You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. – Jim Rohn I firmly believe this. I’ve seen it play out so clearly in my own life as I’ve worked to surround myself with people that challenge and encourage me to be my best. Gina, Emily and I had a great conversation about mentors when we were in San Francisco a couple weeks ago.  A vital part of the Making Things Happen intensive is to identify toxic people in your life and work to turn down the volume on their influence – or completely cut them out.  1. Identify who you surround yourself with.  2. Work to cut the toxicity.  3. Add positive people and study success.  Studying success is so easy nowadays – whether reading biographies of people who have lived great lives, following them on twitter, reading their blogs, books, Google Google Google, sending them an email, booking a session, attending workshops or learning from them first hand – the options are endless.  Building your “inner circle” means having great mentors to challenge you and stretch your creative potential.



My mentor list: my pastor, best friends, Ari and – among several others – my friend, Jeremy Cowart.  I love learning from his actions: creativity, humility, integrity, humor, passion for his family and an insatiable drive to leave the world be a better place than when he found it.  Voices of Haiti and Help Portrait are just two of his many ventures that started as “crazy” ideas in the middle of the night and turned into international movements. Jeremy never ceases to inspire. Help Portrait is December 4. Get involved in something powerful this holiday season:



I’ve loved getting to know him over the last two years since we first met when he was passing through NC on the road with Britney Spears.



We were so blessed to have Jeremy shoot our V2 cover and an eight page spread that I still can’t get over.



It was incredible to watch him work.



…and see the final product come to life.



Stunning. At our V2 launch party I also discovered something many of you may not know about Mr. Cowart: he is an insanely good breakdancer. No, really. Do not challenge this guy. He will win.



I’m not even a photographer, and I’ve never been so excited about this opportunity to learn what makes him tick. LifeFinder, Jeremy’s new educational DVD, is about to launch and he has given me two copies to give away! But first, the inside scoop from the man himself:



Why did you create LifeFinder? For 5 years now, ever since I started, I’ve been asked by so many people “Can I come on a shoot and watch you do your thing?”. I’ve always had to turn them down due to the complicated logistics involved. I wanted to finally put something out there to help people out.  My mission is to get people thinking about Photography again. I’m getting a little weary hearing people lose focus on the work itself. I mean, yes marketing is important. Social media is important, branding, logos, websites, etc.. But make sure your work is good first! It seems like this message is getting lost. I want to help people re-focus on creating amazing images.



If you could boil those 4 hours of footage down to your best advice for photographers and creatives in once sentence, what would it be? Well, in vein of the title, “LifeFinder“, I’d tell creatives to go find their passion and truly pursue it with everything they have. Life is too short to be doing something you’re not in love with. This may sound like a generic answer but it’s true. I get so sad when I see people investing 8-10 hours a day into something they’re not interested in. I was there once too. But I took the risk. I jumped. And I’ve never regretted it for one second.



What has been your most memorable experience as an artist? Gosh, these questions are TOUGH!! Well done. My first initial reaction to this question is my “Voices of Haiti” project. I’ve never experienced every emotion at once. That’s what Haiti was for me. I was in culture-shock, devastated, grieving, hopeful, joyful (for brief moments), worried, frightened, disgusted, you name it. It was a very, very surreal experience.



Which image is your favorite that you have created recently and why? Well, on that same note, I’d have to say this image from Haiti. (And hey, it’s a wedding photo! How appropriate :) It’s possibly the most powerful photo I’ve taken and it has nothing to do with me. I mean, for this young couple to stand there just days after the earthquake, amongst their destroyed church behind them (where they were supposed to get married that day), their home destroyed, their relatives missing and to send a message that says “Love Conquers All??? Are you kidding me? Whew. This photo gives me chills to this day.



What’s next? 2011 will continue my scattered ways of pursuing multiple things at once. I want to develop some iPhone apps. I want to hit the reset button on my photography career. I want to do a lot more fine art. I want to get started on a book idea that’s been on the backburner. I’d like to pursue a new idea with Help-Portrait. And most importantly I want to get in as much time with my family as possible. You know, just a few things haha.



See more of Jeremy’s work, follow him on Twitter and catch a glimpse of LifeFinder yourself:

LifeFinder DVD Trailer from Jeremy Cowart on Vimeo.

Thank you so much, Jeremy, for being such an encouragement to me and so many others. Life is definitely too short not to harness the passion we were created to share. Thank you for doing just that!

To win one of two copies of LifeFinder before it is released on December 14th, leave a comment telling us what inspires your creativity. What gets you fired up?

**UPDATED** WINNERS (chosen at random): Zachary Long and Carl Spring Photo. Please email me to claim your DVD’s! Thank you to everyone who entered! Such inspiration!

Show Comments (165)
  1. Chris Dowsett

    My creativity comes from confidence. Confidence has been lacking for the majority of my life and is just truly starting to peak its head over the last few years. I have learned more about my creative mind through self discovery than I could have ever hoped.

    “I am an artist of living, my work of art is my life.”

  2. Patrick

    Hey Lara,

    What inspires my creativity is daydreaming. LOL. I spend a lot of my time reading my favourite magazines and I get excited when I see a photograph that catches my eye. I see these photographs and watch behind-the-scenes videos and I get so pumped to try to go out there are create something for myself! I have such a long way to go to reaching my 10,0000 hours and so I’m trying very hard to hit that shutter everyday.

    -Pat

  3. David

    What gets me fired up? Empowering others who may feel they are living beneath their greatness but have run out of ideas in pursuing a different avenue towards an overall goal. At times there are injustices hindering some people that tend to be intimidating and can hinder hindsight. However, one needn’t live with the threat of failure. While there are many social, emotional, economical issues, etc. to deal with, we must look at ourselves individually as leaders and lead others to become great. Most solutions involve a creative process, but surely not manipulative. We can sever off the toxicity and reduce the noise, as it were, but we must seek to empower others engulfed by that same toxicity. This creates an external challenge to view ourselves internally, but so long as we pull together we can pull through. Let’s get fired up!

  4. Marjorie Preval

    What inspires me? Hearing about other people’s success stories. Watching the fire in their eyes as they relive how they made it happen. It always inspires me every time!

  5. Stacey Bruce

    What insprires me most is the hope of being able to do what I love! Knowing that life holds that treasure is so amazing to me and I’m not letting go of it!! I get fired up when I see beauty revealed through the lens that would otherwise go unnoticed. I believe that is the gift God intended for us through photography. I am also inspired by Jeremy’s Help Portrait project. I’m so excited to take the jump and can’t explain in words how much it would mean to me to receive the dvd!

  6. Briana

    Showing people their own light, beauty and brilliance in a photo fires me up :)

  7. Mark Salmon

    The one thing that gets me fired up is: endless possibilities or we’re only limited by our imagination…That probably two but I say its one!!

  8. Seshu

    Honestly, my clients get me jazzed. Their love of photography, of preserving a memory not for themselves but for their kids, keeps me going. That kind of responsibility to deliver the very best images to my clients gives me a rush no endorphin can.

  9. Mitch Wong Ho

    What inspires your creativity. What gets you fired up?

    A: Ordinary people with extra ordinary stories. We all have a story. That is our legacy.

  10. Erin Wilson

    There are a few things that get me fired up creatively… amazing stories which need to be told, beautiful materials that are great to work with, and being with someone who is amazing at what they do. Doesn’t matter what it is: an awesome mom parenting, a great painter painting… or a fantastic photographer making photographs.

  11. Chris Stern

    What gets me fired up are all the blog posts my twitter friends post EVERYDAY. I find new inspiration from what they post and it gives me NEW ideas of what to shoot or try.

  12. Marcin Retecki

    My creativity is inspired by all arts. I am a photographer but currently I study theater, drama and modernity on the University. Not to specialize there, but to grow as an artist. Looking at other mediums opens our eyes and let’s us imagine things, that normally would feel strange or impossible within one medium.

