doing something you love, the way you feel like it

[get ready for a really personal, business-inspired and long post!]

hello there my friends, how are you doing? how was your weekend? i spent the most quiet weekend, just by myself doing what i felt like doing, without any pressure and that just felt great! i took the time to read a lot, to catch up with my flickr friends, to browse through several articles and blogs… i just love a weekend like this. and that was exactly what inspired me to write this to you. doing what we love is not always the easiest thing in the world. either you feel pressured by something or someone (or a lot of people) and most of the times you are the one putting yourself under a lot of pressure.

building up a business on something like photography (as this is the only thing i can talk about) is really hard, and asides from everything else you need to deal with and find (like your style, your clients, your brand…) you need to save a lot of money to buy the equipment you need. and that can also be a great deal of pressure, because the internet is full of opinions about what you should buy, the best lens, the best camera, the must-have wedding kit… and of course, it’s also filled with the mainstream wedding look. so if you don’t have a lot of money to buy all these so said starting/must-have kits, you are stuck with a full world of opinions that will put you under pressure. unless you find a way of dealing with it and learn from it.

i’ve been reading some articles that make me think about what i want to achieve for my own brand, my work, my style, my art. because that is what i am, an artist, though this was never on my mind until i was 30! living in such a small country like portugal it makes it even more difficult. not that i feel i won’t have any chances here, but i feel that it might be a long way until i feel confidant enough to do what i love, the way i want it, because my clients found me because of that exact style or freedom. but first you need to accept one thing as well, finding your style, building your brand, growing as a business person/artist is a long way and i don’t think you ever feel like you’re done. it’s always changing. at least i believe this is the way it has to be. i feel much more confidant than i was two years ago, well two years ago i knew nothing about photography, though i thought i knew something. and maybe two years from now i’ll look back and i’ll think that i was so naive these days and i’ll notice the mistakes i made, those mistakes that i probably haven’t yet made.

right now i’m in the middle of something, buying new equipment. it’s so hard i can’t even put into words. it’s hard, because it’s awfully expensive and i still don’t have enough projects to support all the equipment i need to buy and making a living on top of it, but then again, what exactly do i need? trying to figure that out on a tight budget to make things work, and deal with all the opinions you read on the web about that equipment, and the equipment you know other photographers have and swear by, is extremely hard. try to find a lens that is less than 1000€ and i’ll get you a cup of coffee and chocolate cake! but then i’ll be honest with you, i have been working most of the time with my entry-level canon camera, with my 50mm lens that costed around 130€ and a loaned quite expensive (around 2000€) wide-angle/tilt-shift canon lens. i’ve upgraded to a full-frame camera now, which was a reason for a chicken-dance that lasted a whole weekend and now i’m stuck. what to do next? what to buy next? and this is where you need to have your feet on the ground and your head in the right place. you need to focus and think about what you want to do. i shot my very favourite pictures with that combo (entry-level camera + cheap 50mm), that really cheap lens provided with a fabulous light and bokeh and i also know how to work with my post-processing, so i can make it work without a single problem! and then i have these film cameras, that though these are not meant for every client i have, they can make me smile, because artistically speaking, they are gorgeous. they are irreverent, they are not perfect, they are a challenge for your eye, they are what i meant them to be… their own style.

finding yourself in the middle of all this, accepting your path, your doubts, making decisions and not letting others come in the way of your decisions is a huge step. inspiring yourself looking at other’s work, without letting that inspiration make you feel less confidant is a challenge. it’s so easy to let yourself go down when seeing somebody’s work you look up to, and dealing with the constant thought “yeah this is beautiful, but for this i would need that lens and that lens costs 1782€!” it takes a huge amount of energy to deal with this and not letting yourself be affected by this. and maybe as time goes by, it feels less hard. and as time goes by, you feel more confidant and you do what you have to do, the way you know how to do it, you’ll learn everything you can in the way, and promise yourself (therefore you also promise your future clients) that you’ll make it even better the next time. and not because you have this or that kind of equipment, but because you found yourself in the middle of all of it, built your way and stand out from the crowd, because you found your voice, with or without extremely expensive equipment. because that is not what makes the artist, but his heart and vision of this world.

sometimes, making blurry images is what i like, is what i’m driven to. making them look soft or with a slight pink shade, or on a very opposite side, play with expired film on my cheap lomo camera, is what drives me sometimes. looking for a different point-of-view, or focusing what you’re not expecting me to focus is what drives me sometimes. sometimes it was a mistake, sometimes it looks bad, other times i enjoy the results and feel confidant enough to put them out there. sometimes as an artist, i need the time to fall for what i do, because art is not always a matter of loving or hating it on a first instance. phew, i needed to write this, mainly for me, but i thought that some of you could also need this!

have a hell of a great week, folks!

images: twiggs photography for a “bride & friends” shoot! check the full story here!

ps. for really irreverent images of a wedding, by that expired film + a cheap lomo camera, go here!
ps1. for someone i look up to, because of her strength, her vision and style, go here!
ps2. for another person i look up to for her rocking style, her sweet smile and incredible taste, go here!


  1. A great post. I sometimes feel the same about what I do. Thinking and planning and making decisions are good ~ better to move forward (even with a few mistakes) than not to move, I think.
    P.S. I love Lisbon ~ lucky you!

