Continued from Part 1 – What is Creative Photography?
Now that we know the definition for creative photography, just how do we go about being creative?
This is not an easy question to answer because, unlike the technical side of photography that be mastered by following specific workflows, there are no clear workflows for being creative. This is what makes creative photography challenging. It’s also why many photographers find photography to be a lifelong learning experience. While you can master the technical side of photography, the creative side often requires you to come up with something new to accomplish your goal.
While I can’t give you an exact step-by-step creativity workflow, I can tell you that, for me, careful observation and out-of-the-box thinking have proved indispensable in capturing creative photos. Here is example of what happened on our Fiji trip…
I was out one afternoon trying to shoot the crabs that were hanging out on the island. What I really wanted was to fill my frame with the crab… and at the same time, create an interesting photo. I started out selecting the right subject. After waiting and watching for about 20 minutes, I soon found the perfect crab. He was bright red and stood out against the grey rock, especially compared to his “siblings”.
Now that I had the right subject, all I need was to improve the composition by removing the distracting elements around the original photo (other crabs, rock face)… then I would be set. But when I looked at the image, it looked rather dull and boring. Technically there was nothing wrong with the image, but it did not require anything outside the normal photographic workflow to capture it… and it’s rather ordinary.
I soon noticed that the incoming tide was making the waves crash just behind where these crabs were hanging out… and every once in a while, a big wave would wash over them. What if I was to time my shot and catch the crabs just as they were hit by the wave?
This bit of extra element was enough to add details and a point of interest to my image. Once I saw the first of the images…I was hooked. I captured several shots ranging from crabs just under water to crabs playing peak-a-boo with the sea foam while keep an eye on me. This was clearly an improvement from my initial shots of some boring crabs sitting on a rock.
As you can tell from my experience, the creative process is often very situation-specific and conformed to what worked while shooting the crabs. The next time you want to capture creative photos, put on your thinking hat and ask yourself – What can I do differently? You may just come away some interesting shots and have fun while you’re doing it.