  13. kristin

    That wedding photo in Haiti is so amazingly beautiful. Wow. I’m inspired by people around me. Even people watching is inspiring. I love to get creative ideas from music videos and movies and put my own spin on things. Jeremy is an awesome person for inspiration.. his work with help portrait is very empowering. I haven’t met him yet but some day-to-day I’ve met Mike colon and in some ways has the same humble genuine caring attitude Jeremy seems to have. They geniunely care and want to help or make a change. That to me is inspiring!

  14. Andy

    I’m inspired by people. Period. I “got into” photography through shooting nature. I enjoyed it and was terrified of taking portraits. I turned down a few chances. People thought since my birds and trees looked good I could automatically shoot good “people pictures”.

    I finally gave in with a friends four children, two of which are autistic. She said I got the best pictures of the autistic boys she had had since their birth. Wheels started turning in my head. Could I do that for other people? Having been instilled with the “strangers are just friends we haven’t met” philosophy from my dad it only seemed natural to combine my love for people with my love for photography.

    I’ve been a portrait shooter every since and couldn’t be happier with my photography. Every shoot is inspiration, but my most inspirational shoots are with those that are less fortunate (at least to the world). I’ve been fortunate to shoot some people with really great stories. I always give my very best to them, but the truth is they give far more to me.

    So that’s it. My inspiration is people and their amazing stories. We are all a culmination of our experiences. The ultimate gift is getting to share those experiences with those who have lived them.

  15. Chad Pennington

    Personal Commitment get’s me fired up, Anybody with a passion, it can be a School teacher, Gas station attendant,
    Janitor etc… If you show Personal Commitment for what you do then I’m all in. Details and Pride is the name of the game.

    That is where I get my creative Juice From.

  16. Beth

    Conversations about art with my mentor. And with my older brother.

  17. Thomas Lester

    Moments inspire me. Whether it’s a wedding, a portrait shoot, band shoot, or just my family… it’s moment that inspire me. It may be just a glimpse from one person to the other. It may be the moment that the subject connects with the camera. It may be the look of a bride’s father as he walks down the aisle and you can see in his face that he’s reliving his daughters entire life in the 45 seconds it take him to walk her to the alter.

    These are the moments that are fleeting and if not frozen in time by my shutter, is missed by most. Moments are what inspire me!

  18. doug stroud

    The smile
    The joy
    The tear
    The pain
    The giving

    That brings

    The smile
    The joy
    The tear
    The pain
    The giving

    Which makes me not want to sleep, but to push on when my eyes are burning and my heart begins to beat when that moment…. happens, and I see it and at the moment I capture it, to give it back. And then, I get to do it all over again and next time, to try and do it better.

    Jeremy inspires, I only learned of him last year when we started Help-Portrait in my area. Giving to people who not could afford to have what all of us should have, a piece of their history, a document to pass along to future generations, their own family members, their communities, our world.

    Thank you for paving some of the road that we can blaze new ones…

  19. Rudolf

    I’d have to say I’m continually blown away by nature and its beauty, I’m driven to create by creation. But what really makes me want to quit my 9-5 job is using my creativity to help bring joy to those in need and awareness to those who live in ignorance to the injustices and harsh realities people live with and in. I’m still learning just how to do that…

  20. Mistydawn Jurik

    The results keep me fired up! I love seeing a clients face when they fall in love with the art I have created! Also, I just recently had a 5yr old customer die in a car crash. The photo session I had with him where a part of every ceremony the family had to honor his life. It broke my heart to see such a young life pass. But, it is also proof that life is TOO short to procrastinate on making and capturing memories! R.I.P. Jeremiah!

  21. Geoff Heith

    What inspires and fires me up…almost anything…from nature to an old brick building with a faded sign…currently though it has been my newborn 3 month old baby boy…I look at him and see a world of possibilities I can help him achieve. So i work hard and become inspired by him so that one day he too can love what he does and find meaning in more than what he sees infront of him…but by all that is around him.

  22. Eric

    see, read, imagine, try, practice, combine, break out, evolve. That is what inspires me and fuel my strive towards improvements.

  23. Paul C

    Really, it’s everyone else doing some creative that inspires me. I always find myself hearing or seeing something on the news about someone doing something creative, and then thinking about how I’d like to photograph that person in a way that helps tell something about them. I feed off the creativity of others. I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing, as there is no shortage of creative and interesting people out there, their stories just waiting to be told.

  24. Amanda Breeden

    My creativity is inspired by stories, particularly those I feel need to be told or retold. I am at my most creative when giving voice to someone (or some cause) that might othewise not be heard.

  25. Jon Diener

    Creativity is a strange, elusive beast. I find I can be most creative when all (or most) of the mundane, worldly distractions are removed from my head and I am free to explore creative ideas. It’s tough to concentrate on creative endeavors when you’re worried about making a bill payment or how you’re going to get your yard work done during a week of rain. Those thoughts steal computer processing cycles in my brain, robbing me of the space to think creatively.

    I think of creativity and “getting fired up” as two separate components in a larger process. If you use the analogy of starting a campfire, the creativity is the gathering of wood, the stacking, the kindling, etc. – basically, making possible the conditions for a fire to start. Once that is in place, then you need a spark (getting fired up), and then everything takes off from there. Without the proper preparation, the spark does no good. Without the spark, all the preparation in the world can’t make a fire.

    Well, that’s my take anyway…

    P.S. While I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Jeremy, I’ve heard and read so much about him that I feel like I DO know him. He seems like a very gifted and giving individual. I would be proud to be even half as successful as Jeremy in my photography endeavors and as member of the human race.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of the LifeFinder DVD!

  26. Jacob Niblett

    What inspires me is knowing that there are people everywhere pushing to better themselves and if I dont push just as hard I don’t deserve to make it.

  27. Ken Savage

    I used to use Flickr or my numerous photobooks I have for inspiration. Nowadays I watch my 8 year old son wake up in the morning and see if he smiles or frowns or just wants to start reading in bed. I use his early morning fresh reaction to dictate the mood for my photos that day. Everyday is unique. I capture it.

  28. Chris

    My personal portrait project (100portraits100days.com) is what’s currently inspiring me. The challenge of working with a different person every day to engage with them and draw out their personality in a photo is simultaneously stressful and rewarding, but it’s been a blast so far.

  29. Irwin

    What gets me most inspired and fired up is the subject that I am photographing. It’s the personality of that person, animal, or inanimate objects/nature. If it’s a person, I seek who they are deep inside, once I find the “light” of that person, it’s so easy to shoot them! With animals and objects/nature I just sit and watch and take-in everything they are doing.

  30. Louise

    I am inspired to do the absolute best I can for my portraiture clients – many who lack confidence in front of the camera and do not see themselves as attractive. There is nothing more satisfying than showing a selection of images as we go and then to see them start to relax and believe in themselves. That’s what inspires me – the thought that I can help someone to feel good about themselves and to capture that feeling forever.

  31. Chris

    Things that inspire me creatively: Dreaming big. Pushing all boundaries aside and running with a concept. Jumping first, fearing later. “Failing”. Stories of successful people/organizations.

  32. Tyler Williams

    I think all photographers get inspired when they least expect it, the trick is to being aware throughout the day so you can be ready for that next inspiration. That is how it has always been for me. However I do have a few thinks I do to keep me inspired that is more intentional. I look at art, and I watch life. When I look at art I look at all kinds, including photographs. I think Our perceptions and reflections of art create our own art. By looking at a variety of art you have no choice but to be inspired by something, and often times it is some sort of combination of pieces that brings you to your idea. When I watch life I always get inspired. To sit and think about this world, why we are in it, what motivates us, that brings so much inspiration to my heart. I want to convey the story that we are all in through my work.

  33. Moe

    Scott Adams (American Cartoonist, b.1957) once said “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” Besides that, I believe that my creativity comes from imagination, curiosity, and the pleasure of creating something unique and different.

