This is one of the most frequent questions I have been asked throughout the past twenty years.
Is it good enough to publish? Is it good enough to exhibit? Is it good enough to sell? Is it good enough to call myself a photographer or artist?
When is your work good enough? In this video, I discuss the delicate path to loving your work, believing in it, and knowing when it is good enough to share with the world no matter what it is you want to do.
I also discuss when not to share it, when you need to continue to work on it, to keep it private and in which direction to take it.
“There are two distinct languages. There is the verbal, which separates people… and there is the visual that is understood by everybody.”
— Yaacov Agam
Dear Fellow Creatives, one of the things I love about taking photos is that photography is a language of its own. It’s a direct language that inspires feelings often before thought and this in itself is a powerful connector to the world around us and ourselves. We spend way too much time in our heads and creativity allows you to get out of your head and into your heart.
In one of my workshops, I loved helping photographers understand what a powerful tool a camera is to have in their hands, and often without knowing it, it is their instincts or inner being leading the way as to what they are compelled to photograph.
It’s this attraction to things, colours, shapes, scenes, relationships, emotions, and cultures that allows us to create our own vision or style. It’s something deep down within us and when we have the right tool for us in our hands whether it be a paintbrush or a camera we start to make meaningful choices that come from within. It’s what we choose to leave in or take out that tells a different story and becomes part of the way we ‘speak’.
Our spirit leads the way!
What we create speaks to people without uttering a word. Art and photography have the power to move people to action, to find compassion for those they have never met, inspire them to create for themselves and to bring joy. There is a language in every detail in a photo and it’s your unique language, stories, vision and it has the power to change the world.
Photography and creativity deserve respect for the instant connection and power it inspires.
Remember to keep creating, beautiful ones. Your stories are important whether they are visual or written and those stories have the power to move mountains.
Dear Creatives, one of the biggest mistakes creatives make is that they cringe or feel they need to be salesy to sell their photography online like a telesales person with a ‘comb over’ flogging a set of free steak knives. This holds them back from launching their glorious work out into the world.
I would like to help you make a couple of mindset shifts around this as it’s one of the primary reasons that hold creatives back from selling their work. I have learned thanks to all the beautiful feedback from my clients that sharing my work with them has brought all sorts of emotions to their lives and walls. Some tell me they feel good every time they walk past their image, it inspires them to be brave or book a ticket to a new destination, to continue with their creativity or dreams, to feel pride and joy in their room, or simply to feel calm.
Here are some myths when it comes to selling your artwork and how you can switch your mindset:
1. Myth – You are ‘taking’ people’s money
Firstly, sweet soul, you are not taking people’s money, you are creating an energetic exchange and they are receiving something for their money that will bring immense joy, pleasure, make them feel good about themselves or their home, allow them to dream, be transported to another place, to beautify their space, to be brave, to believe in themselves and numerous other emotions. When we are creating a home one of the most important and exciting choices we make is what to put on our walls. A house or a space isn’t a home till the art is in place.
Mindset shift: Switch the focus off YOU and onto THEM. Move away from the ‘taking’ mindset and into the ‘giving’ mindset. It’s not about YOU, it’s about helping THEM. You are creating an ‘edit’ of work they will love, particularly if you understand who your ideal client is and you are making their job of finding that type of work easy. You are ‘giving’ joy, beauty, a vision and a style and they are willing to exchange money for it.
2. Myth – You have to be good at ‘sales’ to sell your work
No, in fact the less you try and ‘sell’ the more sales you make. What, you say? You don’t have to be salesy, you need to have work they want and that you and they feel an emotional connection to the work.
Mindset shift: Facts tell, stories sell. Tell them a story or let your work tell the story. Bowl them over with beauty or a tell them a story about why you created the work, behind the scenes of creating the work, what the work means to you, who you created the work for, what is your process, why you have chosen this subject or any other titbit that will connect them to your work. Remember the person who is interested in your work will have a lot in common with you. The more you have fun with it and let go of the angst of selling, the more sales you will see come in.
This my dear folks is a limiting belief and as long as you believe this then probably nobody will want your work. Limiting beliefs are subconscious programming that runs in the background of our lives and no matter how many times we think we want a certain outcome your true energy doesn’t show this. You are energetically screaming to the world a story of ‘lack’. Kind of like having one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brake, ‘I want this’ but ‘it’s never going to happen!’
