Letting Go To Recharge

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Lately, I’ve been really feeling it in terms of stress. The idea that you’ve lost control of your life can be overwhelming, to say the least. While I know that this is just a momentary feeling, it still sucks to not feel in control. But at this moment, no matter what I am going through, I realize that I will forever be in control of how I respond to life, and it is in that response that determines what happens next.

So instead of allowing myself to be frustrated (which does absolutely nothing), I decided to just let go. I spent the day unwinding, reflecting, and being conscious of my thoughts.

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I stayed off my phone as much as possible, I left my laptop, which I’m religiously checking for client emails, and I even put my camera to rest for the day. I used my phone only to take these two photographs in this post. But you know what? It was refreshing. I realize that a lot of my frustration and this feeling of being out of control is really only a result of the tiring routine that I’ve created for myself. As nice as it is to feel like you’re grinding hard, at some point it becomes counterproductive, We need rest to recharge and to become centered again. I’m working on giving myself more breaks throughout the day because my mental, physical, and emotional health are so important.

As I wrap up this post, I’m looking forward to enjoying the rest of my day in a state of relaxation. I’m going to make me a cup of coffee with exactly 3 creams, 4 equals, and a shot of hazelnut (yum). Then, I’m going to listen to some music on pandora while I hang up some of my photo prints around my room. I also plan to look up some homes in Atlanta on Zillow (because who doesn’t love looking up homes they can’t afford?). Lastly, I’m going to end my day binging Riverdale on Netflix. Until next time!

 

 

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Creative Roadblocks: How I’m Currently Combating Mine

We all get hit with a creative roadblock every once in a while. Admittedly, I have them more than I probably should. Regardless, these roadblocks are normal. Currently, I’m dealing with one in regards to my own work. It’s not so much that I don’t have ideas, but more so that I don’t have the means to execute them (or at least that’s how it feels). I would consider that a creative roadblock in that my finances/resources are preventing me from unleashing my ideas. At the very least, I haven’t been able to think of a solution to help move my ideas along.

I don’t have all the answers, but one of the main things that I’ve been doing is testing concepts with what I have available. Challenging myself to produce a certain level of work that I’m satisfied with knowing that I had little available to me. For me, it’s so easy to get caught up in what I don’t have but I’m quickly unlearning that behavior because it will only hold me back. Instead of, “I can’t do this because I don’t have x, y, and z”. It’s “Let me see how I can make this happen with what I currently have”. Where we place our energy is so important. I believe that the more time we dwell on the negative, that’s what we continue to receive. However, focusing on the positive will allow you to have more positive experiences. If anything, having this mindset allows you to come up with a creative solution to any problem. I would say that since obtaining my BFA, that was my biggest takeaway from my college experience. No matter what is presented in front of you, there is always a solution, and it’s up to you to have the confidence, creativity, and diligence to figure it out.

 

 

With that said, here are a series of products shots I did for my Nike Air Max Tavas that I did right in my room. Most of my work has been centered around urban geometry, but my passion is to work and connect with people. Also, I’ve been interested in style shoots so this photo set was more of my introduction into that as it relates to product shots. I don’t have the plan all figured out, but I have plenty of ideas that I want to not only sit with but work at and manifest. I’m excited to share my progress and see where this all takes me.

Update: Travel & Photography

Photo from Art Show | Collide 2019

It’s been a while since I’ve posted but with my art show accomplished and graduation in just 15 short days, things are starting to wind down on my end, which makes me excited for the future of my blog and photography. I’ve always had concrete plans for my future and the direction I’m headed with my art, but I always found it difficult to manage my time to really invest in it. With that said, I’m excited to roll out some new things moving forward.

As I said before, I’m preparing to go out of town at the end of May. My goal is to travel through Atlanta and Orlando and start pitching ideas to companies, building networks, etc. As I’m preparing to move away from Chicago, I thought this would be a good place to start.

I’m not 100% certain on either business environment and what it takes to actually gain clients so I figured I dive into it and see what happens. I still have loose ends to tie up in Chicago but I’m flexible in terms of working with clients all over. I’m also interested in creating a photo challenge for myself while I’m away. I embrace photo challenges because it gives me the opportunity to shoot things I wouldn’t on a regular day and it just continues to help me strengthen my eye. So if anyone has any suggestions comment below.

Travel plans aside, I’ve been thinking more about my photography and the direction I’m headed visually. I honestly can’t speak much on this at this point but I do know that I want to focus more on portraits and the black experience collectively. I also know that I would like to work in advertisement. So I’ve been thinking more about how I can combine these two to create more satisfying work. I’m excited to experiment in this area though and I’ll definitely be sharing photos here.