  34. Andrew

    I can’t say that there is one thing or even a few things that get me fired up. What gets me fired up are thoughts I have about things I see, which, in turn, inspire me to create. Things I see could be a high fashion magazine ad, a look on a runway collection, an interestings means through which someone presents, or a built environment that diverts from my normal way of thinking.

  35. Tom Wehrle

    Hey Lara, I’m sitting here trying to think of what really fires me up, and to be honest…I don’t think I have an answer. I dable in music and photography trying to make ends meat…sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I don’t. As much as I love trying to take a memorable photograph, I’m not incredibly fired up about it. If I have gotten excited about it, I feel it’s normally because I’ve pressed the button at the right time, and just kinda gotten lucky. At least…that’s how it feels to me at least with my photography work. Music is a different story, haha. But what I have found to be constant between the two is that I love creating in general and trying to different things I haven’t seen or heard done before (at least to my knowledge). I never want to rest on my past accomplishments or success’s and try to just duplicate something I’ve already done…I want to push the envelope and step outside the box. It feels so much simpler for me with music cause I know it so much better then photography. Photography is like a girl to me…it’s amazing and beautiful to me, but…most the time…I just dont get it, haha. Best of luck choosing someone for this, I enjoyed the post regardless…it got me thinking :)

    • Lara

      Hi Tom! I appreciate your insight. Keep doing things – even if they are small – every day that get you fired up and they will eventually lead you to that great, clear, defined, powerful passion. You’ve already done a great thing to begin – being honest with where you are right now. Thanks for your thoughts and keep up the great work!

  36. Noa

    I’ll be corny and say my 2 year old inspires me for creativity. Being with her brings a fresh layer on everything I see. She makes me wonder over and contemplate the smallest things – tiny fingernails trailing my face when she kisses me, innocent laughter over jumping in puddles on a rainy day, delight in the tiniest of tiny ordinary moments. She makes me SEE the world again, whin in turn inspires me to look for that when I photograph.

  37. Michael Barlow

    Nothing get me more inspired than the sky, I have a thing about the sky, the light coming together with the clouds, the way it all merges together and the colours it can produce, could watch it all day. Makes me feel like anything is posible!

  38. Emilie White

    I think its not only one thing that inspires me…Its everything around me. New encounters, people, their life. Its travelling around the world and getting out of the comfort zone and realizing how many things are happening around the world at the same time…and having the chance to maybe get at least a glimpse of it. The creativity is inspired by all these moments, places…being able to meet new people, to capture something unique, create and share your vision of a pictular person, a pictular moment. My creativity is fired up by the fact that photography allows me to express myself (much better than with words!) and share it with others. It stimulates me, everyday.

  39. Jason Barthelemy

    My creativity is fired up by being around others who are creative, trusting, compassionate and genuine. I love to be in environments where I can think, create, and dream without being over criticized. Honestly, other peoples creativity inspires me to get out of my seat and offer my own creativity. I’m inspired by changed lives.

  40. Aaron Grayum

    Watching and listening to my two-year-old son has inspired me to want to change the world for him and for all the other 2 year olds out there … having the gift of being able to see the world through the eyes if a parent lets me see the potential in everybody, that everyone is someone’s child and we are all not that different. This just inspires me as a human being to want to put more GOOD out there into the world.

  41. Suellen Maia

    What a great interview. I had the opportunity to meet Jeremy a few years ago here in Brazil, even before I “met” his work. Ever since I’ve been following his wonderful work and now am trying to join Help-Portrait here this year.

    Well, I wanna try to win the dvd as well, so what inspires me?? People!
    I love nature, I love sky, absolutely love sky, but people is definitely what inspires me most. Specially kids, the way they can never stop and are ready to find out more about everything. The way they can’t fake any feeling and smile, they are always fully true. Their emotions are real. That is what inspires me most. :)

  42. ellie

    what fires me up is helping others then them being able to do the same. A lot of people have helped me get to where i am and I wanted to pay it forward as well. What also fires me up creatively is having goals and dreaming big..pushes me to go for it!!

  43. Jake~

    Creativity itself is fueled by life….I don’t want to miss anything and when my time comes, I don’t want to have any regrets. Waking each day is a gift – I don’t take for granted. I want to do things each day to make a difference & bring light to the darkness that society creates around us. Cheesy but true – I want to live today as if it were my last.

  44. shannon kelley

    What inspires me creatively? That inside yearning to be the person that God created me to be. Knowing I have a purpose in life here and just leaning in, facing the fear of letting go and just letting God do his thing. Seeing the world through His eyes, there is more beauty than hardship.

  45. Joe Joyce

    If asked this question a year ago I would not have been able to respond. In Jan 2010 I volunteered to go on medical mission to Guatemala as photographer. The assignment was to photograph surgical procedures of children from that country with birth defects and other abnormalities. Planning the trip all I thought about was the technical aspect of photographing the trip. After the trip it was about connecting with other people and cultures. Seeing facial expressions on people after showing them the back of the camera and seeing them smile was such a great feeling. I don’t speak spanish but realized that the camera and lens was the translator. I was communicating without speaking. I have mailed prints and cd’s to people that may have never had a photograph taken of them or children before. So what inspires me is reaching out, helping out and making connections with others no matter what location in the world they live. The experience has really opened my eyes to see the world so much differently. And that is what inspires me.

  46. Les Doerfler

    Inspiration comes from the world around me. A flash of color on a grey street, light reflecting from some clouds, a crooked smile on a passerby, it’s all out there ready to be captured.

    Beauty is everywhere!

  47. Erin Davenport

    Hi Lara! I’m a new follower, but I kept up with you, Emily and Gina on your MTH tour on Tumblr and THAT was truly inspiring. :) Bravo on a wonderful trip and for affecting positive change in so many people’s lives (including your own)! I am venturing into the world of wedding photography and your multiple sites are major sources of inspiration. I got SO excited when I read your two blog posts about The Breakers!? Just ask my husband! The behind-the-scenes world of the luxury wedding market is new to me but the people I saw you with in those photos, just knowing that it’s a FORCE of truly courageous and inspired individuals who lead the market gets me pumped. It gives me energy and draws me in!
    Jeremy’s LifeFinder trailer gave me goosebumps. What a wealth of information he’s sharing! I’m truly grateful and inspired by photogs who so graciously share their knowledge, it’s invaluable to me as I grow and learn.
    I am hoping/planning to Make it Happen in 2011 in either CA or CO (I’m moving to both, one after the other with my husband as he moves forward in his Air Force career)! Thanks for all you do! XO

  48. Justin Liew

    What gets me fired up is collaboration and synergy. Even though the word “synergy” is tossed around in corporate culture until it means nothing, when I’m working with people from different disciplines (models, musicians, etc) and ideas percolate that could never have happened between 2 photographers, that’s synergy. That’s what motivates me, is getting out of my comfort zone, working with people in new situations and being open to that potentially uncomfortable scenario bringing forward new and interesting ideas.

  49. Richi Thomas

    What inspires me? Witnessing stories of those who bring light to dark places. What gets me fired up? Social injustice in this world: the water crisis, sex trafficking, unequal education opportunities, etc.
    These harsh realities can be reversed by ordinary people like you and I.

  50. Erin Faye

    Wow what a great DVD!!! What inspires me? The people and world around me. I want to capture it all on my camera. Show those raw emotions or the beauty that is in our own backyard. I want to be able to make a statement with my photography, get out there and change the world!

  51. Paloma

    My inspiration comes from my illusions from my deepest dreams specially comes from love like watching people feeling and communicating with just a touch or looking at each other.
    Simple and natural beauty.

  52. Krystl

    What inspires me is the constant need to push myself to be better than I was the day before. To take note of the habits of those that inspire me and trust the voice inside that has those crazy out of nowhere ideas. The most powerful and fulfilling part of what we do is being able to capture a moment in someones life and let them hold it forever. That alone is enough to inspire me every time.