Mindset shift: Firstly know there is a market for everything. You need to be the first person that believes your work is worthy. You need to be in a place where you are proud and excited about the work you have created and be willing to put it out into the world. Check your energy, get good at understanding how you really feel instead of what you think. If your body feels off, ask yourself ‘what’s it about?’ Get good at understanding when you feel lack and switch it to abundance. That can be simply by sitting with true gratitude for what you have, see how far you have come, what you have today in your hands and know the more you feel gratitude, joy and contentment that the good stuff is one the way
I hope these three shifts help you have the courage to share your work with the world.
Hello Creative Ones, Creating a body of work or ‘photography series’ that stands out is the first step to selling your work and having a successful online shop. Many people when they start a shop put together a bunch of their favourite images that have no connection at all, and this is OK.
It’s a normal way to start.
Creating a photography series does three important things:
Helps connect you to your work and process
Connects your potential clients to your work on a deeper level
Helps organise your work and assists your clients in making a choice.
By creating a strong connection between your images or creating a ‘photography series’ from scratch, your work starts to stand out.
You start to create your own USP, or as the marketers call it, your Unique Selling Proposition, by finding your own unique space in the photographic or art market.
When you start to stand out the more you are willing to be fully you and the less competition you have.
A USP is literally something that only you have.
One of the things I see people doing all the time in business and in online shops is not digging into their creativity enough to enhance their USP or to allow the full expression of their creativity to help them stand out from the crowd. Often I see ‘cookie cutter’ creativity where it is hard to tell one photographer from the other. I love it when I find a photographer or artist that feels like they have tapped into their true creativity, by bringing different elements they like together to create an exciting body of work that is uniquely theirs.
Tapping into your creativity, pushing it, daring it, allowing yourself to do what you love, asking yourself the deeper questions, getting a stronger message, being more aligned with your true values, and having the courage to bring that into your marketing, your message, your branding, your product and services, means that you immediately have a stronger USP.
Your alignment WITH your creativity is your greatest USP.
Alignment is a fancy word for doing what resonates with you at your core, what brings you joy, makes you happy, comes without an enormous effort of pushing against life and that you would almost be doing anyway, even if there wasn’t money involved.
Why start with your creativity? Well, often in creative businesses, people pick out their ideal client first and then build a business or a creative product or service around that person. So they are starting from the outside and then accommodating what they think that client might like or need.
I’m going to invite you to switch it around. When you start with what you love, what you would do even if you weren’t being paid for it, then you literally are at the same time creating your ideal client.
WHAT YOU HAVE, NOBODY ELSE HAS.
You are a splendid unique human being and the way you see the world, the way you think, feel, love, work, play, the conversations you have with yourself and your life experiences, are uniquely yours.
YOU ARE ONE OF A KIND and that is what makes you so special and that is why if you dig into your creativity it will NEVER be like someone else’s. It can’t be. It is uniquely yours.
THIS IS YOUR GOLD!
It’s something I tell every client I have ever worked with.
The goal is to look inwards at what is inside of you: the joy, the pain, the experiences, the light, the colours, the stories and the thoughts.
It is only when we continually look to others that we make a mistake. We have all the information as a base inside of us to create something that is unique to us. Just add skills, technique, and practice, and you can create whatever it is you want in life.
In the process of learning, there is a part in all of us that needs to copy in order to see how things are done or to understand a process. All the great painters painted the masters to learn certain techniques.
However, there comes a day when you have the technique down and that is when you need to stop looking outwards, rather go inwards and use ‘your story’ or for those that are intimidated by this concept ‘the stuff you like’. Use what is inside of you and what is uniquely yours to create. Allow yourself to be attracted to what you like, no questions asked.
It might be that you hear music in a certain way or you are attracted to certain colours, shapes or a particular era.
Perhaps you come from a faraway land where the colours are special and trees are a particular shape or you have a vocabulary that is rich or you are attracted to a certain era in history. You may be romantic or incredibly modern, soft and sweet, or organized and structured. You may be altruistic and believe in causes or be all about getting down to business.
It doesn’t matter, what matters is that you don’t judge it! Instead, you can use it, focus on it, and believe in it.
YOU MAY THINK THIS ISN’T ENOUGH, IT’S NOT ORIGINAL ENOUGH AND THAT IS YOUR BIGGEST MISTAKE!
All of this can inspire and be woven into your creativity and work and an eventual photography series.
What it takes is to give yourself permission and believe that what you love, others will love too. Creating at your highest level is about really trusting yourself and your vision.
