be a vicious circle as well, the more you wait the less you’ll be shooting so fewer new clients will come to you.
And thus our sermon begins. A photographer’s personal work is as important, if not more, than commissioned work. Inevitably you’ll be commissioned based on your portfolio – a bulk of which will probably be personal projects. Personal work has a host of benefits; from collaboration with others, developing styles, experimenting with lighting to simply keeping you interested in taking interesting photos. We all get stuck in a rut time to time and a good personal project can hoist you out of this. Also, deep down, how many of us are prepared to gamble on a commission to try something completely new? Inevitably you’re commission based on existing work.
Not all personal work will lead to portfolio images but the process of drafting ideas, shooting and editing, is all valuable experience. Getting in the habit of shooting for yourself is a good one to have and, in the long run, will leave you with better clients who book you on what you like to shoot.