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Go From Cold to Hot

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Sep 16

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Today we are talking about a problem ALL artists go through.

Sometimes they are really into their art and want to do amazing things and change the world, and other times they don’t want to be a part of it at all. Your creativity goes away, you stop having fun, and what you used to enjoy now seems like work. This is NORMAL. You are NOT the ONLY ONE. Lets learn to realize that it is part of the process, and be ok with the ups and downs of life. I created this list for people who know exactly what I am talking about. Here Is my 9 ways to get you back on track!

1 Use Different Equipment

Try using different tools to make your images. If you shoot with a Nikon, borrow a Canon. If you have a point and shoot, borrow a DSLR. If you have a Hassleblad, use an iphone. Doing this will force you to get out of your comfort zone. You may find that you like the switch even more than you like what you are currently using. It could make all the difference in the world.

If you shoot with complicated lighting, try going solo. The change in hauling less equipment might make you realize you can take greta photos without a huge production, as well as allow you to be a bit more free in your decision making.

2 Make new friends in Photography

There are many groups of people similar to you, probably in your town. A great resource to find them is through Flickr or If you don’t have any luck in these areas, check out meeting people online. Guess what. They are real people too.

Twitter allows you to connect with other people in your industry, who you may want to talk to. You don’t need to have any fear about contacting people on Twitter, because THEY look bad if they respond to you negatively. This is a great way to connect with people and get excited again. Imagine if you wanted to be an actor, and you had a great way to talk to Steven Spielberg.

3 Figure out why you liked photography to begin with

Thinking back to what got you excited enough to want to make photography a major part of your life will help you to realize why you are even doing this in the first place. Did you want to get girls naked? Did you suck at drawing but wanted to create art? Getting back to your roots can bring back those feelings of happiness.

4 Start Having fun again!

This does not have to be all work, and it is totally possible to have fun while working. Think about times in your life in which you had a lot of fun. Would that have been ruined if there was a camera present? Probably not. Having fun in this is more important than always working super hard and putting pressure on yourself. One way you are going to burn out and hate photography, the other you will carry it with you for the rest of your life.

5 Not every image has to be perfect

There is no need to put a ton of pressure on yourself for every time you pick up a camera. Life comes in waves, and so does photography. Embrace this, don’t fight it. Always try your best and enjoy yourself, but if something doesn’t turn out amazing, dont beat yourself up over it. Learn from it, and move on. Even Tom Hanks has been in some crappy movies.

6 Do Something you have never done

Often times doing something you have never done before gives you good perspective on what you are doing. You never know, you may fall in love with something you never thought you would enjoy. I hav avoided being a “business person” All my life, but after being forced to be more business minded, I find myself really enjoying it.

7 Bring your REAL friends into the game

Most of the people you know really dont have a lot of cool things going on every day, and you can change that for them. Inviting your friends to do photo shoots with you is a great way for them to have a good time, and for you to spend some time together. Friends will often make work a bit more fun, and bring in some perspective that you may not have had before.


Life is SHORT. You won’t be thinking to yourself on your deathbed “I should have made a few thousand more dollars, or worked an extra couple of weeks.” The time you spend enjoying your life and rewarding yourself for all the hard work you do will mean the world to you. The time spent in a different place not thinking about work will often recharge your batteries, and when you come home, you will feel refreshed and ready to knock things out!

9 If you are HOT, figure out why

Life does go up and down, if you are in an up swing, figure out why! That way as you head down you have a good idea of what can get you back up again

Weekend Contest!

Go out and have some fun! Take some pictures, do a photo shoot, make awesomeness happen, and make sure you and everyone is having a great time in the proces. Post your images in a comment to this episode as well as a description – how was it fun? What did you do? How did it make a difference?
I can’t wait to see your entries, judging will close Monday at 12PM EST, the winner gets Pheatured on Phlearn, as well as receives a FREE Phlearn Lens Bracelet!

  • Dennis

    You and your shows seem so much more upbeat since your Mum visited, Mums Rock

  • Yo MAMA

    YOU ARE FUN!!!!!!

