Creativity

Creativity Takes Courage by Rachel Abrahams

NYC - Central Park Bethesda Terrace

NYC - Central Park Bethesda Terrace

I recently dyed my hair purple. Bright Grimace/Barney purple (you remember them, right? Am I dating myself? Did either of those characters give you nightmares too? Or was it just me?). Now, before you go imagining my head looking like a grape, it’s not ALL purple. I mixed it in with my usual copper red and it’s just enough where people look again and ask “Do you have purple in your hair?” and I answer very proudly “Yup”. I know purple hair isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (my husband isn’t really a fan but he also said it’s my hair) but you know what lesson I have learned recently in life? I don’t have to shape myself to other expectations – just what I love. What makes me happy? Having purple hair makes me happy and that’s all that matters.

It takes courage to step outside the normal boxes. It takes having a DGAFlip attitude on the surface and then making sure your insides are along for the ride even when you may be having some doubts about it (fake it til you make it, right?).  That’s true courage, in my opinion. Therefore, I can call myself Captain Courageous for rocking out the purple hair and not caring (I was tempted to rhyme there but I can only nerd out so much before you all kick me to the curb).

San Diego, California

San Diego, California

You know what else takes courage? Creativity. And honestly you can’t be a truly creative individual until you believe in yourself. If you worry too much about failing, about what others think, and about standing out from the crowd - all of these worries will lead to failure. Or not even trying at all.

I hear people tell me all the time they aren’t creative. When people say that to me, I can guess they are either in 1 of 2 groups.

Group 1: They don’t realize something they do often is actually very creative

or

Group 2: They have lost the courage to try

Do you think you aren’t a creative person? Which camp do you fall into?

Maybe you are someone who doesn’t realize you do something creative all the time and are overlooking it. Just because you aren’t putting a paint brush, glue gun, or musical instrument in your hand doesn’t mean you aren’t creative. Do you cook? Garden? Do interior design? Journal? Love fashion? Makeup? Hair? Tattoos? Reading? Karaoke? Pairing your rainbow colored kicks collection with your outfits? All of these (and so many more) are ways you are being creative and don’t even realize. Knock it off. Give yourself a hand. You are not giving yourself enough credit.

NYC - View From Empire State Building

NYC - View From Empire State Building

So, what about if you are in Group 2, where you’ve just lost the courage to try and be creative? Remember how I dyed my hair purple? If I let fear dictate my choices, I’d still be walking around with normal hair (but wishing deep down inside I had purple hair). If you want to be more creative, you just gotta suck it up and DO IT. Harsh words, I know, but don’t let fear of failing or sucking at it prevent you from trying. You know how creative people become more creative? They fail. Yup, they try something and fail and then take those lessons learned and try again – and again – and again – and then hit their stride. In these days of social media, you don’t know this anymore because people only share the awesome stuff.

One of my biggest regrets as a photographer is I spent the first 4 years of running my photography business being afraid. I was afraid to break the “rules”. What rules? Oh, the ones I kept hearing photographers spout on different message boards or comments on Flickr saying things like “too much Photoshop”, “looks fake”, “good photographs need minimal editing”, etc. What if they said that about me and my photographs? So, I tried (and failed) to follow those rules. It’s not the first time I’ve been a failure at following rules. Guess what? Remember that DGAFlip attitude? Now, I make my own rules. More color? YES. Brighter? YES. Blow out the sky? SURE, WHY NOT. If it makes my heart happy – that’s the only rule to follow.

Paris, France - Notre Dame Cathedral

Paris, France - Notre Dame Cathedral

I also was afraid of trying something different and then finding I hated it but realized quickly that’s the only way to grow. I edit photos all the time and then go back weeks/months later and decide I don’t like it and I will just start over. It happens. What do I learn? How NOT to do it. What else? I am refining my own taste.

What does this soapbox rant mean? I swear I have a point. Don’t let your fear of sucking at something prevent you from trying it. Don’t let that be your excuse of why you aren’t a creative person. Cuz if you tell me that, I will call you on your bullhockey and say “WHOMP! Try again. Give me a legitimate reason for not doing it”. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to be attempted. Progress NOT perfection.

