fine art self portrait photography

How to Start a Personal Project

Personal projects are important, not only because they offer a break from your studies or day job, but also because of the joy and fulfillment you feel after a project is done.
Nonetheless, many creatives get stuck in a routine and can’t seem to start their own project: sometimes time’s the issue, or rather indulging in binge-watching a new TV series (OITNB, anyone?).

So, how can you start your own work?

The ticking clock seems to always run faster if we’re doing something we actually enjoy. But the majority of people have enough time to squeeze in something they’re passionate about. Scrolling on Facebook or Instagram again? Let’s swap those time-wasting habits with something more constructive.

Whenever I find myself wondering what task I should take up next, I think about what I love most. If you revel in mystery books, maybe something on the theme of mystery is a good start. Or if you’re a traveller at heart and can’t get your eyes off the beauty of nature, maybe something in that area would work out for you!

It is of utmost importance that you’re passionate about your future project because you could get easily bored if it’s something you find only mildly appealing.

When you’re certain that you could stick to the chosen topic, it’s time to start working on it and developing concepts.

Doodles, scribbles and brainstorming sessions really help and the more you do it, the more natural it becomes to your creative process. Just write everything down, even if you think it’s silly. Then, when you have a rough idea, try making a schedule and organize yourself.
Mark down the list of the gear (or tools) you’ll need, of the locations you’ll visit, of the people you’ll talk to and so on. If you can see the final product crystal clear in your head, try to research if there’ll be any additional costs and if you’re within your budget.


fine art self portrait photography
Fine art is, by definition, a type of art (such as painting, sculpture, or music) that is done to create beautiful things (reference: Merriam-Webster dictionary). Being deeply rooted in the personal, fine art could be considered as a ‘series of private projects’.

The charm of personal projects partly relies on the fact that you’re your own boss: you get to decide what to do, when and how. This can also sometimes be problematic because having too much freedom is, ironically, worse than having boundaries. Thus, creating certain limits for yourself is beneficial, as well as being honest about your decisions and aims.
It can also happen that, mid-process, you completely change direction and want to lead the project in a different route. If you’re not satisfied with something, it’s always better to change it than feel disappointment in the end!
Experimentation in any medium can lead to interesting unexpected paths, so don’t shy away from trying something new; sometimes just for the sake of it.

contemporary art collage jewellery design
What started as a self-initiated series of collage works later became my project for a class at the academy. As it developed, it became an integral part of my final thesis and transformed into jewellery which will be available for purchase in the next month (mail me at for pre-orders)!

photographer self portrait with cameraAbout the author
Hi! I’m Isabella and I’m a photographer, blogger and applied arts graduate. I love spending my time creatively, or watching movies, drinking tea, playing with my cats and hanging out with friends.
Find me here or on Facebook and say hello!


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