  53. Natalie

    I think the thing that really gets me fired up is that with all the creative people in the world sharing their idea with everyone, I think that we’ve only hit the tip of the “creative” iceberg.

  54. Tyler Fuller

    What gets me fired up is the client I’m working for. I love taking pictures, but doing a good job and seeing the joy on the clients face when they see the final product is what makes it all worth while and what drives me to shoot more and get better and more creative for the next time. It also gives me an outlet to redirect any praise I get back to Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior, because without Him I am nothing and any talents or success that are of me come directly from Him. And is something worth getting fired up about, sharing Christ and His amazing love with anyone who will listen.

  55. Amanda Martinez

    Seeing beauty in the world around me and knowing that I have an opportunity to share it with people everywhere. We live in such a busy society and people tend to walk past the simple treasures with haste and disdain. I want to change that. I want to remind people to smile, to dream, to hope, to breathe. I think that’s what photography and design is all about—catching the moments that will remind people to treasure life. That motivates me like no other!

  56. Vejune M.

    I think I find a little bit of inspiration everyday and every minute. In everyone that is around me, in the things that I do..
    I believe that all we have to do is to be open and willing to see that. Every crazy idea has the potential to become a great one, every single person that we meet can teach us.
    From time to time, when I feel like I just wasted a day of my life, I almost start panicking. After panic, comes inspiration to live to the fullest and create something that matters.
    So, basically life itself is my inspiration :)

  57. Austin Simmons

    I have found my inspiration in the small mannerisms of the city:

    The middle aged white women that always talks to her passengers on the city bus on weeknights after 5. The thick aged hardwood floors in my favorite coffee shop. The old train tracks that seem to catch your feet as you walk down them at night. The chirping of the electronic birds as you walk across the intersections.

    Im developing a love for the camera. Its ability to capture something more than just a scene. a language that allows for story telling, emotion, and character. I find that the more I fall in love with the city of Raleigh, the more intimate I become with capturing it through the lense of my camera. Thankful for inspiration_excited for opportunities to grow as a photographer!

  58. Inaki

    It´s easy to find inspiration everywhere. walking around, on the internet, tv…written stories inspire me, books. They excite my imagination.

  59. Wendy Twit

    There is a Sara Groves song called “Add to The Beauty” that I love. It talks about “adding to the beauty around us and telling a better story”. I got into photography a few years ago because people kept telling me that I captured something beautiful. In a world full of so much heartache and sorrow, the thought of capturing something beautiful in someone else was so exciting to me. I decided that I would add my voice and try to capture the beauty in everyone I meet. There is so much beauty in a person and sometimes we need others to hold a mirror up to remind us. Jeremy inspires me to continue to look for the hope in the middle of the heartache. I photographed some orphans in El Salvador in March and I was amazed at the joy in their eyes. They do not have a family and have endured so much loss and heartache, but hope still remains in their eyes. Those children have inspired me to tell a better story. I took their picture and printed it out and handed it to them. They may not have a mom or dad to tuck them in at night, but now above their bed they have a picture of that joy in their eyes. That moment captured where they were reminded that they are loved that speaks to the sadness in their life…telling them they are beautiful. Even though no one else is saying those words. A better story.

  60. Danny Mendoza

    The simple forms of RAW emotion…

  61. Leigh Anna Thompson

    My husband gets me fired up! haha! No, seriously…he inspires me with his outlook on life and desire to live life differently. Three years ago, we walked away from everything…full time jobs, a house, money, and went back to school to live our dream. I would have never gotten to where I am today if it were not for his vision of where we could go in life.

  62. Crystal

    Years ago, I survived a terrible tragedy, that could have caused me to give up on everything. But instead I found hope, and hope inspired me. It inspired me to live big, dream big, take big risks, and love big. I was challenged to see beauty even when beauty was veiled at times. I’ve spent a significant time overseas and have seen amazing devastation and brokenness, but even more amazing hope through people and their stories. Each story a victory, a triumph and a reason to carry on. Each story a reason to create. Stories are all around us, in people who have nothing and who everything, in a sunset, in a celebration, in art created by others, in music, in literature. It’s everywhere, and I cannot let the tales go untold, I am inspired to create and share, especially with my first child; this child growing in my womb. I want to share life and the world with this little one, so he/she can be inspired to create just the same, regardless of what life may throw at them!

  63. Cameron

    Play. Creativity is play, so I keep my eyes open as I go through life and play with the ideas, concepts and visuals that come my way along the way.

  64. Kim

    Criticism. Negative AND positive feedback gets me fired up. There is always someone out there using the same tools, that share the same creative ideas, that are doing it smarter because they want it more. Criticism only makes you a better artist.

    Criticism fuels the creative mind. It stimulates your body in a way looking at a perfectly lit photograph does, or in the way one captures that timeless expression. It generates this competitive vibe and helps you produce the best work you, as an artist, is capable of.

    The beauty in being a professional, is knowing you have room to grow, and understanding the power of listening and learning.

    This mentality fires me up. I live by this quote: “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” -Henry Ford.

  65. Ryan

    Honestly, when I was younger I always seem to be inspired. Some new idea, or something new I learned. There seemed to be ‘magic’ in everything. I’m sure you know the feeling. Then as I got older I felt the pressure to do what was expected.. mainly go to school and get a job. I did that. I have a pretty good ‘corporate career’ but it just isn’t cutting it. I try to find balance, but there just isn’t. Every day it seems I’m trying to figure out how I can turn my creative instincts /output into a sustainable living. So now inspiration comes and goes in little spurts. I think what keeps me going is learning something new, seeing other people achieve their success, and just that little voice inside that says ‘keep going’. I feel like I get a taste of it every now and then. So as intriguing as the photography behind the scenes stuff would be in the video what really struck out to me is where Jeremy said above “I get so sad when I see people investing 8-10 hours a day into something they’re not interested in. I was there once too. But I took the risk. I jumped. And I’ve never regretted it for one second. “ – That’s my inspiration for today.

  66. shane

    i am inspired typically by four different things. usually the music that i am listening to, beauty seen in nature, strong emotional responses to situations in my life, and other creators.

  67. Christoph Spiegl

    I would say it is the nature.
    The people around me.
    The photos I see!

    You are surrounded by creativity: you just need to capture it.

  68. joar andre

    winter is special to me. i live in the arctic. winters here are dark and cold. the sun does not rise for two months… yet there is light! wandering between snow covered trees late at night with northern lights dancing above, this moves me. it touches something deep within me. it inspires my creativity. like nothing i have ever experienced before. it lights a fire in me.

  69. Michael Sampson

    My Creativity comes from ideas I have seen around. It also comes from having the chance to bounce ideas off of my friend who is a great photographer. I can present him with my ideas and thoughts and he will help me narrow them down to something that is possible. I also get my Creativity from following professional photographers. I see what they do and try to mimic first then try to add my twist.

  70. Jen May Pastores

    Hi Lara! I wish I could’ve joined you at your recent MTH workshop. Congrats on inspiring so many folks!

    What I’ve come to discover is that during the low seasons of my life I’m more fired up most about my creativity. Currently, I’m believing for a huge rescue, and perhaps a start-over, for my career. It really is a sort-of battle to pursue the things you love the most with financial challenges. For the past five years I’ve been blessed to do what I love, but everything that I’ve been working hard for is collapsing. Even my only camera is gone and there’s no telling when I can’t afford a new one. I know there’s a reason for all of this, and that only better things lie ahead. It’s because of this hope that I’m stirred up in my place of hardship to run this race like the underdog. It’s been the toughest year for me, in all circumstances, but my creativity has never been so nurtured and pushed before.

    I almost forgot that this is just a comment for a chance to win Jeremy’s DVD. I guess I’m grateful to share my hard times, because I can one day look back and see how I’ve endured. Thanks for being an inspiration yourself, Lara!

    Hoping to join you for a MTH workshop in the future,
    Jen May

    • Lara

      Hi Jen! Thanks for your thoughts here and your authenticity. Yes, we are about to announce MTH2011! I would love to see you there!

