Some of my favorite images come in an often unexpected manner. When studying commercial photography I feel like the sentiment was often pounded into me: "Shoot for Yourself!" Part of that is obvious: continue to create your own work apart from the work that you're hired to do. But, the secondary meaning behind the phrase reaches into those paid assignments, and it is this: produce what your client wants, make their vision come to life, and then... play. Often times that creative spark comes after you've done what you've been hired to do. And when you're free from the constraints of fulfilling the creative vision by which the job was born, that's when unexpected things start to happen. Sure, they don't always come to fruition, but when they do, new ideas are born... new vision is developed, and in the end, you, and your client, may have something that is altogether beyond everyone's expectations. The more that happens, the more you become the creative force that is combining with your clients' vision. And then, people are hiring you for how you add to the creative process, not just how you excecute someone else's.
All that to say, the above image was produced during a shoot for a men's underwear line. There were no plans to shoot anything cropped above the model's waist, or even above his thigh. And there certainly weren't any plans to produce a photograph with this much contrast, or even in this style of imagery that is more of a portrait than anything. BUT, after we completed production on the full line of underwear, it was time to play. We still had another hour in the day, so I turned around and moved from the cyclorama to a small white wall at the back corner of the studio. I went from 5 lights to 1. I went from a nice, soft octabank to the sharper focus of a parabolic umbrella (Paul C Buff's PLM is one of my favorite modifiers to date), and shot some more dramatic portraits. This very image ended up being selected by the client for use in advertising their tee shirt line.
So, go do what you're hired to do, and then have some fun. My guess is that you'll be rewarded one way or another!