  • Churchwell

    I take nude images of male and females. And babies. And the weather….

  • Laura Eliza

    I’m glad I am not the only one that gets turned off of photography… I thought I maybe had made a mistake and didn’t really love it and wasn’t supposed to do it for the rest of my life. It’s great to hear that is just something to fight through. =)

  • Franklyn Espinal

    Hey, Aaron!  Can you please use your 5D Mark II to record Phlearn episodes again?  :)
    Am I the only one who misses it?

  • Franklyn Espinal

    Yup! It’s good to take a break once in a while.  I’m going to take Aaron’s advice and go on VACATION!  :)
    Have fun.

  • Brandon Luong

    I made a friend from a photoshoot a few months back and she had some spare time and I was in town so we decided to do a shoot with no theme no real collective ideas and just see where it took us. What made it fun was because I already we already had chemistry together and nothing was new. We just met up and took photos for an hour and a half and just generally had laughs and good times. It was fun and a definite need from all the event photography I’ve been doing.

  • Jason Vinson

    do some sort of challenge! i just joined an octoberfest challenge to only use one prime lens for all of october (except for paid jobs) helps to switch it up and limit your gear to open your mind. :)

  • Rhiannon Brunett

    Gimme a KISS! My favorite. Thanks for keeping me in fits of laughter all morning Aaron. Your tutorials really are the best. 

  • Steve

    I’ll see your vimeo pick, and raise you: Robin Leduc / Laissez moi passer

    And also:
    ‘Dot.’ The World’s smallest stop-motion animation character shot on a Nokia N8 –

  • Steve

    Hehe! I BET you TOTALLY took up photography to pick up hot laydeez!

    I was having a drink at 11mins when you started singing “Got a camera… will you take your clothes off”,
    I almost choked, laughing so hard! PPPMSL!!! I now have bits of nougat up my nose and everything!

    I am a creative. 100% I love drawing, photography, film… everything.
    BUT I also love women! lol  So yeah, dagnabbit…  I wouldn’t mind having a go at that too..  just to say I’ve done it. Plus I need all the help I can get meeting a nice creative girl. lol
    But there is a fine line between artistic, glamour and porn!
    With me doing videos, it’s almost always the first question non-creative people ask: “Do you make porn”.
    I never have, but with me drifting from HOT to COLD :(   …it has been tempting to go down the porn route. But as a filmmaker I want to protect my persona! I wanna make Goonies 2 for goodness sake! lol

    But then…  I found ‘PHLEAN’, and I am being 100% truthful when I say, Phlearn have pulled me back from the bring of that seedy world, and made me enjoy the brighter side of photography.

    I mean… The Dave LaChapelle stuff you showed me is unreal.  That ‘Pig’ wrestling ‘Pammy’, wtf? Amazing!
    I wouldn’t mind creating crazy images like that!

  • Steve

    I think for speed and ease, it was better to bypass the 5D.
    It give Aaron more time to have alife too! : )
    But yeah, everyone once in a while it would be nice to see it. Maybe for specials, or guest interviews or something. 

    Where’d Amelia go? I thought we we goning to a see a little more of her co-hosting (a bit like Avery did)?

  • Anonymous

    Sweet I’m going 4 wheel driving with a bunch of mates I wasn’t going to take the camera but I think I will!!

  • Jeni

    Aaron, your enthusiasm is absolutely contagious!

  • phoebe

    i just purchased a toy fisheye lens and i recently took on the 365 self-portrait challenge! i was never comfortable having my picture taken, and to take on a self-portrait of myself for a year is a bit intimidating yet exciting decision that i’ve made in my photography journey. i know taking on this challenge will better myself as a photographer in technicality, creativity, and dedication. there will be cold days ahead, and that’s when it matters the most.