  71. Jen May Pastores

    Hi Lara! I wish I could’ve joined you at your recent MTH workshop. Congrats on inspiring so many folks!

    What I’ve come to discover is that during the low seasons of my life I’m more fired up most about my creativity. Currently, I’m believing for a huge rescue, and perhaps a start-over, for my career. It really is a sort-of battle to pursue the things you love the most with financial challenges. For the past five years I’ve been blessed to do what I love, but everything that I’ve been working hard for is collapsing. Even my only camera is gone and there’s no telling when I can’t afford a new one. I know there’s a reason for all of this, and that only better things lie ahead. It’s because of this hope that I’m stirred up in my place of hardship to run this race like the underdog. It’s been the toughest year for me, in all circumstances, but my creativity has never been so nurtured and pushed before.

    I almost forgot that this is just a comment for a chance to win Jeremy’s DVD. I guess I’m grateful to share my hard times, because I can one day look back and see how I’ve endured. Thanks for being an inspiration yourself, Lara!

    Hoping to join you for a MTH workshop in the future,
    Jen May

    P.S. Not sure if this went through the first time since my screen froze. I apologize if did!

  72. Austin

    Community insures me. Spending tilme with people I know and love always triggers something in my mind. Not that I’m the most visionary by aaaany means. But still. Thank goodness for evernote.

  73. Annie

    I’m inspired by people, nature, music, art, faith, feelings, dreams – everything that makes life with all its good and bad, funny and sad, amazing and awful facets so rich, colourful, so fascinating and so worthwile!

  74. Paris Carter

    I am inspired by God because I think there is a purpose behind everyone’s work.
    I am creative when I am transparent. When I close my eyes and think about creating, I tend to reflect on emotions, whether they are from my personal experiences, or of those from people I encounter.
    I am driven by adversity and obstacles- I find them empowering.
    I genuinely love people- all of us, good and ‘bad’. I love to connect and get intimate and draw inspiration from any way that people touch my life.
    I am passionate, not by choice.
    I love to create to show people a perspective of themselves that they may have never known exists. And most of all, the innocence of children drives me to approach my work with that same sense of naaive being and love.

  75. Jeremey Riopelle

    PASSIONATE PEOPLE!!! Nothing inspires me more than talking with someone who LOVES what they do! My buddy Bill has an overwhelming love for helping people. My friend Chris loves the people of Zambia! He is over there about 3 times a year and usually comes back exhausted and incredibly sick, but all he can talk about are all the smiling faces. This last time they gave away 40 wheel chairs to people who either had spent their entire lives crawling around the village or who had never even been outside there own home! Wow what do I have to complain about!!! I completely what Jeremy meant about pursuing passion! I think it is every person’s purpose in life to find what God made them for, and then to pursue that thing with single minded determination! We can wallow through life day in day out, buying our designer coffees meeting the status quo, or we can rise up and live powerfully and passionately! The only we ever make a difference is by living to the full extent of who we were made to be!!!

  76. aileen

    selflessness in others.

    short.sweet.simple.

  77. Chelsey

    Heck, it’s not pretty or glamorous, but I am inspired by my children and the community surrounding baby #3 as we push toward bringing our family together, while our baby patiently waits for us in Ethiopia. I am in awe of the human spirit and that, is an inspirational thing.

  78. Zachary Long

    Just like this posts talks about, the things that inspire me are the people around me and also what I consume for entertainment (ie. blogs & books). My wife is my constant source of encouragement to succeed in business and build out our photography, and with a baby on the way it feels like the switch was finally turned on in my head that I need to not just succeed but to excel for the sake of the family. How you choose to spend your free time also defines who you are. Reading upbeat and positive books and blog posts to inspire me to continue learning and growing as a person and as a photographer is a source of my own inspiration to challenge myself and improve.

  79. jeremy allen

    COMMUNITY! People sharing life together. Being honest and transparent in joy and suffering. Loving one-another. Caring for one-another. Sharing with one-another. Challenging one-another. Pointing one-another to God’s redemptive grace and where we fit into God’s EPIC story rather than just being content as authors of our own little story. Serving the community together. And capturing those moments & images and sharing them to inspire others to rich, deep, meaningful community!

  80. Gamaliel Rios

    I’m thankful for a lot of things, but specially for

    - The life that I have, it’s not glamorous, I don’t have money (actual “savings” $3.51, yeah that’s wright…!!!) my photo business sucks big time, I don’t have a photo shoot since September, I don’t have money for presents this year, it has been lots of pressure since in top of that I’m a newlywed. BUT I’m really grateful because I have the love of my wife, my family & friends & I have one of the most satisfying charity of all, I just finished a beautiful “Wanna live” series of boy with cancer & another with “Homeless Families”, just beautiful to see how different they see life when they see how they look, as one subject said “I didn’t know how beautiful life can be because of how immerse I’m in my situation, this gave me hope” THAT’S LIFE, when you can give to other & your own heart fills with REAL life. I’m not even average money wise, I’m filled with questions on how tomorrow will be, but as far as I have something to give I’m LIVING…!!!

  81. Kyle

    What inspires me is the talent of other people and the way they utilize it.

  82. Paul G

    Inspiring others is my inspiration. To see others be moved to life and living is the greatest thing we can do to leave the world a better place. Others pouring out on others pouring out to even more….that idea motivates me to pursuit the telling of every story I can as beautifully as it truly is.

  83. Leslee Mitchell

    Henry Clarke’s vintage Vogue work.

  84. Lee Love

    PEOPLE
    People inspire me. Not just other artist but common everyday people I meet in my daily life. If I take the time to listen, watch and engage I find that there is creativity and passion all around me and this inspires me to capture that passion through my photography.

  85. Dijea

    Inspiration comes in all shapes, sizes and formats. Sometimes inspiration comes from my children, sometimes my husband, sometimes by the music playing in my ear. Sometimes it is the shape of a cloud, a quote I hear on a playground. Inspiration surrounds me everyday, in so many ways, the important part of it is opening your eyes, ears and heart to what is around you.

    I guess LIFE is the ultimate inspiration.

  86. PatBWright

    My personal motto is “living is making your passion your purpose.” What I am most passionate about is bringing beauty into the world. Not just in my images, but in how interact with my world and the people in it; in everything I do I want to work to leave the world better than how I found it. There’s a lot of people who spend a lot of time taking away from the world. What if people were inspired to change it for the better? What gets me fired up? Simple, doing my part to make this world something worth believing in.

  87. gabe s

    What gets me fired up is seeing somebodys face light up when you show them an amazing picture you just took of them. Seeing that light in their eyes that just says “wow, thats a side of myself ive never seen” thats what fires me up, gets me motivated. That and my kids saying “dad, take a picture”

  88. Lindsay Hess

    My creativity is inspired by the world around me, I love wandering my city and finding new places to shoot and also by my fellow photographers, I love seeing how much people can accomplish!

  89. Emily A

    I seem to find new things inspiring. I love traveling and am in a constant state of wonder upon discovering a new place. I am simply amazed by the world, by human companionship (or otherwise), children, innovators and their ideas, the future… Wonder is my key.

  90. cody

    what inpsires my creativity? well everything around me: the people. books, tv, movies, music, nature, my day to day life, my mom, my family, holidays, and just stuff like that :)

  91. Zach Gray

    What inspires me most is the Creator himself. The lord has allowed us to do so many amazing things and He is the reason that we have everything that we have. I know it’s supposed to be one, but I have to pick two! My wife, Jody is my other inspiration! She has given sooooo much by loving me inspite of my faults and she has made our job an absolute blast! Love you baby!!

    -Zach

  92. Jonnathan W

    My inspiration is pulled from a wide variety of elements in life. It can be something as simple as the stare of the child and the wonder of what they are seeing… Inspiration often hits me in the “in between” moments of life. However, it’s the impulse to create and the feeling that I have to get the idea out to feel okay again that relentlessly drives me to create my vision.

