The Medici Effect: Embracing Collaboration

by Bethany Joy



Hey there! In a world that values fresh ideas and innovative solutions, collaboration and diversity of thought have become essential ingredients for success. Have you ever heard of “The Medici Effect”? It’s a fascinating concept introduced by Johannes Frans Johansson in his book, and it highlights the power of collaboration among diverse individuals or fields to spark creativity and drive innovation. Since we are talking about how to create ideas in our series on Design Thinking, let’s dive into Johansson’s six rules of innovation and explore how we can apply them in our everyday lives, from our homes to our workplaces. We have empathized, defined our problems, and now we are in the ideation stage!



The Value in Diversity


The Medici Effect, beautifully described by Johannes Frans Johansson in his book, highlights the remarkable results that arise when people from different backgrounds and disciplines come together. Take, for example, the collaboration that led to the creation of solar panels inspired by the incredible efficiency of leaves in nature. It’s a perfect illustration of how diverse perspectives can spark game-changing innovations. So, let’s see how we can apply the six rules of innovation to foster collaboration and unleash our collective creative genius. These six rules were initially from this article on



All New Ideas Are Combinations of Existing Ideas


We’ve all experienced conflicts and disagreements, especially when living with someone who has a different approach to tasks like cleaning. But here’s an opportunity for growth! By combining our ideas and values, we can find unique solutions that bridge the gap between our perspectives. Try engaging in a value quiz or an open conversation to understand each other’s preferences. Perhaps you can compromise, finding a way to keep the kitchen clean while still allowing for a spontaneous approach. Remember, collaboration is all about exploring new ways to solve problems and creating a harmonious living environment.



Not All Idea Combinations Are Created Equal


Differences shouldn’t be viewed as obstacles; they should be embraced as opportunities. The real magic happens when we mix loosely linked ideas, like observing how children solve problems without being bound by conventional rules. By welcoming diverse perspectives and learning from people of different ages and backgrounds, we open ourselves up to fresh insights and unconventional solutions. Let’s break free from the confines of our comfort zones and discover innovative approaches inspired by the unexpected.



More Ideas Lead to Better Ideas


Innovation thrives in an environment where ideas flow freely. As leaders or individuals, we can create spaces that encourage idea generation and circulation. One effective way to do this is through informal interviews. Take the time to sit down with others, ask thought-provoking questions, and genuinely listen to their experiences and thought processes. By fostering collaboration, we create a culture of continuous improvement and innovation, where every idea has the potential to contribute to something extraordinary.



Plan for Mistakes and Failures


Failure is not the end; it’s an essential part of the innovation journey. Just as children stumble and fall while learning to eat, we need to embrace the lessons that come with making mistakes. By acknowledging and learning from failures, we cultivate resilience, understanding, and the ability to adapt. So, let’s create spaces where mistakes are seen as opportunities for growth and where innovative ideas can thrive. Let’s extend patience when our friends, family, and children experiment and it doesn’t go as planned. We all make mistakes- it’s part of the process.



Stick to Your Passions


It’s the Best Chance for Success: Passion fuels innovation. It’s what drives us to explore new ways of combining our interests and finding solutions to complex problems. Whether it’s photography, fine art, mental health, or technology, our passions bring excitement and dedication to our endeavors. By staying true to our passions, we maintain the motivation to persevere through failures and embrace collaboration with others who share our enthusiasm. Together, we can accomplish remarkable things.


By embracing the Medici Effect and applying Johansson’s six rules for innovation, we can unlock our collective potential for collaboration and ideation- This isn’t just for professional settings it’s for our most important relationships, our toughest conversations and bridging the gap to growth when we are struggling to see things from others perspective.


References used:


Beat the Mid-Year Blues

by Bethany Joy



How are those new year’s resolutions going for you?

It’s June and let’s be honest with ourselves. We set BIG new year’s goals back in January and before we knew it we were halfway through the year. It can be frustrating to set out to have the “Best Year EVER!” and then look at the unused gym membership, unchecked list of to-dos, and unexpected craziness life has thrown our way and get discouraged. Here are some ways to rethink the 2nd half of your year to inspire you to keep going! Life is tough but so are you.


