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Encouraging Creativity in Photography

Digital photography could see the death of creativity in photography in general. Why such a harsh statement? Here’s why:

1. Lack of thought.

As a film photographer the consumable costs of photography were much higher. This forced us to think and carefully consider each shot. There was a greater thought process. Using a motor drive for taking multiple shots was for the press photographers who could afford take thirty six images in a few seconds. For the rest of us we had to think more before pressing the button.

2. The Shakespeare effect.

This is the evolutionary idea that if you give a roomful of monkeys a typewriter each and enough time, they will eventually produce a work equal in quality to Shakespeare. There is a similar mindset among digital photographers that if they shoot enough photos, somewhere amongst the thousands will be quality images. You have as much chance as that happening as a monkey.

3. Drive by shooting syndrome.

This is similar to the lack of thought in taking a photo. Because of the multiple shot feature in digital cameras and the low cost of digital photography, it’s quick an easy to take an image. Just like a drive by shooting the camera is pointed in the general direction of the subject and a bunch of images is taken. Then you move on to the next target and fire away again.

So what’s the answer? Plain and simple slow down, right down and smell the roses as the saying goes. The creative process is methodical and well thought out. You need to be able to observe, think and then take action. Because digital photography is so quick, cheap and easy the principles and techniques of photography tend to get sidelined.

Here are a few steps to encourage your creative process.

1. Make or allocate time for your creative process.

Creativity won’t be hurried. At times it may come to you quickly but this is the exception rather than the norm. So sit down and absorb the environment. Observe your surroundings, subjects and any activity. Let it become a part of you.

2. Be selective.

Find something that turns you or rather your creativity on. If this is colour then focus on the rich hues and shades. If it’s an object or subject observe it carefully in relation to it’s surroundings. Now close your eyes and picture the final image.

3. Change your position or viewpoint.

By looking at your subject from different angles, heights or positions the image will change as the subject changes in relation to its environment. All of a sudden you see things you never would have seen.

4. Try something different.

Shoot a traditional tourist shot of your subject and then look for a shot that is completely different, one you’ve never seen before. Make it unrecognisable. Hire a boat and shoot from the the water. Go to the top of a nearby building or if you’re adventurous climb a tree or lie down on your back.

Creativity is often just doing something different. Something that hasn’t been done before. The key element that I have found to creativity is time. So take your time and smell the roses. Your photography will never be the same again. Put photography, creative photography back into digital photography.

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