  • Juan Cruz

    I had a shoot the other day that got cancelled which is something I hate. I drove to my friend’s studio and waited 2 hours before she told me she wasn’t gonna make it. My friend and I decided to do self portraits just for fun which is something I use to do all the time. This time I wasn’t serious at all. Just playing around dancing and doing funny poses. The next day I was looking through the images and saw one I really liked. I opened up PS and jjust started playing around. Went back to my old ways of just trying things out. At the end, I came out with one of my most favorite images. Now I’m all psyched about trying out new things. Photography was starting to feel like work but now I think it’s time to me to play again. Just like when I first started.

  • Anonymous

    Right! Gonna make this a fun but CHALLENGING shoot for me. I want to do something I’ve never done before, and shoot in the dark… Sadly my D80 doesnt cope well in low light but I figured I would just give it a go, so stay tuned :) The plan roughly is to shoot at night, my model in the water, shiney fabric makeshift bikini, and see what happens. I’m sure it’ll be a laugh and the photos should like nothing i’ve ever done before.. should be awesome! I shall let you all know how it goes :D

  • Demetrius

    not my weekend project but I wanted to post since I haven’t had the time to do much of that lately..  I had a shoot with a kid yesterday that was just stiff as a board, but had the Euro slender build  to pull off the outfits he wore and instead of being creative on getting him to pose, I just let him stand tall and keep it simple..  In this shot I added something I learned from Phlearn, which is adding light to the image using gradients.  I also added a bit of noise as well.

    Now I am planning a shoot with a sponsored skateboarder for tomorrow.  I hope we can get it done!!  That’s going to be fun and I have never shot a skateboarder before.

  • Mark

    Here is a photo I worked on this weekend. It’s for a project I’m doing in Graphic Design and I thought I’d share it for two reasons: One, for the contest. Duh. Secondly, I thought I’d show this because Phlearn really inspired me to go out and do something hard! So thanks Phlearn! I had fun, used some new equipment, and brought my friends into the game!

    God bless!
     - Mark

  • Waseef Akhtar

    Oh my! That was the funniest episode ever. I literally LMAO’d.. And the things you said.. So agree on all of them. I so sit and act like the same way when I’m cold :p. And well the things that most annoys me in phoography is the set-up of a shoot in the home. If not, I own cheap equipments that won’t work all the time. Running out of batteries, flash won’t sync to the camera, not able to find the things I’m looking for. But once, I shoot and work on it on the PC and post it all over the web and people appreciate it, that’s what makes me hot again xD. And after a day or two, I just go all cold again. And when a week or so passes, I’m like Imma soon forget how to take pictures and edit them, I need inspirations so badly.. And that’s when I get my iPhone out and shoot with that and have fun, post them on Instagram and just love it. And believe me, I sold a few of my iPhone shots last week for a mag.. So there’s that..

    BTW you acted the same for the cold guy and the kid :P . And I guess school wants me to skip the contest this weekend and focus on studies :( . Gluck to others though!

  • Waseef Akhtar

    So true .

  • Waseef Akhtar

    They might update MBPro later this year. That’s what the rumors say xD

  • Waseef Akhtar

    So felt the same xD

  • Jeremy Cupp

    Wanted to share this with my Pham. Pretty amazing.

  • Steve

    Thanks! Yerah I found the MacRumours site just in time : )

  • Steve

    Love the pic. 
    Next time I wanna see some Bee Hatches in the backgrond… with wall-to-wall sequins!

  • Hassnal Adam Sulaiman

    Hello Aaron and everyone in PHLearnplanet :)

    With my final exams coming in a few months, I don’t have that much time to spend on photoshop etc.

    But because I love photography and I don’t want to put my creativity and ideas to waste, I’ve decided to start a 365 project… using my iphone. (only using instagram app and the only photoshop involved is photoshop for iphone; to boost the exposure and adjust saturation)

    These are the things I wanted/hope to achieve from this project…

    1) still be able to do photography of some sort while still making my revisions a priority
    2) explore/express my artistic side
    3) challenge myself to be able to achieve the ‘image’ i have in my head, without photoshop
    4) i want to be able to be in control of my photoshop ability, and NOT have my photoshop ability control me
    5) minimum time to achieve the image i aim for… but still the same maximum satisfaction
    6) not let technicality stops me from being creative and take risks
    7) push myself to be more creative on a daily basis

    I’m on day 30 of my 365 project now… And it has been so so fun. I feel like i’ve allowed myself to rediscover reasons why I enjoy photography and it actually made me more confident with my ‘before photoshop’ shots.