Redefine What Success Looks Like

Setting ambitious goals is great. Pushing yourself to be the best is not a bad thing. However, in the design world, you have to do more than set a goal. You need to test it and evaluate if it’s working. This is a great time to re-evaluate your goals. If you want the vision in your head to become reality you need to be realistic about your ability to achieve it. For example, if you plan on traveling more this year but so far you have only traveled to the store take a step back and ask why? Are you spending your time on what you believe is important? Are you in a temporarily tough situation? Do you need to adjust the timeline? Spend some time reviewing what you have actually accomplished versus what you want. It may be time to re-prioritize your energy to what matters.



Own Your Environment

We all have responsibilities to take care of. It could be our families, jobs, or our home. Bills have to be paid and we don’t always get to choose what that looks like. What we can choose is to set our environment up for success. In a busy season, it’s normal to have things out of place including routines, our homes, and our schedules. Halfway through the year is a great time to stop and reset your environment to emphasize your values! Values in this case simply mean how you approach life. If you value adventure approach your day looking for it. Can you make cooking breakfast an adventure? Can you explore new ways to get your work done? If you value rest, how can you approach your day in a restful manner? Can you build in extra breaks even if they are only mental? Can you prioritize a 5-minute walk? The way you present yourself and craft your environment is up to you. Shout out to my therapist for this advice!



Cut Your Losses

Ego will cost you more than you ever wanted. Sometimes our goals are grounded in ego, grounded in proving others wrong, proving we don’t need help, or proving we are perfect. Take note: Are your goals for this year rooted in pleasing others, proving others or pride to avoid shame? When we spend energy on ideas or goals that don’t work because we can’t let go of our plans or admit that we got it wrong we lose more time. Sometimes the most effective thing you can do is realize what you are doing is not working and pivot. Sometimes I tell myself “plot twist” or ” The plot thickens” because it can be hard to let go of effort, time, or energy invested into a plan that has failed. Failure isn’t the end, it’s the beginning of learning.


Small Steps Equal Big Changes

Okay. This may seem cliche, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. If you have fallen off of your new year’s resolutions now is the time to check and see if you have fallen prey to chasing “States of Being” I talk about this in my podcast from the book The Personal M.B.A. A state of being is when a goal is to “Be Happy” “Be Successful” or “Be at Peace” which will not help you actually reach your goal. Instead, define what each means and put them into actionable steps. If “Be Happy” means working less and having the income to go on vacation, spend your energy examining what it would take to make that a reality. Get it on paper and get it with dates. Get that desire into action and start creating a path toward it. Imagine there are no barriers and dream up how you can achieve your goals. It may not be exactly what you imagine but don’t underestimate the encouraging power of small steps.


Encouragement is Like Dynamite

Encouragement comes in small packages. When everything seems to be falling apart, it can feel like you need a miracle for circumstances to turn around. In my life when I make one small positive change, I feel incredibly better. It may not take as much as you think to be able to see things are getting better. Give yourself encouragement by recognizing what is going well. When you have a bad morning believe that your day can turn around tomorrow. If you went off the line on your New Year’s Resolutions there are still 6 months to make it happen. Don’t throw away the baby with the bath water. One thing going wrong doesn’t ensure EVERYTHING is ruined! (This is for me to be honest).



I hope this gives you some ideas on how to gather the strength to keep moving this year. Remember that when you feel like everything is going wrong you can still choose to be kind. You can choose to be hopeful and fight for the better. Happy Mid-year! Let’s continue doing what we dream of. If you want some cute encouragement to check out the affirmations below!




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Want more? Check out my latest podcast!



The 5 Easy Ways to Get Great Grad Photos

by Bethany Joy



Graduation season is back! Everybody is prepared to celebrate their hard work this season and move on to greater things. There’s no doubt you earned it! Make the most of your graduation experience by taking the time to reflect on your accomplishments, both big and small. Cherish the memories and friendships you made along the way. Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your successes!


