4 Ways to Find Your Inner Artist

Photo Credit: Belle & Epic

Photo Credit: Belle & Epic

Ah, yes, imposter syndrome.

It runs rampant among creative entrepreneurs.

"How can I call myself an artist or a creative when I'm an accountant?"

Well, are you creating something everyday? Whether it's a spreadsheet, a business model, a painting or a paragraph of writing—Congrats! You're a creative.

I now release you from imposter syndrome. Really, let it go. Without the weight of, "Do I belong here?" sitting on your shoulders, you're free to explore your creator self.

Let's dive in:

1. Sit in Silence; Listen to What Comes Up
When was the last time you even let your inner artist roam free? When you're constantly battling your own thoughts, you squash any opportunity for a creative though to bubble up. You have to sit down, shut up and let your mind wander in silence. Give it 5 minutes and see where your thoughts land. Also, you might have to do this a few times before you can actually get your mind to quiet down. Worth it!

2. Do Something Different
I know I say this a lot, but you MUST get out of your comfort zone in order to grow as an artist. What are you creating regularly? Photos, maybe? Events? Spreadsheets? Put it down. Pick something you've never done or a place you've never been, and GO. DO. TRY. FAIL. Y'all, I'm really bad at drawing. Like, really, really bad. Like, I'd share a photo of my terrible drawings if I still had them from my charcoal class, but, yeah, they're in a trash heap somewhere.

3. Word Games
Let's not underestimate the power of words and the meanings we associate with them. Start with a few of the words that come to mind once you've meditated and tried something new. Did any patterns pop up? Did anything inspire you? Pick the most powerful word, write it in the center of a piece of paper and draw a circle around it. Then let your mind spin off. Let any and all descriptions come to mind when you focus on your main word. Yes, you can use a thesaurus. What shows up for you?

4. Be Brave
You've meditated on it; you've done something new for it; you've dived deep into meeting it; now it's time to be brave and trust your inner artist. Once you've started down your artist's path, it gets iffy. You'll doubt what you're doing (there's the imposter syndrome popping up again). And you'll tell yourself that it's not that important. Um, hello, it's more important than ever! You've come this far, it's time to trust yourself and trust the artist inside you. And heck, just have some fun with it already. Life is short. You should be making something just because you want to.

As always, I'm here to chat. Let's grab coffee and deep dive into your artistry and how you can live fully in a creator state. Shoot me an email here at courtpaigeray@gmail.com.

Top 4 Tips to Being Your Own Model

courtneypaigeray_brandingphotographer

"I'm not a model!"
"I need to lose 10 pounds!"
"I'm so awkward!"
"I'm not photogenic!"

When you start out as a creative entrepreneur, there's one major thing no one tells you: You're going to have to step in front of the camera. Like, a lot. 

Branding photos aren't just about photographing your products with the right colors. They're so much more than that—they're an expression of your brand, your story, and the experience your clients have with your business. And there's no one who will represent that experience and feeling better than your brand's fearless leader. That's you.

Ok, I hear you: "I'm not a model!" "I'm so awkward in front of the camera!" "I have no idea what to do with my hands!" "I have to lose 10 pounds!" "I'm not photogenic!" 

Here's the thing: No one is born camera ready. So today, I'm sharing my top 4 tips to being a faaaaabulous model for your own brand.

1. "I'm not a model!"

First of all, reality check: Models and celebrities don't wake up like that. After living in Los Angeles for 10+ years, and seeing many celebs without makeup at the grocery story, the yoga class, Runyon Canyon, etc., I can promise you—they aren't born looking like models either. It's mostly smoke and mirrors, and a killer glam squad.

The good news is, you can have a glam squad too, one who will make you look like a red carpet-worthy model. (Hair, makeup and wardrobe styling make ALL. THE. DIFFERENCE.)

So yes, you can look like a model. And with me behind the camera, you can pose like one.

2. "I'm so awkward!"

Well, it's a little more complicated. I'd never actually put you in a pose. The reason you look awkward in photos is because you're trying to capture yourself in a moment, and trying to freeze that moment with a single pose. Nuh-uh. Not working.

