Storms and clouds give me the WOW factor!

Five Ideas to Develop Your Creative Eye in Photography

As a society, we’re bombarded with images all day long, from billboards to television to social media. As photographers, those images can really influence us. We’ve all been guilty of seeing an image and wanting to go to that exact spot to capture that same photograph. But when creative photography comes into play, it means stepping back, assessing the scene, and finding a way to present it differently. Often creativity in photography is a personal choice and it’s what can can really make it compete in the Fine Art arena.

A New Perspective

Finding a different way of viewing and capturing the world around you opens you up to greater creativity. This can be done in-camera with the use of unique lenses or filters, longer exposures, different angles, or even camera movement.

Exercise: Find one object and photograph it three different ways by using some of the ideas listed above.

In addition to one photograph of the Aspen trees, I photographed for a panoramic stitch as well. Sometimes the lens you have with you may not capture the sense of space, so creating a multiple image stitch can work well.

In addition to one photograph of the Aspen trees, I photographed for a panoramic stitch as well. Sometimes the lens you have with you may not capture the sense of space, so creating a multiple image stitch can work well.

By putting the camera on a tripod, I was able to zoom the lens in during this exposure. I used a Neutral Density filter to allow me to have a longer exposure time.

Again, I put the camera on a tripod with an ND filter and then moved the camera vertically during the exposure. The unique colors come from my infrared converted camera.

Again, I put the camera on a tripod with an ND filter and then moved the camera vertically during the exposure. The unique colors come from my infrared converted camera.

 

Develop A Unique Vision

Presenting a creative photograph can also be done in post-processing. This can be done by changing an image to black and white, adding creative texture layers, creating movement through software filters, or even selective toning. I rarely rely on just one post-processing option; instead, I try different techniques, save them, step away from them, and review them at a later date. 

Exercise: Fine one image in your catalog and process it in three different and unique ways.

Instead of settling for the mundane use some creative processing to add a touch of your own vision for the image:

This image is directly from the camera. To me, it is lackluster.

This image is directly from the camera. To me, it’s lackluster.

  • Processed for vibrant color.

    Processed for vibrant color.

  • Selective colorization for creative photography. Post-processed using On1 Photo 10.

    Selective colorization for creative photography. Post-processed using On1 Photo 10.

  • Processed for black and white with a brown tone.

    Processed for black and white with a brown tone.

Take Risks

Being a true artist can be scary. Embarking on uncharted waters can be uncomfortable yet exhilarating. The key here is to love what you do and not worry about what others may think. Experiment. Play. Have fun. Push the boundaries and don’t worry about the critics.

Exercise: Do the opposite! Take only one camera, one lens, and focus on what you rarely do. If you shoot color, then shoot for black and white. If you shoot landscapes, then try your hand at street photography. If you process for sharp, vibrant, color photographs, try creating a soft ethereal image.

My iPhone was the only camera available on this last morning of my Iceland journey. As an infrared/black and white photographer, stepping outside my comfort zone resulted in this beautiful abstract photograph.

My iPhone was the only camera available on this last morning of my Iceland journey. As an infrared/black and white photographer, stepping outside my comfort zone resulted in this beautiful abstract photograph.

Be Patient

Great creative ideas won’t come to you on demand. Creative people are always thinking, assessing, and stewing over the many ideas that pop into their head. Patience is required to give yourself time to learn how to put the ideas in your head into your final piece. Also very important is learning not to let your own head get in your way. If you have a creative  idea, get to work on it… don’t just set it aside for another day that may never come.

Exercise: Write down any idea that pops into your head! Look at your list daily and start working on those ideas.

Self Awareness

This is probably the most important aspect of creativity. Knowing who you are, what you are drawn to visually and emotionally, learning to let go of any societal pressures, and following a your passion is what allows you to be the creative person you are meant to be.

Exercise: What is it about something that makes you say “WOW!!”? Find a way to photograph and capture the WOW feeling and convey it to your viewers.

Storms and clouds give me the WOW factor! The size of the storm was large and the best way for me to capture the WOW was with a panoramic stitch with a minimal and nearly silhouetted foreground. Very little post-processing was done on this image. The amazing Arizona skies were really this amazing!

If you truly want to be a more creative photographer, then you need to get out and take more photographs, try new things, and experiment with different techniques be it analog or digital. Step away from the endless images online and instead find yourself in your backyard looking at the details in a flower, the shadows of the rocks, the abstractness of the tree branches.

Above all… HAVE FUN!

About Author Christine Hauber

As a full-time professional photographer for over 25 years, my love of photography has pushed me forward through the tough times as well as the absolutely amazing times. I have captured the quietness Mother Nature gives us to the amazing faces of man and beast.

Without a creative outlet, I am not sure I could exist with such gratitude and grace. Being creative affords me hours of quiet contemplation, allows me to absorb the beauty around me even when there seems to be very little of it and feeds my soul. Sharing my resulting images and knowledge is my way of hoping to bring those same feelings to those who view them.

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