Using these tips, you can DIY amazing grad photos this season to make your photos as amazing as you are. My examples will be drawn from a real session I conducted.  You can use DIY graduation photography to capture your special moment when you have limited time. Take beautiful graduation photos with these simple tips.


The Location



Choosing a location that contrasts with your gown, your skin tone, and the school colors is best. You may want to consider mascots and places that have special memories for you. Contrasting colors and locations can add visual interest to your photos and can make the photos look more dynamic. Additionally, choosing locations or mascots that have special meaning to you can make your photos more meaningful.

Contrasting colors and locations draw the eye to the subject in the photo and can help to create a more interesting composition. Choosing a location or mascot with special meaning to the individual in the photos can add an additional layer of emotion and nostalgia, making the photos more meaningful and memorable.


The Lighting



Unless you have access to professional lighting, I recommend shooting outside in the evening when the sun is setting. When the sun is golden as it sets, it is flattering and not as harsh as during the daytime hours. Avoid standing under trees that cast shadows on your face, and consider bringing a white poster board to reflect light under your chin. To create the crisp focus effect, you should pose with your chosen background in the distance. Your photographer should stand equally distant from you as the background. This way, the light will be even across your face and body and the background will be out of focus, creating the desired crisp effect. This technique also allows you to shoot without the harsh shadows that are often seen when shooting in direct sunlight. Make sure you are far enough away from the background so it appears blurred. This will help create a more aesthetically pleasing image. Finally, ensure that you and your photographer are standing at an angle to the sun, to reduce the harsh shadows that can be caused by directly facing the sunlight.





On your cards, banners, and social media posts, you will want to use several classic poses to make your cards, banners, and posts stand out. Take a picture of just your outfit without a cap and gown. You can use this for your professional profile headshots. It is best to do this before putting on your grad cap since it may mess up your hair. Next, take open-gown photos with your grad cap on. You should consider whether you want the graduation tassel to be on the appropriate side. You should take full-body shots of yourself walking toward the camera as well as mid-body shots. After that, zip up the gown and repeat the process. Capture some close-up shots of your face smiling at and away from the camera. Here is where you may want to add props such as a fake diploma or sports equipment depending on your favorite activities. Don’t forget to take a picture with your tassel, your graduation cap, and of course the classic cap toss. Full-body shots show your whole outfit, while mid-body shots emphasize details such as the tassel, diploma, or any props you choose to include. Close-up shots of your face capture the joy of the moment and having props that represent your favorite activities makes the photos more personal and memorable.


The Props



You can create a session that is unique or classic to suit your style. Create your own style or theme by incorporating it into your session. In my examples, Zoë did a Meg The Stallion-themed shoot. The outfit involved cute accessories and a cute look. Whether you are a member of a club, a movie fan, or a sports fan, display your personality through your outfit and props. Don’t be afraid to express yourself with what you wear and use props. This could be a colorful outfit, a favorite movie poster, or the jersey of your favorite sports team.


Create Something Unique



Have fun trying different looks and enjoy yourself. It is HARD to graduate from high school or college and you deserve to be celebrated! Congratulations to the class of 2023, the best is yet to come! Embrace the moment and don’t be afraid to try things you’ve never done before. This is your chance to make a statement and you want your look to reflect who you are and the milestone you are celebrating. You should be proud of your achievements and eagerly look forward to what lies ahead.

You will be seen and celebrated with my one-of-a-kind fine art photography portraits. For more information about next-level all-inclusive graduation photography, please message me here! I provide comprehensive and tailored photography services, so you can cherish this special moment for a lifetime.

I hope these tips are helpful, but I am only one person, so let me know what has worked for you! I can be reached here or via email at Interested in collaborating on something creative? Commission a portrait! The booking period for 2023 is now open.





