“There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
Many people pick up photography to escape the dread of their day jobs. No matter what you normally do, photography allows you to to express yourself and be creative. But what does it mean to be creative in photography and how do we manage to stay creative over time?
Creativity is one of the most un-measurable aspects of art and on top of that photography is highly subjective. You probably won’t find two people who have the same agreement when it comes to what creativity in photography really is. Our choice of location or subjects, the way we might pose people, the composition and the light we use and how we interact with our subjects all come from a place of creativity or vision. Thinking outside the box, bending the photography rules and even consistency might be considered creativity as well.
So, how do we measure our creativity?
Well, do we really need to? In photography we can create great photos in so many different ways and there are so many ways to see just one subject, so Just bring out your own unique vision and create whatever pleases you.
How do we stay creative?
This is much easier to sum up 🙂 I can give some ideas based on my somewhat long career as photographer.
- Never stop learning – this is probably the most important advice I can share. I go to workshops, read photography books and talk with other photographers all the time. It’s a fantastic way to grow, to meet other professionals, get new ideas and share experience.
- Try to find beauty in everything – it doesn’t really matter where you live and what your daily job is. There is beauty to be found all around us. Take for example one of my favourite photographers – Saul Laiter. He managed to capture extraordinary images from ordinary and somehow mundane activities around him.
- Take pictures that please you – don’t try to please anybody else, your photography should please you!
- Don’t TRY to be creative – pushing yourself to produce creative images never helps, relax and let your vision guide you. I have always find that I am most creative when I don’t stress about results.
- Challenge yourself – getting out of your comfort zone is the best thing you can do to boost your creativity. Experiment with settings, different lightning, try taking photos that you never had taken before. Give yourself assignments, that are pushing your vision and your skills, and tough deadlines to finish them.
- Go for simple – simplify your gear, your workflow, your photos. Simple is good! Not thinking about gear and tools will let your mind run free and explore possibilities.
- Create, don’t just think about it – sitting and home and waiting for creativity to kick in is no good. Grab your camera and go shooting.