In this series of blog posts we are introducing people who are speaking at and attending Inspire 2014. We are delighted to introduce Jen Lightful of Lightful Photography, Jen's work is transcendent and celebrates each child’s individuality allows for a more fulfilling experience for both her clients and Jen herself. Jen will be will be teaching Celebrating Individualism in Children’s Portraiture (and You) JenLightful_biopic

One thing I discovered in this past year in regards to my photography business is the importance of personal projects. Like any creative person, we consistently need an outlet to focus on our passions, spark new interests and give us fresh ideas. In order to be successful in our small businesses, our work is an extension of ourselves, and there is no better way to work happy than self-discovery through personal projects. You might even realize that your creative desires have absolutely nothing to do with taking pictures. These ideas are usually the most groundbreaking. My couture sessions were stemmed from a personal project and took a year to perfect. Now, my next project, which is my most ambitious, is based off the children I work with for these sessions and my message as a whole.

My goal with this project is to celebrate individuality in children while instilling a sense of fulfillment by giving back to the community. I plan on creating a fashion forward clothing line designed by kids FOR kids that represent their passions and interests, where all the proceeds of each item go to their chosen charity. By having children design their items of clothing as a representation of their individuality, they feel fulfillment and self worth, while doing good in their community and giving back to others in need.

This is a huge project and long term goal that I am really excited about. Phase one will focus on creating t-shirts designed by the children I photographed. I plan on creating an online store with their photos and story and what charity they choose to donate the proceeds to and why. I will be beginning this project while I’m out on maternity leave (cause I don’t really have much to do then, right? ;) ), with possible initial roll out by Q4 of next year. I have hopes of a possible Kickstarter project as well for this. Who knows where this project will take me.

That is the beauty of this process. The possibilities. Personal projects always need to stem from within, and it's ok if you're not sure yet of where and what you stand for, the key is to just DO IT, get started, the mere act of it gets your creativity flowing. The more you do, the closer you get to your answers, and you'll be surprised where it may take you.

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