  2. how I relate to this.
    building a business on a tight budget is very difficult, for me it is always thinking what will bring me the most use, for my work, for the money I have to spend. I don’t always make the right choice, but it’s by trial and error that I move forward.
    I try to be creative with what I have and with what I can make work.
    In this process I’m finding that creating my own style is what is more difficult and at the same time what makes me enjoy it more. It’s always changing, always evolving, as it should. Sometimes this constant “make do” makes me think outside the box and find solutions and ways of expressing myself that would not occurred to me it I had all the resources available.
    I’m sure your customers are delighted with your work, as I am, and evolution is expected but not at all at once.
    You have a distinct voice already and new equipment will just make you express yourself with different tools.

  3. Your words are encouraging to me, and I’m only a person with a point-and-shoot camera! For the past year I have taken photos and discovered the joy of photo editing, which is my niche. For me, it’s about becoming comfortable with the fact that I’m content with my point-and-shoot (and passionate about the post-processing aspect). I’m grateful you shared your thoughts – creative journeys are always challenging, but also rewarding! It sounds like you’re well on your way. :)

  4. I just love this post!
    Very encouraging!
    I know that I have to work hard for what I want :)
    But it makes it even more interesting!

  5. Gracias Claudia por este post!
    Creo que tienes ese don para explicar las cosas que sientes y hacer que todos nos sintamos identificados con la historia.
    Es mi caso…
    Me da risa cuando dices que es un país pequeño; Uruguay, el país donde nací y vivo, tiene un total de 3.000.000 de habitantes, imaginate si será difícil difícil pensar en tener un negocio exitoso y encontrar personas a las que les guste lo que haces.
    Pero claro que vale la pena intentarlo!

    Un abrazo desde Paysandú, Uruguay!

  6. I’ve been thinking about this very same subject, and my comment will sound a lot like the others who posted before me.

    What matters most in our creative pursuits is not the technical tools we employ, but the heart and vision with which we employ them.

    And since we are all, more or less, saying the same thing, then I am pretty sure we are right!

  7. Believe me, you are an inspiration to me and an example too! I have the strong believe that an image as to tell a story, has to have sentiment behind it, and you have a lot of that in your photos, for me that’s what makes them unique! And you’ve achieve all that on your own, with a budget camera! Ok, I know a good lenses helps as well as a good camera, but the majority is done through creativity. It’s not everybody that can achieve a style that is recognized by everybody, and sometimes I see some works and I say: this is really like Twiggs style, or Twiggs would have loved this.
    As you’ve said, we live in a very small country, where people don’t value art… or those who do, don’t have the money. Plus the web is flooded with people that think photography is equipment. When it is, I will stop loving photography. What matters is if you do what you feel like doing, with what you have, that will be transmitted into your works too. I always feel a lot of love and passion in everything you do. For me that’s what makes you unique :) You’ll get there dear, I have no doubt about it.

  8. Everything you have said really strikes a chord! After years of dipping my toes part time, in the next few months I plan to make my art career my sole income. It’s so hard trying to build yourself up from scratch, and it can take years, even though we work so damn hard…there is a lot of truth in the old adage about a bad workman blaming his tools, however. If you have determination, grit and the willingness to work your socks off it doesn’t matter what hardware you are working with.

  9. thank you all so so much for your comments and support!!! you are incredible supportive and it’s so good to know that at least a few people understand this and go through the same, even if in different stages of our lives or of our own creative paths! thank you once again for being here and for taking the time to read this incredibly long post and for leaving a comment! i read each one and each one made me smile (well, jimena yours actually made me laugh!) have a beautiful day!!! love you all!

  10. It’s been hectic around my part of the world, so your post, one of the first I read today, after a long break, was refreshing and encouraging. Missed your photos and being around.

    • thank you sweet anka!! you are also encouraging for just writing those same words!!! have a beautiful day and thank you once again for your support!

  11. I’ve just read this today. Keep going Claudia, your work is beautiful because it has a soul. And it will always have, with a greater or less sophisticated equipment. That’s you, your eyes behind the lens that make the difference. Wishing all the success for your business and the wisdom to know that ‘it’s the time to this investment’.

    • hello my friend, thank you so much for your wise words and support!! it’s much appreciated!!! thank you for all the sweet words you wrote about my work!! i’m smiling…. :):)

  12. Olá Cláudia! Só hoje tive um tempo para deixar um comentário. Acho que te devias orgulhar IMENSO do que conseguiste em apenas dois anos! A confiança que transmites hoje em dia é incrível, parece que sempre foste fotógrafa! Tens olho, tens talento, tens bom gosto e isso é que importa. E acima de tudo tens imensa coragem, de mudar de vida, experimentar coisas e construir algo novo. Eu acho que o material ajuda e muito mas não é tudo! Já vi fotos terríveis tiradas com 5D e grandes lentes.
    Com o tempo vais conseguir o material todo que queres mas não te concentres nisso ou melhor, não deixes que isso te limite Foca-te mais na técnica e em desenvolver o teu estilo pessoal. E orgulha-te de cada passo! Beijinhos

    • bem estou sem palavras depois de ler o teu comentário! fico muito honrada pelo teu apoio e pelo que sentes em relação ao meu trabalho destes últimos anos. nós tendemos a ser os nossos piores críticos e nem sempre conseguimos sair de nós e avaliar toda a história de fora! e adorei a forma como tu colocaste em perspectiva o que tenho feito! muito, muito obrigada pelo teu tempo e pelas tuas palavras e apoio! beijinhos

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