The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.


Today’s featured artist:  Leah Stauffer

It was an offer almost too good to be true, but when the doors opened, they discovered it was real: a photo session in a festive setting with a team of pros behind the lens.

For Delisha Dickerson and her sons, and every family that comes to The Christmas Studio, the offer of a holiday photo came without a price tag.

Twelve-year-old Breanna Layne came with her mom and sister Kaylee.

“I’ve dreamed of doing this but it’s never really happened, and now my dream came true,” Breanna said.

Her mom, Brandy Layne, is a caretaker who seldom has the chance to be cared for. Brandy said she would never be able to pay out of pocket for the photo shoot on a limited budget. Before today, Brandy had only selfies of her family.

Photographer Leah Stauffer dreamed up the idea.

“I’ve come across a lot of families throughout the years that ask for like, ‘Hey can I have that photo? That’s the only good family professional photo we have.’ And I just started thinking about those families,” Stauffer said.

So she put out a call for help, everyone she asked said “yes” and then she let the community know.

“When I started doing this, I was worried that no families would show up. And someone told me, ‘Leah, if one family shows up, that’s all that matters,'” Stauffer said.

She needn’t have worried. They hoped for 40 families, and 87 signed up. Each one got the star treatment, including hair and makeup, and a holiday photo.

For Brandy and her girls, it was just what they needed.

“We’re just kind of starting over but we’re getting there. This is a good start,” Brandy said.

It’s a moment captured forever – and a gift for which there is no price.

These are TV screen grabs from CBS This Morning.


To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.


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