How I Got Out of a Creative Rut with a Lensbaby Challenge

As many of you know, the fall was an EXTREMELY crazy time for us.  I was working my tail off preparing to list our house, while getting the boys settled into preschool and kindergarten, while running my business (during the busiest season of the year.)  My husband was in and out constantly with work trips and I just felt...exhausted and DRAINED.  I was so busy with everything and everyone else that I lost my "thing."  You know your thing.  That thing that keeps you going.  It's a spark.  It's a fire in your soul.  It's your creativity.  It was just gone.  Aside from client sessions, I really didn't pick my camera up at all.  It felt awful that the one thing that always brought me joy, shooting creatively JUST FOR ME, was gone.  I was absolutely in a creative rut.  

This time of year, in the dark of the winter when everything is cold and dead, and we have barely any light, it's SO easy to fall into a creative rut.  I've heard it all over my social media feeds lately.  AND I GET IT because I've been there over and over again.  So I figured it was the perfect time to share how I dug myself out of one heck of a rut back in September.  

As I mentioned, we were incredibly busy and my husband had been gone a lot.  My son was about to have his 6th birthday and for months he had begged us to take him back to Washington D.C. to visit the museums.  He's just like his parents and always has the travel bug!  When we asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday this year, I expected him to say something like "Let's invite all of my friends and go to the arcade or trampoline park!"  But he didn't.  His only request this year was to take a family trip to D.C.  So we did.  We dropped everything and planned a little trip!  I kept his birthday weekend free from any client sessions and my husband took a couple of days off from work.  Anything to make our sweet boy happy on his birthday, right?!

As we were packing up, I kept staring at my camera bag.  I honestly didn't even want to bring it with me.  That NEVER happens when we're going on a trip.  I was so sad about it.  I was just so unmotivated.  But then I remembered I had a Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 50 Optic sitting next to my gear just waiting for me to test it out!  I looked at my husband and said, "I know what I'm going to do.  I'm going to do a one lens challenge with the Lensbaby!"  I explained that I'd been wanting to really push myself with this new lens but for so many reasons hadn't been able to even take my camera out to experiment with it.  I've never done it before, but I committed to bringing ONE lens with me for a 4 day trip.  My husband asked me several times before we left the driveway if I was SURE I didn't want to run in and grab the rest of my gear, but I somehow knew this was exactly what I needed to pick me up out of the dark hole I was in.  I left all of the other lenses at home and decided I'd tell the story of my son's 6th birthday through Lensbaby.  

You guys.  LET ME TELL YOU.  It was honestly one of the best things I could have done for my photography.  I've always been a huge fan of freelensing (which is taking a photograph with your lens detached from your camera body) because I love that the images look so dreamlike.  I also love a challenge so it's fun for me to try to nail focus manually while freelensing.  The downside however, is that it's risky for your gear and it can honestly get tiring for your hands depending what you're using for a lens.  I'll be honest here and say that I was maybe bit skeptical about this lens, but I seriously fell in LOVE.  

The Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 50 Optic was SO light and small on my camera body, making it the PERFECT lens to use while walking around the city all day.  My camera and bag felt so light!  My back and shoulders didn't get tired at all!  Just like with freelensing, it was tricky to nail the focus at first but I actually loved that about it because I love a challenge.  I feel like one of the reasons I fall into a rut many times is that I just haven't challenge myself enough recently, and I get bored.  Everything about this lens felt new and different, so it immediately sparked that fire I had been missing for several months.  I loved how the Lensbaby also gave me that dreamlike feel I adore so much.   When my son is older and looking back on the photos of the weekend he turned 6, he'll be revisiting memories though photos that look like a memory because of that gorgeous blur and small slice of focus.  It was really the perfect lens for the occasion and I had a blast using it all weekend.  Never once did I wish I had brought my other lenses.  But the very BEST part actually happened after we returned from the trip.

Once we got home, I couldn't wait to get to the computer and start editing.  I hadn't felt that excited to work on my photos in a long time.  As I looked through the images on my screen, I started sobbing.  I'm not kidding.  I looked at these beautiful photos of my family and the amazing time we had together exploring, and just cried and cried.  I was out of that rut because of my Lensbaby Challenge.  I LOVED how the Edge 50 gave me the freedom to forget about the rules I kept getting hung up on.  For months, I had been so stressed about creating the perfect image with the perfect focus and the perfect light! It was exhausting!  And it drained the creative life right out of me!  This lens gave me the permission I hadn't been giving myself to just be free to CREATE.  Create ART. Create images with FEELING.  Create images that TELL A STORY.  I just needed to create again.  I had forgotten that the imperfections in a photo often aren't imperfections at all.  Once I gave myself permission to STOP TRYING TO BE SO PERFECT my soul filled right up with joy.  I looked through those images and my heart was full.  I was back.  I was finally back.  All thanks to a Lensbaby.

 

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