  93. Josh

    My creativity is fueled by other types of art such as architecture, abstract painting and it’s also fueled by conversations I have with friends and family. I’d have to say it’s not anyone thing, but the sum of alot of different things that fuels me.

  94. Merissa Daborn

    I think that hands down, most of my current inspiration is coming from other artists who are truly doing everything in their power to tell stories that they think are important for others to see.

  95. Nate Croft

    The successes and joys of others inspires me to create my own. I love to see people happy and cared for. If I am creative and successful, I can better help those around me.

  96. Doug

    Fear. Fear that I won’t get better. Fear that I’ll have to get a “real” job. Fear that my images will never amount to anything. That’s why I push myself. That’s why “good enough” never is.

    It’s like going to the gym. A bit of a cliche analogy coming, but it works.

    At the gym, there’s always someone looking at you thinking “I wish”. “I wish I had arms like….” “If I could only have a stomach like…”

    Eve the most fit person there is thinking this. Making images is like this. It’s a continual chase for the elusive “better” – and the most rewarding part is if you’re truly driven, you’ll never arrive.

  97. Jim Josef

    My inspiration is simple, I’m created in the image of God, and with that have the full license and blessing to be as creative as HE is. After all, the reason we were created and mandated to cultivate the earth is the bring Glory to God…So what inspires me? To bring God all the Glory for all His worth for all I create…So I can Enjoy Him forever!

  98. Heather

    My inspiration comes from trying to capture memories. A scene looks one way in reality, and a whole different way in a person’s mind and memories. In the best memories, flaws don’t exist and only the most beautiful parts of a person or scene live on. I try to create images that minimize flaws as much as possible and let the beauty shine through – just the way someone will remember that scene years down the road.

  99. Chris

    Im inspired by the simple things in life, details that make us do what we do. Details that distinguish us from one another.

  100. Krista

    lately … POSSIBILITY is what get’s me inspired and fired up … the pondering on “what could be” if only i take a step. wow. just imagine?!

  101. Rachel

    What gets me fired up is when a person that says they’re not photogenic comes to me and says one of my images made them feel beautiful, handsome or valued. Because every person has a spark and it’s the job of a photograph to bring it out and show them how awesome they really are. That’s what inspires my photography.

  102. jeanne

    Im am always inspired creatively by other artists. Also at the risk of sounding a bit cliche, I am inspired by all of God’s creation. I am blessed, I live on what used to be a farm and its 50 acres of beauty!

  103. Nicole Delaney

    I’m inspired by artists that have something unique and amazing to contribute to the photographic community. I love seeing the process that others go through and hearing the story of their own journey.

  104. Dana E

    I get fired up by living life! I love helping those around me have fun and succeed at living life! We are all so blessed and it’s awesome to remember to count your blessings. Living out my dreams also fires me up. I know that I’m a small piece of a larger world, but I know that living out my dreams inspires others to do the same and that’s just pretty darn awesome!!!

  105. Deb Peluso

    Oh my gosh, this post was awesome! I am so inspired by hearing artist’s stories of where they came from and how they got to where they are today. The consistent key to success seems to be passion, faith and perseverance! What an inspiration post, Jeremy really seems amazing, thanks for sharing him with us!

  106. Linnea

    I am inspired by the potential I have to be my best! I am inspired by other people’s work and seeing them succeed. I am also driven to bring the vision for my life into reality and create the life I want for myself! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  107. Geoff Wood

    Collaboration with my community inspires me. Watching friends take risks, successful or not, inspires me to take my own risks. And my beautiful wife and hilarious daughter inspire me to be a better man of God. I’ll fall short on this one plenty of times but knowing my family and close friends will be picking me is incredibly inspiring.

  108. Casey Harvilla

    Happiness inspires me creatively. I often find inspiration in music – listening to the lyrics of other artists. I am especially inspired by live music and actively being involved in the pure happiness the musician is experiencing. I take that happiness home with me, whether it means journaling, blogging, sketching, painting, etc. I am also an art student, finding inspiration to continue from my personal mantra that happiness brings success.

  109. Julianna Koh

    Life.

    Being alive, healthy and able to live life to the fullest.

  110. Shane

    Seems like a million things inspire me and that those things evolve over time. Music, writing, a great photograph, seeing children play, when I get excited about something I have to have my camera involved, seeing people around me get inspired. Sometimes I’m inspired by stories of success because I want to be like someone, sometimes I’m inspired by stories of tragedy because I want to help or because I can see so clearly how to bring positive change. Knowing I’m going to learn something.

  111. Bill Van Loo

    I get fired up by lots of things. Pre-visualizing a photo and then trying to nail it is one big one. Another is giving back to people or the community, which is why I am so excited about Help-Portrait.

  112. Travis Hinkle

    Hey Lara,

    Many things inspire me. Every day people and events-life is always moving…changing and a still photograph captures it in a way nothing else can. On the flipside, films inspire me both from a visually creative standpoint as well as telling the story. I’m challenging myself more to not just take a photo but to tell a good story with it. A story that engages the viewer in an emotional way. God’s creation is full of beauty, but things have been damaged and sometimes we don’t see certain things as beautiful, but when it was created it was called “good” and I want to try and view the world through that lens.

  113. Kathy Winter

    Family inspires me. I lost both parents to cancer within the past 5 years. Mom never wanted to be in photos, so we have very few photos of her. My father passed away a few weeks ago. In looking for photos for a memorial presentation, we found very few photos that included me with the family. For the most part, it was due to the fact I was the one behind the camera. While sad, it has inspired me to get into the frame…whether it means handing the camera over to someone else or setting up the tripod and self-timer. I did the latter on Thanksgiving with my siblings, husband and daughter. I’ll bet that’s the first photo of all of us together in many, many years, but certainly not the last.

  114. MitchellB

    Without a doubt, my inspiration and creativity comes from the original Creator, God. Ultimately everything I love to shoot or design comes from Him, whether it be people, animals, nature, and so on.
    My best work is inspired by the things I look at in life, he created it all from scratch and from nothing- what an amazing creative mind he must have.

  115. brooke

    everything. the most simple things with a twist of new perspective. most art we love is 98% what we already know with a 2% twist. fresh perspective has a way of surgically opening our souls and pulling on the inner part that says, ‘you were made to do this, now do it..’. it’s that calling that pushes away the fear because we know we’d die if we didn’t. for some of us, it’s a physical need. like pregnancy, it’s life inside until it can no longer be contained; birthed forth through a process of much pain, but even more love.

  116. Gregory Ackland

    I’m most inspired in the quiet moments of life. Most often
    I will find new ideas while in the shower simply daydreaming. But there’s nothing quite like clearing my head with strenuous exercise – a favourite is
    riding my bike through the forests and bushland surrounding our city,
    then discussing ideas and artists’ works with my colleagues.

  117. KellyW

    Being outside brings out my creativity. Wandering and wondering in the natural world reminds me of my place, a little speck in a vast beauty.

  118. Prajwol

    Smiling faces that people make and share without showing their pain makes me inspired.the happiness they share and little joy in hardships is what gets in going.

  119. Frances

    God inspires me. After all he gave me the gift:)Inspirations come from all place for me. God’s light and creations are what fire me up. How to use them for him inspire my creativity. He also led me to your help portrait website. I have been praying for God to show me how to use my gift to bring honor and glory to him. So at this moment in time you and your work inspire me. I love the work you have done to bring a name to the faces of Africa, Haiti and the Passion tour. I think God has used your work and Heart to continue to be inspired to help others with the gifts he has give me. Thanks for sharing your Gifts with all of us.

  120. N Maxwell lander

    Inspiration for me comes from vulnerability. As a photographer of people, I (/we) are entrusted with peoples image, peoples story. Even if it only a part of the whole image or a part of the story, our subject are giving over a part of themselves. My most inspired moments come when that melding of rawness (openness, vulnerability, exposure, etc…) and art collide. Vulnerability, trust, and connection. It even applies to press work, when I witness that in another photograph, or another film, I crave creation. 

