Personal photography projects can be incredibly beneficial to your growth as a photographer. Whether it be a 365 or a series of self-portraits, it will stretch you beyond your safety zone. And what could be more fun than seeing what personal projects the CMpros are up to?! In this series, we’ll feature a different CMpro and follow along as they show off some of their images and share about their unique project. Today we are excited to have Kara Orwig here to talk about her personal project, Centered!
centered | kara orwig
What is/was your personal project and what inspired you to start it?
My personal project is called “centered”. My 365 was coming to an end in May 2013 and I was searching for a new project to keep me inspired. I grew so much through daily shooting and I knew that a goal-oriented project would be a great way to keep pushing me. After a year full of studying and practicing the technicalities of photography, I became more interested in exploring my artistic vision. I am fascinated with composition and I knew that I wanted to start breaking the rules effectively, but I wasn’t sure where to start. I finally turned to my own portfolio and discovered that two of my favorite images were centered. I knew that I love centered compositions more than I am supposed to, so I decided to really figure out what makes it work in certain situations.
Are there any challenges or ruts you faced during your project and how did you overcome them and keep a creative eye?
I honestly didn’t face any ruts during my centered project. This particular project didn’t change the way I shoot. It didn’t require any extra planning; I was still able to find my inspiration from light or moments. I just had to allow myself to step out of the rule-of-thirds box.
What have you learned through your process with your personal project?
I was actually surprised by how frequently I saw opportunity for an effective centered composition. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been. I am a big fan of symmetry and balance in other areas of my life, such as the types of artwork that appeal to me or the way I decorate my home. I also use framing and leading lines in my work quite often. All of these situations lend themselves to a strong centered composition. Once I figured out when to center and gave myself permission to do so when it felt right, I challenged myself to consider different types of lighting and perspectives to add variety to my set.
Is there anything additional about your project that readers may find interesting?
I really didn’t think much of my centered project because it isn’t flashy or elaborate. But it served a very valuable purpose for my individual growth. Several months ago, I was really struggling with self-doubt. The words of advice that I kept receiving during a mentorship were to go with my gut. But I had no idea how to put that into practice. Months later, I realized that my personal project had become less about a certain type of composition and more about trusting my instincts. With time, I became more confident in my decisions for the project, which in turn spilled over to all of my work. I guess I would want readers to know that a seemingly small project can still reap big rewards, even unexpected ones. I hope that “centered” will serve as a springboard for something bigger and flashier for me in the future and I can’t wait to figure out what that next project will be.
Kara Orwig, West Virginia
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Kara is an enthusiastic hobbyist who studies all things photography in her free time. Her rad little family includes her husband, a 6 year-old spitfire, a 4 year-old old soul, and two goofy boxers. Kara shoots with a Canon 5d mark II and loves lines, framing, and negative space. She gives her 135 mm and her 35 mm equal attention and she is slowly developing a relationship with her lensbaby composer pro. Live music, Land of Nod catalogs, yoga, blackberry cobbler, TOMS, and Downton Abbey are just some of the things that also tickle her fancy.