What’s the only rule? HAVE SOME FREAKIN’ FUN, people. That’s it. Enjoy it. Laugh when your dessert you attempted to create falls apart from the oven (and then smile in delight when it still tastes amazing despite looking like a literal hot mess). Add alcohol into the equation and make it a friends night together trying something different. If it’s not fun it’s not worth doing.

It takes courage to be creative. You have it in you but it just might take thinking outside whatever self-limiting box you’ve imposed on yourself. So how are you going to do it? You don’t have to dye your hair purple like me (although I would welcome you into the Purple Durple Hair Club with the most open arms ever) but there’s something fun and different you’ve been interested to try. Now is the time. Do it.

P.S. If you are looking for something super simple and low barrier to entry for being creative, try coloring in those new coloring books for adults (no, not THAT kind of adult. As in – coloring books with designs that are less Care Bear and Disney and more patterns and shapes). Here are some examples on Amazon

P.P.S. Did you notice the theme of the photos?

 

Working Smarter - Not Harder - To Be Creative by Rachel Abrahams

It's been awhile! I've missed all you amazing people and WELCOME to all the new people who signed up during my canvas wrap giveaway. Lots of new faces around here.So, where have I been? After Christmas I decided I was doing things the hard way when it came to my photography (and life in general). It was making me not want to sit down and do one of my favorite parts - edit photos - and I ended up with photos just sitting on my memory card, in my camera, forgotten.

I challenged myself to try something new and STREAMLINE my process. It meant signing up for tutorials and classes, taking time to learn new things, and unlearn my old habits. It wasn't easy because it meant I had to sloooowwww waaaayyyy down (while thinking in my whiny voice "noooo, I don't wannnnaaa, I wanna do the longer way that is ingrained in meeeeee") and keep looking up my notes and tutorials on how to achieve what I was imagining.

That is not an easy thing to do and I know many of us face that same challenge. We create habits and, even though we know there could be a better way, we keep going with those habits because steering the ship in a new direction can be so darn hard.

In the end, it was absolutely worth it. You know that saying "Work smarter, not harder"? That's my goal is this year. I also came up with a new tagline:

Photographer - Traveler - Dreamer

I feel between working smarter and following my new tagline I am more in line with what's a great creative process for me. I've also been taking care of a work-life balance by working out with a trainer, taking this free 30 Day Push Challenge to be more organized (http://www.30daypush.com/), and learning how to just chillax about all that small stuff so I won't feel overwhelmed.

And you know what I've learned? If it's not enjoyable - it's not worth it.

Confession: I never learned the proper way to type and now I type using 2 fingers on my left hand and 3 on my right. I can see your brain twisting trying to imagine what that looks like. It's not quite monkey at a keyboard but it's definitely close. I type super fast this way but get crazy looks when people watch me. I know that typing with all 10 fingers would make my life easier but the idea of trying to unlearn years of wacky typing makes me wanna sweat.

Maybe next year?

**Note: The 30 Day Push Challenge is not an ad or affiliate link. Just truly something I've been enjoying and wanted to share.

P.S. Are you on Snapchat?

I'm having fun sharing the random daily things of my life (including videos of my visits to the beach!) and interacting with fellow SnapChatters! Just open up your Snapchat, snap the ghost to the left, and it will automatically follow.

Search by username: rach.abrahams

Breaking My Own Photography Barriers by Rachel Abrahams

My mind's eye never stops "composing" shots. It's incessant.

 It's something I've done since I picked up a camera and made it my own when I was 13 years old. Back then, I took more social shots of friends and classmates. I would catch them unaware or make people pose into fun shots. It made me so happy to print them out and share with anyone who was in the shots. 

In high school, I was introduced to journalism, received basic photography training, and it was off to the races. With just a wee bit of training, everywhere I looked I saw potential photos. As the years go by, it's pretty much all I see when I am out and about. As the sun goes down, I ooh and aww over the colors and my poor husband has to say "Yes, honey. Nice (insert thing I oohed over here)". 

Having an iPhone has really changed my photography and put the fun back into making creative photos on the fly. It's removed the barriers between the beauty I see in front of me and sharing it with my creative touch added. 