  121. Brian

    Seeing the work of other creatives inspires and moves me to find beauty. Injustices inspire me to use my gifts to motivate change.

  122. jen

    i’ve found- very recently- that embracing the not-so-pretty parts of my life is what fires me up the most. i am an over-sharer, an over-apologizer, definitely a nagging wife, i am narcissistic, i talk too much & too quickly, i am passionate to the point of obsession, my head is usually ‘in the clouds,’ i have road-rage, i sleep in until noon almost every time i have a day off, i don’t call my family enough, i am super forgetful, i respond to my client’s questions in song (oops), i wear the same jeans 5x a week, i have a potty mouth ( even my grandma knows this, but i try not to when children are present!), i am intense & can be exhausting to be around, i am a horrible cook, and have just about zero fashion sense. but… all of those things are beginning to be fine with me! realizing that i can live unapologetically, and that i don’t have to be the valedictorian of every single facet of my life fires me up in a huge way. the truer i have been to myself, the more the creativity has flown.
    much love,
    -j

  123. Rob Moffitt

    I find inspiration in the creatives before me, the creatives I see now and hopefully, just maybe, in the chance that I could inspire others.

  124. Jeremy Ellsworth

    This is such a tough question. I actually asked it not that long ago on my Facebook page but did not get any answers. Many things inspire my creativity. Seeing others being creative, a beautiful sunrise/sunset, my wifes smile, silly ideas that wake me up at night, difficult decisions, compassion, the list could probably go on forever. However, ultimatley my creative inspiration comes from Jesus. He blessed me with my talents and continues provide inspiration with His creativity.
    Thanks for the opportunity to learn more about how Jeremy does his thing.
    Let your smile and your joy be contagious!
    Jeremy Ellsworth

  125. Laura Reaux

    I’m going to be sick. I already typed my entire comment & then closed it on my iPhone! Ha!

    People like Jeremy & people like you inspire me. I really mean it. Otherwise, what doesn’t inspire me? It can be almost anything from a new place, music, my kids laughing, music, and the list goes as far as God’s creation.

  126. Amy

    I get fired up when I find something I’m passionate about. I have found I’m only willing to fully commit myself to doing my best in my work when it’s something I care about. You only take good pictures when you care about what you’re doing. You only paint well when you really want it to turn out well. The most important thing to remember is to work through those roadblocks of lack of creativity so you can more fully enjoy those moments of profound success.

  127. Takki

    The soul longs for quietness, simplicity and beauty.
    I need a place where I connect with the creator. Being quiet and opening up my soul is my starting point for being inspired to create something really unique.

  128. Katherine Henry

    My creativity starts with the smallest of details and just snowballs from there. It can be a smile, a hug, 2 hands holding each other, or even a tear.

  129. Marcello Aquino

    I love going to Junkyards, seeing usable potential on broken and abandoned objects really inspires me!

  130. Josh

    What inspires me is waking up next to a loving wife who desires more than anything for us to both be doing something we love….then when I hear on the sound monitor in our room our almost 2yr old start talking and asking for us I realize they are what inspires me…God has made this world such a beautiful place and put these 2 wonderful ladies in my life! I want to be with them as much as I can and no matter what’s going on around me I remember Him & how these 2 make me inspired everyday!

  131. Carl Spring

    What fires me up is the possibility. That the next time I shoot, I could get the shot. The one that I will forever be trying to beat, until the next one comes along. The possibility that my one shot could be my big break, or my biggest failure, just that it could be. Until I start I never know if it will be a victory or a defeat, a win or a loss.

    I know that possibility will be there due to my family allowing it, due to my wife’s love and understanding. The possibility I will capture a shot of her she likes. The possibility my Father will finally allow me shoot his portrait and not just stare and admit “I hate having my photo take.

    Anything is possible when I pick up a camera, and that ability to make a masterpiece or a mess will forever keep me fired up.

  132. rachael schirano

    what really gets me fired up is pretty simple…just geting out there, exploring, engaging with the world. i have a tendency to withdraw into a shell if i sit still for too long, chasing my thoughts in circles until i am exhausted. but if i break that cycle and do something out of my ordinary, i find that the fire comes roaring back to life.

  133. Jamie Boler

    I believe that having the opportunity to observe someone pursue what they are passionate about with every ounce of energy they have is what fires me up. Fortunatley i get to observe that everyday, my wife and I own a Photography and Visual Art Studio and everyday i get to witness an emotional pursuit of a dream. To give everything you have everyday, thats inspiring. I can only hope that she looks at me and thinks the same thing.

  134. Matt Daugherty

    What inspires me? Seeing the human desire, focus, and spirit from within my lens.

  135. Katie Willmann

    Nothing fires me up like the feedback I get from my customers after they view their wedding pictures. To be able to capture someone’s important day in a series of images that convey the emotions they were feeling at an exact moment….. That’s something to be passionate about. And in the mornings….. coffee fires me up!

  136. Ken

    Surprisingly some of my best inspiration come from the low points in my life. Finding the joy and happiness of life again with my camera, be it a portrait or a landscape, channels those feelings back to me.

  137. Jenna H

    Inspiration is so hard to come by sometimes, and even harder to act upon. It’s a daunting thing to try and make a vision come to life. My fleeting moments of inspiration…whether they come from a client, a magazine, a daydream, or a drive down the road…get written down into a notebook, so that I can revisit my ideas and hopefully see them come to life, no matter how hard it might seem. I’ve set a personal goal for the next year to act upon my moments of inspiration more regularly, and to create just because I want to, and not because some one is paying me. I think the results of those creations will be the inspiration I need to be fired up about creating more.

  138. Brian Rodgers Jr.

    What gets me fired up? Peoples stories. The stories of persistence, determination, and resilience. The stories that keep you believing you can make your dreams a reality, even if the odds are against you. People like jeremy cowart who despite having 22,000 followers on twitter, can still take time out of his busy day to respond to something you said and acknowledge your existence. That day job that you hate going to everyday, you know, the one that makes you work even harder to make a living in photography your real job. Those hours of kelby training and creative live that you dream about teaching someday. That inspiration that Zack Arias brings through my ipod and into my headphones via the OneLight Workshop when I’m on my breaks at work. The first Scott Kelby book that I ever bought; reigniting my fire for photoshop with his CS3 7 Point System (The book that taught me more about Photoshop than my college degree ever did). My buddy scott, who let me be his his assistant when shooting multi-million dollar mansions in Naperville, Illinois; an experience that I will never forget and always learn from. The weather, in those moments of perfect serenity, the temperature is just right, the wind is gently blowing and closing your eyes in those moments and image that to be what heaven is like. Those people who hate you in high school, finally grow up apologize and ask you to shoot their wedding. The people who believe in you and what you do. On the contrary the people who see that amazing photo in the back of your LCD screen and say, wow that camera takes nice pictures ;) I know there are a lot of entries here. But I really really really want this DVD. I was unable to watch the creative live classes due to being at my day job. This year has been rough for me and my family. Lifefinder DVD would truly make my year! Thanks for letting me post my thoughts on your blog! I will definitely book mark it as well :)

  139. Lisa B

    The thing or things that get me fired up are life-stories. I love to hear a persons story… what got them to this point, how did they get here. Couple that with some amazing music and it’s a done deal for me.

  140. Thad Lawrence

    It’s indescribable. Words will never be able to capture the intensity and amazingness that life provides us. Every moment in life has something to offer to our vision of what we want to make of our time here. “Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.” – DaVinci Everything I create, I want it to mean something. Either to me, a client, or a stranger. The spirit and energy of the people I am working with help build the creation at hand. I am nothing without those around me; Those who help me, teach me, inspire me, love me, and hate me. No matter how I think something should work out creatively, I know it will be what it will be. Success or failure… Creativity is the essence of life and our survival of it.