Practice Practice

Crafting with Quality



I couldn’t stand drawing but I learned how to be better purely because of practice. In Episode 2 of The Creativity Cure, I shared how I learned to have a growth mindset by challenging the notion that I should only pursue skills I am naturally “good” at. I believe that many of the best demonstrate the tenacity to practice repeatedly. You can listen to my podcast here to get the full recap. I always share some practical ways you can start thinking like an artist and harness creativity to improve your life. Here are 4 ways to practice like an artist everyday.




Learning to lean on those who have been there and done that is huge! Investing time in learning or listening to anyone with experience is a skill but asking the right questions is the key. You probably do research every day. When you decide what to eat or what shoes to buy,  you do research. Learning to track your research with writing is a powerful thing as well. You never know when that old note will help! Artists always have a curated folder of references, inspirations, tools, sketches and more. Everything is an inspiration for a future idea


Try Again

Practice again and again. Before you put out your next big thing, practice. Practicing is hard for me because I get so excited about a photo or blog or new video that I skip practice. I usually end up having to go back and slow down anyway. So embrace practicing, prototyping, testing, and modeling whenever you can. Even using paper and pen, your phone whatever. Create sketches, rough drafts, and scripts or outlines. Rarely does your work fully arrive there is always room to improve.




Ask for feedback. Getting and giving feedback happens 24/7 in the design and art worlds. It’s critical to understand your impact on those around you. It’s important to learn how to take feedback and process it without changing everything to please everyone. Regularly seek to understand how you are perceived when you are leading a project or team. Seek to listen and then record and analyze your feedback to ensure that you are creating an impact the way you intend to.




Go back again. Remember the relief of turning your project in just in time for the deadline at work? Well as an artist after a critique of your final project, we are encouraged to keep improving the final. So if you want to exercise that creative muscle go back to your work or project and look a third time after receiving feedback. Instead of striving to get “perfectly done” learn to live with the idea that it’s ok to improve. In some ways, you have to believe that the need to get better doesn’t mean you failed. It’s a natural part of learning and creating.


Hopefully, these are helpful tips but I am only one person so I would love to hear what has worked for you! Email me here or at Also, commission a portrait with me to collaborate on a creative art piece! Booking is open for 2023.






This Dress Did Not Exist

The Fine Art Side of Photography


Let’s talk about the art side of photography. What makes your portrait “Fine Art?” I could give you a dictionary definition or dive into what makes art well- art. I think that it would be much more fun to show you what it means to me. I am going to share behind the scenes of creating the above portrait and how photography like painting, designing, or drawing is an art form. I am also going to share how you can create your own fine art photography.



Gathering Ideas

I had a vision in my mind of a vague idea for a portrait. It started with fans, gold lines, and playing with color combinations. I knew that the dress would be white but I didn’t know exactly how it would look. I am not Picasso with the pen but getting ideas on paper helps me to start thinking of possibilities. I looked at some of my favorite photographers for inspiration and continued playing with the idea in my head for a while. Art to me is about intention. It’s making choices to frame something or nothing in a particular way. When deciding on what you may want to photograph as fine art consider playing with sketches, color palettes, textures, and more. Collect these elements in one place so your brain can start imagining where your photo will go.


Creating The Canvas

The day came to shoot the portrait and I was nervous and excited. I am always nervous to do a good job but excited to make a new piece of work. When you think of a blank canvas you may think of a white plain piece of paper. For me, my canvas is an unedited photo. How I compose the subject, light, fabric, and exposure all create the base for a polished portrait. Having the basic sketch in mind helped me to walk with some confidence and guidance as we took photos. Photography is in part a time-based artform. I am composing a moment that will not exist exactly the same way ever again. I began to play with fabric and the train of a bridal gown letting my initial idea morph. As the picture became clearer in my mind I began to work with more excitement and my friend posing went along for the ride. It looked crazy but I saw the vision. Having a plan is important but considering the environment, you are in when you are photographing is just as important. There may be something special about that moment and as an artist, you can decide how you want to incorporate the uniqueness of the moment into your work. Street photographers capture unplanned uncanny moments of humanity. Landscape photographers capture the fleeting daylight, clouds, or weather. Photo Journalists capture history as it happens. As a fine art photographer, you tell the story and frame it for the audience leading them on a journey.