    Here are some of the images from my instagram365. The image with the cloud over my head was achieved using cotton wool,a lot of double sided tape, hairclips and hairspray to stiffen the cotton wool. :)

    Adam Raasalhague
    twitter: adamsnaps

  • Dunja Zupanic

    hhahaaaaaaa you are so crazy :) ))))))) i must watch this one more time :) ….but before i do here is info about picture:
    i was at bachelor party of my frineds, we had great time, people were making funny faces and i was shooting, for future newly-weds photo memory album….

  • Gábor Lénárt

    I really like this kind of videos from you Aaron, it’s very inspiring and I love it!:) I think it’s more helpful,than just another photoshop tutorial.

  • Logan Westom

    I mainly photograph concerts for the music and entertainment website that I created/founded – This weekend I had the great opportunity to photography Switchfoot. Amazing band. I recently brought my friends into this website by having come with me and be the writer for the review part. Its always more fun when I have a friend to go to the concerts with me. And they love coming since they get to go to concerts for free. it not like it is even work its so much fun. Anyways here are some photos I got at the concert this weekend. 

    More photos here -

    Logan Westom

  • Jay Stebbins

    Crap, this weekend was a busy one, filling up freaking 32 GB cards left and right. But after that craziness, I went out side with my dog to a spot where I new the sun come between the trees during the fall and lights up the old brick sidewalks in Boston. I shot what I have been meaning to shoot since the day I saw that light. 

    Is it my best image of the weekend, nope. I had a good weekend behind the lens. This is just the image that represents me doing what makes me very happy. Which is the reason I shoot in the first place.

    Photoshop, just a little, remove a distracting glare, and push a few colors and tones around. But I was able to do what I enjoy and shoot what I like to hand on my walls. These days, after Phlearn, I don’t think twice about opening PS to touch things up, it is just easier now.

  • Kewal Rai

    Me and a mate were talking about photography(which is how we met) on friday night and were thinking how do we take the step up,the next level of improvement(since we both seem to have one thing in common, and that is, we dont like our own shots haha). We decided that we will go around scouting for locations which might inspire us.

    The next day, both of us and another mate and his wife met up and were really excited to see what we will find that day. We got in his car and went to our 1st designated location(which was 5 mins away from my place), we missed a turn and ended up on a busy road. The car in front of us was going to make a right turn so my mate stopped the car and waited for it to do so.

    Next thing, bang! Someone behind had collided onto us and before we knew it, the car started moving and knocked against the car in front of us. Car behind was being driven by red P plate(newly licensed) driver. Frustrating part was, the car in front and the rear car had really minor damages while my mate’s car was wrecked. Booth and front were caved in and radiator seemed to be broken with fluids dripping onto the road. Funny when the car in front was supposedly known as a weakly built car.

    Spent more than 2 hrs there for the cops to write down the report and sort out everything. We were near the beach so ended going there to scout.

    My mate must be frustrated to a level which I cant fanthom since he needs his car to get to work and since repairs  will take time, this will affect his daily lifestyle, plus he had plans to head for a day trip in a fortnight. But I like to think for a moment when we were clicking on the beach, the joy of photography made him forget those frustrations for a moment.

    Here is shot I took of him with a levitation concept that I thot of on the go.

  • William Drago

    I want to share something great that happened to me..  Today was my sisters birthday and my mom helped me to make this as a present. Ive shot her a few months ago, and now shes in switzerland. I printed this work and sent her via a friend, who went to visit her 2 days ago. My mom and I had a great time doing the  text, because its all related to my sisters personality. The important thing is: she loved it!