  141. Rafa

    The happiness of knowing that with a photograph I can move others hearts, inspire people and in a way communicate my feelings, my emotions, my personality to others, through a pictures or a series of pictures. We are unique and that’s the difference from each other, that’s is our gold mine.

  142. Dan S

    I’ve heard it said before that genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. Do I believe that? In a sense that relentlessness and perseverance usually pay off, maybe… But not everyone has to be a genius to inspire. As a matter of a fact, it seems as though those who truly inspire others the most have a very “average” quality about them; and by average, I mean in his or her ability to relate to and connect with a wide variety of people. For some reason, the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the depressed and the elated, can all connect with this individual’s intensive and genuinely personified style of communication. For these reasons, I am sincerely inspired by not only Jeremy’s work, but by the way he some how humbly and naturally encourages others to expand their own abilities… his work is truly dynamic, not only in a technical manner, but also in a way that expresses the emotional trials of humanity. So, what truly inspires me? The ability to motivate, communicate, and inspire people to love something just as much as the creator does. The last couple of years in my life have yielded an extreme hunger to be able to help inspire others through ministry and the arts… However, I believe that Jeremy’s DVD transcends art in itself. Brilliant photography is only the genesis of his true mission to connect with people. I would be honored to learn more about how Jeremy has shaped his talents to become not only a great artist, but also a humble humanitarian with a voice that is now heard internationally.

  143. Christina Sandberg

    I find I am inspired most by the small things in life… a simple touch on the hand between my grandparents… the way my nephew lights up when I enter the room… my husband’s laughter. For me it’s the small things in life that I remember most. When photographing families and weddings, I look for the small things… the details… the looks… the shy glances.. the spontaneous laughter. It’s the small things I want to remember. I strive to give those moments to those I photograph.

  144. Cory Chuchna

    I get fired up when I take photos of things that people see every day. Often I hear you know I did not even take time to notice that. Causing them to take time and enjoy that moment.

  145. Daniel Chee

    God brings perpetual novelty into our lives (within our own time), and keeps us in touch with everything true and fantastical within each thought and memory. This inspires me.

  146. JESSICA@DOSSIE-A

    What gets me fired up?! This new wave of information being shared from a core group of people in the photography industry.
    I’ve been a graphic designer for several years now, starting my own design studio about a year ago. I originally created a concept that was what I thought the industry wanted to see. I was afraid to step out and make it my own – afraid people wouldn’t take me seriously or think I wasn’t ‘professional’ enough.
    Trying to live up to a made up standard in my own head made me feel inferior, like I would never be successful, plus I always felt unattached in some way – perhaps maybe the lack of it being ‘me’, who I really am or what I wanted my business to be?!
    Then I discovered this new wave of information being served up, for free (amazing, in and of itself) and without agenda!
    I just can’t say it enough – I’m so inspired by what I’m seeing in the (photography) business!! I see a core group of people modeling to EVERYONE – insert originality and OWN IT!! HELLO!! but then take what you know and spread it for good – like a virus, make things happen, change the worlds view.
    I get fired up when I think about it. I’m renewed, invigorated, and proud to be in such a time as this!!
    Through this last month or so that I’ve been fully emerged, I’ve learned to reclaim me, picking my camera back up (after many years and a previous failed attempt at greatness) and believing in the skills God has provided me. With these people as examples, I WILL do great things!
    It makes me so excited for the future …

  147. Caitlin Denman

    Trends, clothes, places all grow familiar and stale, but people are always the constant change. Buildings,landscapes and perceptions will change, but humanity in all forms is here to stay. What will be your inspiration after shooting 600 headshots or 400 weddings if not the people and their stories. Each person offers a unique expression and feeling that jump starts my creative drive and pushes me to search for what makes each person and therefore shot unique.

  148. Philip Bowser

    What gets me fired up? Being in new places meeting interesting people. I see my grandkids looking at the world for the first time and how much fun that is for them – I guess I’m trying to recapture that by getting out of my same old/same old.

  149. john

    people who give. no matter what the avenue – photogs like jeremy, kids selling lemonade to raise funds for cancer, football players who give their time for homless people, these people inspire me. I’m lucky, I have my health, a good job, great kids, yet there is always time to help someone stand taller or smile brighter. Everytime I come across a lifefinder I am reminded that everyone can help.

  150. Jillian Mitchell

    What gets me fired up… Well I’m watching Jeremy now do is Creative Live workshop and it’s pretty damn cool to see a phenomenal photographer who is so down to earth letting us in on his secrets. I guess that’s what gets me fired up. Besides shooting of course. To be able to see someone who is so good at what he does behind the scenes. To see his thought process and how he comes up with the incredible images he seems to pull out of nowhere. On top of that he uses his photography for good (Help Portrait) and not just evil (purely making money). As someone who also works for a non-profit in a small town in Mexico it is very inspiring to see a photographer as big as he is giving back. I guess that too gets me fired up. Giving back. Keep up the awesome work Lara.

  151. Brian Wagner

    Great question?

    I think the biggest thing that inspires me is other photographer. Nothing fuels my creative juices more than talking with other people about photography. Reading the blog and keeping up with the pros are a great resource and give us something to discuss.

    Talking with other people allows us to share ideas, teach each other, solve problems. If you’re doing it alone it isn’t fun. If you have someone to share the experience with it makes it more interesting and a lot more fun.

    Getting the chance to shoot with other people is just as helpful. If you can watch other people do their thing you can learn new things or get ideas for other projects.

    We’re not in this alone and the best thing about being a photographer is that it is truly a community. People from all over the world come together online each day to share, learn, and have fun.

  152. Shannon Bullock

    What gets me Fired Up is seeing the Essence of someone I photograph in the picture I take. I enjoy seeing someone as they see themselves whether as a fun loving family, a cook, a grandmother, a single free spirit or a widow. I love being able to capture who they really are and how they really feel at that very moment I am there. But I also love being able to capture someone in a photograph as the way I see them and how they do not see themselves yet. Some people do not know how beautiful they are and when I photograph someone I love to see their smile when they see their beauty from within shines in a photograph. It fires me up to capture a moment frozen in time forever whether it be a birth, death, the beginning or ending of something great, a moment of peace or pure disaster. It fires me up every time I click the shutter on my camera and capture what will now be a memory in history for someone to look back at one day and have a memory of something that happened in their lifetime.

  153. Leona Morelock

    Hey Lara:

    People inspire me. Creative people. Creative work. When I’m having a bad day I love to go to Barnes and Noble and just get lost in magazines. Wedding magazines primarily and see the talented work of others. And the joy that it brings.

    Leona

  154. David Ruiz

    Family and their stories inspire me. Especially my grandparents. Being able to visualize what they’re saying makes me want to be able to show and tell other people’s stories. Whether it be in a wedding, editorial piece, or regular portrait session. Hearing people speak and tell stories gets my mind grapes juicing!

  155. Jeanette

    Creative people inspire me… I love how Art provokes Art and in turn I am truly happy when I am being creative or when I see someone else doing what they were born to do. It took me a while to figure out this simple fact. When I picked up a Camera I found an outlet for expression. I will never be the same.

  156. amberrose

    REAL life inspires me..the raw, unscripted life that we all lead daily. Up’s downs, life and death, our journey is a beautiful thing.
    Just found your blog..good stuff!

  157. Sommer

    Lara! I know this is well overdue so sadly I won’t even have the chance to win anything but nevermind……..just wanted to say hi and that I loved this article. OH and that I did not know that this Jeremy fellow is the guy that came up with Help portrait AND also photographed Imogen Heap. Just brilliant. hahah answered two of my long standing questions in one go. Anyway keep up the good work lovely :) x

  158. [REVIEW] Lifefinder DVD by Jeremy Cowart | FengLong Blog - Atlanta Wedding Photographer

    [...] received my copy of Lifefinder thanks to a great contest that Lara Casey was running on her blog that was announced on Twitter. For anyone interested in the wedding [...]