When you are operating from the outside, you are operating from a weaker less authentic place. Developing faith in your creativity is the key.
So, my loves, believe in your creativity, start there, go deep and have fun and you will be creating work that is truly yours.
What a year! 2020 has been a year we will never forget, it has challenged us in so many ways and it has asked us to step out of our comfort zone and to embrace new possibilities.
Creativity has definitely been a winner on every front! Creativity has allowed us to go inwards, stretch ourselves, calm us, bring us joy and teach us a little more about ourselves.
2020 encouraged the following photographers and artists to find a whole new world of possibilities and discover a new version of themselves by launching their online shops. It’s my great pleasure to feature some of my favourite pieces in ‘Carla’s Photography & Art Christmas Edit‘,
This Christmas more than ever it’s important to buy local, support the individual, the family run business and bring back to our world the sense of community, connection, creativity and love that we all need to finish off 2020 with. When you buy small you give power to the people and that is a beautiful present in itself.
Aerial Endeavours #7 by Loc Boyle
The waiting has been worth it! For the past years, I’ve watched photographer Loc Boyle travel all over Europe, Asia, and Australia creating mind blowing works of art that celebrate form, bodies, and finding stillness in the chaos. I couldn’t wait for him to get them onto paper and this image is one I literally can’t take my eyes off. Every time I look at it, I find something new, get lost in the mastery of the photography required and the skill of the people who collaborated to create it. His work reminds me of Henri Cartier Bresson’s words, “There is a rhyme between different elements. There is a square here, rectangle and other rectangle…see its all these problems which I’m preoccupied with. The greatest joy for me is geometry that means a structure. You can’t go shooting for shapes for patterns and all this but its a sensuous pleasure, an intellectual pleasure at the same time to have everything at the right place. It’s a recognition of an order which is in front of you.” And no-one recognises and enjoys the order more than Loc. This piece is called Aerial Endeavours #7, and you can enjoy the sensuous pleasure of his work HERE.
Sun Worship by Laura Reid
This photo of Laura Reid’s does something to my DNA. It’s a photo from my childhood, I could be one of those girls lying with my besties, catching the rays, talking about the boys we like and the shenanigans that happened the day before whilst feeling the bliss of a summer’s day in our watery backyard. When I first saw Sun Worship, something moved inside of me and I wanted it on my walls! I love everything about it photographically, the lines, the composition and the feeling of enjoyment. We need more enjoyment in our lives and Laura is delivering it one swim at a time. Thanks to Laura for sharing her talent with us, you can browse her beauty HERE.
Patience by Jilly Bennett
Jilly Bennett and I go way back! Jilly has attended many of my photography workshops and she has certainly eclipsed the teacher!! Patience touched the deepest part of my heart when I first saw it and I wanted to reach into this photo and comfort this dog, give him a huge hug and take away those sad eyes and replace it with a giddy dog smile. Jilly is a ‘dog whisperer’ and I’ve had the joy of seeing her connect with dogs and dog owners all over Italy and France to produce work that even our hero, Elliott Erwitt would be proud of. If you love dogs, this holiday season you can knock yourself out trying to choose your favourite HERE.
Orange Crush by Laura Horrocks
Laura Horrocks’ work is that of a gentle, sweet sensitive soul who has her own vision of colour and shapes. Her work is this beautiful combination of whimsical, dainty and glorious naivety like someone you know but you’ve never found the words to describe them. Laura’s work is layered and tells stories that are gentle and bold. I love Orange Crush (always been an Orange fan) and am lucky to have a piece of Laura’s work tucked amongst my artwork at home. You can explore more of her work HERE.
Wanderlust by Julia Lochhead
We know the world we live in is magical but often we are too busy to stop and pay attention to the beauty and wonder. Julia Lochhead is searching for something special in her giant seascapes, they hit BIG emotions deep within us of awe, love, calm, and wonder. When I first saw Wanderlust, it felt like a spiritual moment, like she had wrapped together heaven and earth and captured it forever for us to enjoy and remind us that if you dare to look for the beauty, it’s astonishing. Beauty can crack you open! You can dive into the calm and wonder of Julia’s WORK HERE.
Dancing in Florence by Rachel Vogeleisen
A woman after my own heart! What is there not to love about this photo. Florence, the Ponte Vecchio, a women lost in a beautiful moment in a glorious dress. Fine art photographer Rachel Vogeleisen has ticked so many boxes in this beautiful photo of a woman in Florence and a celebration of femininity, photography and Italy. I could look at Dancing in Florence for hours. Women are at the central theme of all of Rachel’s work and her deep love for art and photography is in every image. You can enjoy her elegant images HERE.