  • Guilherme Coelho

    I want to share something great that happened to me..  Today was my sisters birthday and my mom helped me to make this as a present. Ive shot her a few months ago, and now shes in switzerland. I printed this work and sent her via a friend, who went to visit her 2 days ago. My mom and I had a great time doing the  text, because its all related to my sisters personality. The important thing is: she loved it!

  • Steven

    I had a shoot this weekend with one of my friendly local drag queens. He arrived on drag queen time, which is three and a half hours late. We had agreed on a Ram’s horn headdress in black and red, but he switched to this sunken treasure headdress. So I had to improvise. Out came the purple backdrop, on came the Little Mermaid soundtrack and I shot him for an hour and came up with these shots. 

    Relatively minor retouching. A little skin smoothing, a little extra pop in the eyes, a little vignetting.

  • Steven

    Pretty Damned Impressive. Really inspiring work. And to think it’s all done on an iPhone. 

  • Marvin

    I’d love to share my image of this weeks contest with all of u guys but somehow either the Phlearn page don’t want me to be part of the contest or my internet and my computer really do suck  because the same thing happend to me last week as well and I can’t upload my photos …

    well sad but I am going to share my story with all of u ;)

    This weekend I went out to my home town to do something I’ve never done before. There was a marathon and I went there to 

    1. take photos for the main sponsor, don’t ask how I got to this job because I don’t even know it myself, and it was the first time ever someone asked me if I could take photos for him

    2. I only had a 50mm lens which is how we all know the best lens for photographing runners or sports in particular ….NOT ! (and all the top spots were closed and only for the newspaper photographers…)

    3. it was pouring down rain ! but not only 5 min or so… It started at 7.00 am and I went there for the start at 8.00 am and it finished raining as heavily as I never had it before about 4 hours later when I was about to go home !
    I was so affraid of my equipment but it was still so much fun working in the rain.
    I sometimes couldn’t feel my fingers anymore because they went numb but it was worth it… I had a lot of fun, and it was a new experience to me .

    The photos are not that great but that didn’t matter that much.

  • Marvin

    oh it did work ! YAY 

  • Ra.In.

    So I followed tip #1 and used different equipment. I rented an 85mm
    f/1.8 lens and took some shots this weekend of my friends during our
    picnic in Central Park. It was a BEAUTIFUL afternoon and I had a lot of
    fun taking different shots of my friends playing frisbee! Playing with
    different angles & point of views made it very interesting getting
    action shots. I also took some good portrait shots so I will probably go
    out and buy this lens. :)  

  • Demetrius

    So here’s my submission for this weekend..  My skateboard shoot was cancelled, so I ended up working on an image from earlier in the week that I just wanted to play around with..  I can say that I like the concept that’s in my head, but I fell a little short on execution a bit.  The goal going into this was to over dramatize the motion because this kid is super fast.

    1.  a lot of dodge and burn, but the lighting on the ground and the kid was set up in camera..
    2.  turned the layer into a smart object
    3.  cut out the kid from the background and duplicated that layer about 5 times
    4.  added motion blur to all 5 layers
    5.  each layer I moved it in the direction of the blur a bit (to the right) to expand the motion
    6.  Grouped all of the motion blur layers
    7.  Added a mask to the group and placed a linear gradient from left to right over the kid
    8.  Added some stock lights and resized, but intentionally kept them big (grouped them)
    9.  Created a smart object from all of those layers and played around intensely with contrast and hue/saturation

  • Demetrius

    I also used different blend modes throughout as well..  I think I will redo this image, but I actually pushed myself to finally submit and learned a lot along the way..

  • Anonymous

    It may not look like fun, but we had some close friends visiting us here in Savannah and we had a great time exploring.  This is the Colonial Cemetery downtown.  It has been a public park since 1896.

    Post processing with Paint Shop Pro X3.  Is that heresy here on Phlearn?

  • Anonymous

    NO YOU ARE!!!!!!!!!

  • Merelle

    Love your passion Aaron! If you do come to Australia you are welcome at my home anytime for fun photoshoots :)

  • Kyle Bromley

    HAHAH!! “You can have a dick, but you can’t be a dick on Twitter!”

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