When you get the chance to travel to the other side of the world with a group of photographers, you TAKE THAT CHANCE. There is something inherently wonderful in traveling, but traveling with like-minded individuals who share in your passions is something completely different. I know because I recently returned from a beautiful trip to New Zealand, during which I was surrounded by 14 incredible photographers and videographers and 1 event coordinator. We spent 10 days adventuring, photographing, laughing, sharing, learning, growing, and creating in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It was pure bliss.
Naturally, as a photographer, I did a lot of photographing throughout the trip. However, my favorite photographs are actually those made during one of the styled shoots. I went into the trip begging for a break from portraits. Wedding season had just ended and I felt like my portrait brain was fried. I was looking forward to photographing beautiful beaches, quaint mountain towns, and maybe a few sheep along the way. Little did I know that the portraits that I would make in New Zealand would be a source of inspiration and awakened creativity for me.
I mean, realistically, what portrait artist wouldn’t be inspired by a beautiful couple on a beautiful beach IN NEW ZEALAND during golden hour?! Amiright?!
Also, being surrounded by a group of super talented wedding photographers, videographers, and designers from all over the U.S. was a source of inspiration, as well. I’ve been following some of these photographers for quite awhile, so being able to finally meet them, travel with them, and shoot with them was huge for me.
But, what really inspired me the most during the shoot was…
wait for it…
I’m not the type of photographer who has to buy all the cool things and brag about my gear, but this time, I just have to do it. I recently bought a Canon 45 mm tilt shift lens and hadn’t had much time to perfect the tilt shift technique amongst the craziness of wedding season. So, I brought this lens with me to New Zealand with the goal of shooting portraits exclusively with the tilt shift in hopes that I would become more comfortable with the fully manual lens and be able to increase my shooting speed. What I didn’t expect was that not only would I become more comfortable with the lens, but that I would absolutely fall in love with it and I’d produce some of my favorite portraits to date.
I mean just look at that delicious bokeh. This lens is just dreamy.
For any of you photographers out there that may be feeling like you’re in a creative rut, I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. Whether its new gear, new lighting setups, new locations (like New Zealand…duh!), or a new genre, presenting yourself with an unknown challenge may be just what you need to propel yourself (and your business) forward.
Here’s hoping that you all find something new, interesting, and inspiring in 2016.
*All portraits by our portrait artist, Erica Kay*