Time to Clean House by Bridget Gleeson
I stopped scrolling the first time I saw Bridget Gleeson’s image, Time to Clean House! It literally stopped me in my tracks. I’ve loved photographing washing since the day I stepped off a plane onto Italian soil and I even managed to make an entire subject out of it in my book, Italian Joy. But this shot of Bridget’s takes my favourite subject to new heights. The shape of the window, the colour coordinated pastel tea towels (can you believe it), and the poetry of something so simple becoming an image that you want in your life for it’s sheer beauty. Bridget keeps the Italian hearth warm for all of us through her appreciation of Venice as a beautiful crumbling mess and although we can’t visit right now, we can through her beautiful images. Enjoy more of Bridget’s work HERE.
Queen of Summer by Karen Alderson
Karen Alderson’s image, titled Queen of Summer, reminds me of an old masters flower painting. You have to have a second look to see if it’s a photo or a painting? A flower lover from way back, this image struck me with it’s gentleness, romanticism, well thought out use of colour and proportion. It’s not a happy accident!! Karen is a florist as well as a talented photographer and has combined her two skills to create a beautiful body of work. For those of you who can’t find your favourite Cafe au lait Dahlia’s each week, you’ll love having this feminine image on your wall. More of Karen’s wonderful work HERE.
Mountain Stream by Millie Brown
I’ve long admired the work, eye, and passion of photographer Millie Brown. Millie has a big heart and just as big a talent and is shining a light on the subjects she deeply cares about such as the wilderness, travel, indigenous cultures and our ecology. Millie is an award-winning photographer, who works with many of Australia’s best magazines and her image Mountain Stream is part of her beautiful Cradle Mountain series. I find it hard to choose one from her series because they remind me of this big, wild country where I was born and have roamed most of my life. If I can’t live in the wilderness, I want it on my walls and Mountain Stream and its beautiful colours, catapult me straight there. Check out more of Millie’s beautiful work HERE.
Byron Bay Sunset by Rachael Kane
Rachael Kane is one of those talented quiet achievers who surprises you at every turn. Rachael is fascinated by the world above and people at play in the environment. This magical photo titled Byron Bay Sunset, feels like she has taken the simple pleasure of a day surfing, dusted it with a colour palette of silvery blues and created an iconic photo of how Australian’s live. You want to blow it up as big as you can so no matter where you are in the room, there you are on the top of a wave. You can check out more of Rachael’s Aerial photography HERE.
Meet Me in Santorini by Bonnie Malone
Bonnie Malone photographs the small details as well as the big landscapes on her travels. I love her work. Bonnie takes that romantic heart and eye of hers and finds the sweetest elements and moments from her travels. I’ve been to Greece for the past 10 years, I’m a mega fan but this beautiful landscape of Bonnie’s image, Meet Me in Santorini, stopped me scrolling. There is so much to enjoy in this photograph, the colours, the light, the architecture, the setting on top of Santorini and that feeling of ‘pleasure’ comes through in all her work. Pleasure is one of the most important things we can allow ourselves to have and I adore that her work is infused with it. Lucky us! You can check out more of Bonnie Malone’s work HERE.
Space by Jennene Greenall
Jennene Greenall is a quiet achiever. She quietly goes about her creativity and life without making a big fuss, she leaves that to her images!! Her work touched me the first time I met her on a workshop. Jennene takes everything she believes and rolls them together to express her vision through her work. ‘Space’ is one of those images that you want in your life for many reasons including the sensation of space it gives you even when you are in an enclosed room. Jennene cleverly creates space for us visually but also internally, we have the sensation we can breathe, we are free and all is as it should be. You can see Space here and many others.
An Afternoon in Atrani by Danielle Greentree
I know a photo has touched me when it stops me doing what I’m doing and take note. ‘An Afternoon in Atrani‘ by Danielle Greentree did exactly that. This is a scene I know really well but Danielle has put her own special twist on it, photographing in the ‘end of day splendour’ that conjours up nostalgia, peace and the retro beauty of the Amalfi Coast. I want to be the girl in the white dress with her feet in the water walking towards Atrani to meet Francesco for an Aperol spritz! So beautifully captured with the emotional connection I love. More of her beautiful work HERE.
I hope you have enjoyed this little Christmas edit from this talented group of photographers and artists.
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