Creativity needs a push

Make your best shot …

… then push your creativity by photographing it in a different way.

For most of us, our first response to a scene is to photograph it in a representational way. That is, we see something that moves us so we photograph it as we saw it. There’s nothing wrong with this. We’ve grown up seeing this type of photography. But, if we want to go deeper with our creativity in photography, we’re not done yet.

There are many other ways to photograph the scene and we rob ourselves and our viewers of creative expression if we don’t tap into those. So go ahead and make the best image you can but then get in the habit of asking yourself, “What’s another way to photograph this scene?” This will often open the door to increasing creativity with your camera.

For example, last spring I was photographing crocuses in a local park. I made the image at left and then asked myself that question. With simple camera movement, I made several attempts and chose the image at right as my favourite.

creativity with crocuses

The right hand image uses intentional camera movement at 1/8 second.

Here’s another example. Late in December 2017, I was exploring a park in Langley. Across a large pond was a stand of golden trees. The water was covered in slushy ice so there were no reflections. However, by using intentional camera movement, I was able to create an impressionistic image of the scene.

golden trees reflecting in a lake.

This is an unsuccessful vertical pan at 1/4 sec. Because of the camera movement, it looks like the trees were surrounded by water. In fact, the base of the trees was along the midline of the image. Note: I did not make a representational image of this scene. This is included to show you what one would look like.

using the camera with creativity so the trees are dancing

Using intentional camera movement in a modulating vertical motion, with a shutter speed of 1/4 second, I was able to create an effect that looks like a wavy reflection in the water. I later added a texture to the sky to add some interest there. I call this Winter Dancers.

In each pair of images above, the second image expresses the scene in a way that I find much more creative,  interesting and satisfying. After creating a representation shot, my usual approach is to then move to a more expressive image. Sometimes, I can’t think of a way to do it. Other times, I think of many ways. By always asking myself, What is another way to photograph this? I’m constantly pushing myself and my creativity.

This is just one of the many ways we encourage our participants at Develop Your Creative Vision to go deeper with their photography. Spaces remain in our 2018 workshops. Would you like to join us?

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