I have another post coming really soon on my new clothing/shoe finds that I’m excited to photograph, as well as, a look at some new photography gear that I’m interested in purchasing. Comment below if you have any interesting photo challenges I could try!

Spring Season: Travel Tips + What My Travel Plans Are

 

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I spend a lot of time traveling around the U.S and I definitely plan to do a lot more traveling this Spring and throughout the Summer. As a photographer, I’m always looking for a new adventure to photograph along the way, and because of that I always overpack by bringing gear and other miscellaneous things, which is really counterproductive now that I think about it.

At the end of May, I’m traveling to Orlando for leisure/business and while I’m super excited, I definitely realize I need to pack lighter in terms of gear. Usually, my camera bag is filled with my camera body (of course) my 50mm lens and 85mm lens, some filters, a battery grip, flash, etc. Honestly, carrying all of those things is exhausting. Instead, I was actually interested in purchasing a much smaller camera like the Fujifilm X Series X-T20 but of course I’m on a budget so if I can’t afford that then I’ll be sporting my reliable Canon 6d with my 50mm lens.

Another goal of mine is to definitely save more money this time around. I’m a planner by nature, but it’s super imperative that I save even more money as part of my travels is for me to focus on relocating from Chicago and starting a new journey (hopefully soon). Since I’m embarking on these deals I decided I might as well share with you all what I found.

So number one I have this app installed on my laptop called Honey which was designed to help people make sure they get the best deals at checkout. If you’re booking a flight, before purchasing your tickets, Honey will test various coupons found on the web to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Another way I plan on saving this trip is through Expedia. I’m an Expedia rewards member and I usually use this app to book my hotel stay. I’ve even been able to use the money towards my hotel, which is a life saver. Even if you don’t have any reward points, you can still reap the benefits of being a member because they often have exclusive deals for members.

I’m probably going to make a part two to this blog but one other thing that I’ve noticed in my quest for deals is that flying on certain days is cheaper. For example, I’ve personally found that if you fly Spirit on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can find the lowest rates, sometimes even half the price of the other days. Also, I’m not sure if this is new but flights are now allowing people to make monthly installments on their flight (subject to credit approval). If you have decent credit then this is a really great way to book your flight while still allowing money to pay for other portions of your trip.

I’m still looking for ways to make my upcoming trip affordable (and how to pack lighter) but as I gather more information I’ll share it here. I’m thinking about doing a series of posts that cover other things like what I hope to accomplish on this trip, what’s in my camera bag, what’s in my luggage bag, etc. Regardless, I think it would be fun to document my whole process.

Tell me, what’s your favorite camera for travel? and What do you use to get the best deals for vacation?

Here’s What Photography Has Taught Me

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Someone asked me what my favorite thing about being a photographer is and initially, I provided them with an extremely generic answer. “I just love to capture what I see” is what I said. But deep down I knew that was just a quick answer. However, that question caused me to ponder over the real answer. Why am I photographer still when most days the journey to success feels so impossible?

The answer is simple though. I’m so passionate about photography because it allows me to dream. When you’re a kid, you dream all these crazy ideas and at that time it seems possible. In fact, everything about life feels possible. But somewhere along the way, we grow up and we begin to believe that we can’t achieve certain things anymore, especially if it doesn’t seem practical. With that said, we settle for what’s been given to us for one reason or another, and as far as dreaming..it starts to feel like a luxury you can’t afford.

But really that’s not the case. We tell ourselves that we can’t do “x,y, z”. We get so wrapped into the routine of life and responsibilities that we carry and we believe that this is a valid reason to stop chasing our wildest dreams. Photography made me realize that anything is possible if you’re willing to put your hand on it.

When I come up with an idea for a photo shoot or I have a particular place that I want to photograph, I begin to plan: composition, colors, any props, light or dark,  indoor or outdoor, etc. I begin to frame my shot and I take it, and then I take it again at different angles. I continue engaging in this process until the vision that I created in my head becomes a reality.

Photography for me is a beautiful experience. It is a reminder for me that I can do anything I want, I can believe anything I want if I’m willing to make it happen. It allows me to be imaginative for as long as I’m on this earth, and photography pushes me to tell new stories, to evoke more emotions, and to create the reality that I want to see.

I know that many people are wrapped up in their own lives, but I don’t think it hurts to take the time to paint the reality you want to see for yourself and then start making small efforts towards this reality, and eventually even bigger steps when you’re comfortable. That’s certainly my goal. I don’t have life figured out yet, I’m still a struggling artist, I still have doubts that I’ll actually be able to make a living as a full-time photographer but as long as I still have my dream I’ve already positioned myself for my heart’s desires.