Instead, you should be moving. Those beautiful moments you're striving for? They usually happen in the middle of an action: laughing at a joke, sweeping your hair off your face, walking to the boutique, etc. These moments can't be faked, they have to be genuine or else, yes, they'll be awkward. You need to get moving and get excited, and those moments will come naturally.

3. "I'm not photogenic!"

Babe, yes you are. Before you start to argue, let me say this: It's all about the angles. Every person really does have a "good side." How can you tell? Well, two ways: All of us have one eye that is a little higher than the other, and all of our noses tilt slightly to the left or the right. Depending on which is more prominent, that's how you determine your good side. You probably already know which one it is based on instinct and past photos ("I don't know why, I just know I like this side better,"). And now you know why.

4. "I have to lose 10 pounds!"

I understand this feeling. I've battled with my own weight for years, since middle school, and for the most part I've won that battle. But! I have spend many months in hiding because I've lost that battle too. There were months where I hid from my friends, avoided networking events and jumped out of impromptu photos like the devil was chasing me. I get it in a big way.

Here comes another but: But I fully believe that I'm meant to serve creative entrepreneurs by creating beautiful photos that drive their businesses forward. I can't serve you if I'm hiding behind my computer, refusing to pose for photos. In order to connect with you, my audience, then you need to see my face, hear my voice and connect with my story. Without putting myself unique self out there, I'm lost in a sea of social media. Without photos of myself, I serve no one. And what about you? Who are you serving? And who are you not serving because you're hiding instead? Not a single one of your audience cares if you lose 10 pounds first. They need you to show up, just as you are, expertise in hand, ready to serve. Let's take the first step by getting in front of the camera. I'll make your photos painless, I pinky promise.

Your Creative Manifesto for 2018

Looking for inspiration everywhere like...

Looking for inspiration everywhere like...

Yes, you ARE a creative. We all are. And this time of year, when everyone is setting new year's resolutions and making goals for the future, I encourage you to take a step back from specific goals and first create a set of principles that will guide your creative work in the new year.

I love to sit in conversation with other creatives and chat about how we move our work forward, taking risks and reaching new levels of success, especially when we feel stuck.

Common practices come up again and again, and I'm sharing them with you in hopes that you'll get inspired. 

  • I will follow the fire in my heart that leads to creativity and art on a daily basis;
  • I will step into my art with love and excitement; 
  • I will focus on my creative contribution to the world because I'm on my own creative path;
  • I will let go of practices that no longer serve me, including comparison, fear and limiting beliefs;
  • I will embrace practices that push me to grow as a creative, including curiosity, discomfort, education and conversation with other creatives;
  • I will support and encourage my community of artists and creators in their own endeavors.


Get ready, because with a few principles as a guide, then your goals, ideas and inspiration for 2018 will start dropping into your mind, totally on fire. Please share yours
 

We Are All Creatives

CourtneyPaigeRay

When we talk about "creatives," we're usually referring to people working in creative industries: art, graphic design, writers, painters, photographers, etc. But regardless of your day job, each of us is a creative—oh heck yes, even you, hiding behind your keyboard thinking, "If only..."

I believe that our purpose in life is to create. We're all driven to produce something. Whether it's business or babies or paintings or buildings—or all of the above—we're here to build, to create, to dream.

As creatives, we start with a big, not-so-simple question: "Why?" 

"Why am I here?" 
"Why do I feel the need to create?"
"Why is there this constant, fiery drive to build something of my own?"

Creating keeps us connected to our inner selves and to each other; creative energy quiets the noise of the world and pushes us to build the legacy we leave behind. 

Of course, after the "why am I here?"—to create—comes the next question: "What am I here to create?"

I'm here to create photos, to tell stories, to document experiences and to connect with others in the creative process—whether that's through education, conversation or critique.

I'm here to help you find the path of your own creativity, and I want to hear from you what will help—do you want to learn how to take better photos? How to create art from a place of authenticity? How to explain to everyone around you that you want to quit your successful career as a journalist (or insert other job here) to take photos and run a business—none of which you've done before? Been there. Done that. Happy to help you do it too. 

Please share what you're driven to create in this world—let's chat!