I used to hesitate and not make the pictures super colorful or add layers of textures and light leaks. Now I tell myself "Screw it. Do whatever you want". And you know what's happened? The more authentic I've been with my creative touch on my photos -the better the response.I don't care anymore about the "rules", whatever they may be. I just make art that makes me happy now. 

So, what make me happy now? Stopping mid-step (with no regard for my safety) to take that perfect shot against the setting sun. Nearly driving off the road while attempting to hold my phone up to the open window to catch a drive by (just kidding, mom). Seeing an amazing possible photo in the distance, U-turning like a crazy lady and parking in random spaces to whip out my phone. Ignoring the looks from people who see me squatting low to the ground and taking magical shots. Layering, tweaking, coloring, and letting my imagination have it's way with editing the photos. All that makes me cheese like a kid being offered all the candy in the world.

......And seeing all the happy smiley feedback I get from Instagram when I share. It's an amazing community that has transformed my work over this last year. If you're not on there, I highly encourage it. You can follow me and "My Florida Life" on Instagram -here.

Are there rules getting in the way of you doing something you love? Do you view the world in a special way where the details always catch your eye? What barrier do you have that's preventing you from being super creative? I wanna know, so share in the comments below.

**All photos were taken and edited on my iPhone**

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Pull Over And Have An Adventure | California Photography by Rachel Abrahams

Before going to California, the number one question I was asked was "Are you planning on driving the Pacific Coastal Highway?". I was told repeatedly how it is beautiful and definitely worth taking the extra time to drive it. We decided to drive it from Los Angeles to San Francisco and it was absolutely worth every minute of it. Some parts were isolated, other parts were nerve wracking (high cliffs and teeny weeny ledges for the car), and almost all of it was gorgeous. We didn't have a detailed plan other than wanting to be at a certain point before sunset so we took full advantage of stopping wherever we saw beautiful sights. My husband was fantastic and kept scouting great photography locations to explore.

Not too long into the drive, we came upon this beach. It was isolated and there was only one other car there so we pulled over to explore. There was a large drop off from the road down to the sand and without my husband's assistance (both down and up the drop off), I never would have been able to get down onto the beach to explore. It had everything you expect from a beach on the Pacific Ocean - rocks, huge piles of seaweed, driftwood, and the water was so COLD. Not like Florida ocean water - this was wet suit required cold water. Plus, I'm a big (Floridian) wuss when it comes to cold water.

I am proud of the fact I was running around in capris and flip-flops while it was 50 degrees on the beach. That didn't bother me. Swimming in it would.

It was so lovely to be on this beach, scouring for treasures, with no one really around. The wind was blustery and the sun was strong. This situation was an example of something I read once that said to take pictures no matter what the light is like. As photographers, it is repeated over and over to us to always take photos in the best light - which is typically around sunrise and sunset. Well, I didn't have that option and had to work with the sun light directly over the water and the ocean reflecting it like a huge mirror onto my camera. The article was right - just take the photos. Don't miss out just because the light isn't perfect.

My favorite aspect of traveling is seeing how different things are where you visit and I could not get over how FLUFFY the seagulls were in California. Are they seeing some specialty bird hairdresser we don't have in Florida? Maybe it's all the celebrity beauty treatments and some weird seagull keratin feather treatment? These guys actually looked cuddly. Of course, I still can't stand birds so they didn't look cuddly enough to actually try to get near one. The day that happens, the people close to me know it's time to check me in for old-timer's disease or senility. I've tried but birds and I don't mix. Trust me.

Although it felt really isolated in this nook of a beach there were two houses within view. I cannot even imagine what a gorgeous vantage point they have every day. I waved in their direction in case anyone happened to see this little redheaded hobbit climbing around the rocks like an idiot. If someone did see me, I guarantee they were placing bets on me falling. FYI - I didn't. Well, I nearly did trying to climb back up the drop-off to the road. Hubby saved me though so it doesn't count.

What's the best place you discovered while meandering off the beaten path? Would you (or have you) dare(d) to swim in the arctic cold of the Pacific Ocean waters without a wet suit? Am I the only one who isn't a fan of birds?