Finishing Touches 

After the session was done I uploaded my photos at home and looked through them. I looked at the expression, color, and reflections and began the polishing stages for the portrait. I considered making the gown a different color, creating a really full fluffy dress with insane volume but decided on adding just a touch more shape. I like to collaborate with the subject of the portrait so I spent a lot of time going back and forth with some questions with my friend in the photo. I listened to her thoughts and incorporated them into the final portrait so that we both agreed that it looked great! Getting feedback as you finish your art piece is incredibly helpful for navigating if the image is saying what you would like it to say. In my case, I wanted to play with shape and texture without looking bridal.  My friend’s collaboration helped me to make the finishing touches with the right emphasis and detail. Check out some of the processes as I transform the finishing touches. You can see me going back and forth on the pink but in the end, the contrast of the white won.




Art Is…

Art is intention, invention, creation, and experimentation. That is what I do. I construct and build and at the end of it, all my hope is that you see an amazing person presented beautifully. You may never know all of the behind-the-scenes steps and that is ok. Part of the joy is in the process. I hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look! If you want to collaborate on an art piece or commission please email or click here.

Join the conversation about how 6 hours of drawing class taught me a lot on the latest episode of The Creativity Cure Podcast here.


What is your creative process? DM me on social media or email bethany@bethanyjphotography.

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How Bethany J. Photography is Changing

What’s gonna be new?


In one week I will be FINALLY sharing my new rebrand and what that means for my clients and followers! I am so excited because I know what’s coming and I hate keeping secrets! I wanna give you some idea of what is going to happen so you can get ready for the launch.

Fine Art Portraits Only

The biggest change will be in the kind of work I will complete for people. I will be shifting from the family photography service category to a fine art portrait photography practice. Here are the differences between the two, for future clients.







As mentioned above I am shifting to not only incorporating being better focused on each individual client’s needs but also providing a service that creates portraits that you can treasure as key pieces for your home.


Changing Style

My style has always been vibrant, warm, fun, and colorful. However, I don’t want to stop growing as a creator so for that purpose, I want to shift into creating work for you from a truer place of authenticity. I will continue to keep the key elements of my style but I will be pushing to create portraits that are a bit more in-depth, carefully lit, and filled with an element of wonder. Each session will be about creating a unique work. I want to invite clients to further explore their own creativity with me.


Inviting the Creative Community

In addition to inviting clients to collaborate I want to extend the community further by helping creative people, supporters, and more connect. I have so many individual conversations with clients, businesses, and more, and want to build a meeting ground. I will be doing this with the launch of a weekly newsletter that will be for people interested in sharing their triumphs, work, connections, products, and more. I want to hear your stories, see what moves you, and build up the creative community. I believe that coming together in an exclusive community will open the doors for great things to happen! Those who subscribe will get updates first and get the opportunity to share their opinions or ideas for topics to cover or events to share. I will also open the newsletter for small, local, or artisan brands to share their business.



New Podcast: The Creativity Cure

I will be launching my Podcast The Creativity Cure on February 17th. In working with clients in photography and design I realize that there is a large perception that being creative is purely a gift or talent. I believe that in a big way, creativity is a skill that can be fostered and cultivated in powerful ways. On my podcast, I will talk to women about how they can grow this skill and use it to change how they handle problems with business, relationships, and themselves. The podcast will be available on all platforms and will be streamed every other Friday.


Focusing In

I will be focusing on what I do so that I work with those who are on the same page and share the joy of being creative. This means that I will no longer be photographing events, weddings, parties, sports, or boudoir. Not to worry I will be on the lookout for photographers who excel at those segments to make sure you can still be covered. In fact, one of the great things about this change is that I will have a chance to branch out and collaborate with other photographers.


The next time I blog I will be reintroducing myself and going into more detail about how you can join The Creative Community and stay connected. You don’t want to miss this!  See you next week.


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