What does it mean to be a creative photographer? What kind of thoughts must a person posses before snapping off their first picture? The answers to these questions might be more simple than you think, but that does not mean anyone can just do this. I will tell you this much. A picture is taken before you even step out your door. Intrigued? Read on!
A certain mindset is required for this kind of work. It needs to be ingrained and it needs to become second nature. The thoughts and feelings you have internally must come out in the pictures you take. In essence, you are the pictures and the pictures become you. By overcoming and throwing away rules, theories and the things others say, you step into a realm of creativity that few others dream of. You do this by having knowledge before you walk out the door. The knowledge gives you the strength and determination to succeed where others dare not go. Focusing on what really matters allows you to cast aside doubts, fears and prejudice. This is where you must be and it is where I will take you today.
This was taken during my Galveston trip on Bolivar Peninsula. Notice how the photo does not focus on the ocean, but rather on a group on people lined up like the Abby Road photo on the Beatles album. The ocean is merely a backdrop.
The mindset of a creative photographer starts with one basic principal. Everything is beautiful, we just need to make it interesting. With this basic principal in mind, we no longer have to look for things to take pictures of. We only need to figure out how to make it interesting. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Aren’t there exceptions to every rule? Some things just are not going to look good no matter what angle or way you edit them. Feces will never look good, shit is just shit! Decay of living beings is not likely going to look good. However, decay of trees, plants and such can look interesting. Here is a example of that:
The above photo was taken with a nifty-fifty lens and a Canon SL1 DSLR camera. This macro shot was taken with this lens, knowing that the background would be blurred and the details of the subject emphasized.
So now that we know that the world is filled with nearly endless things we can take pictures of, how does this affect the way we shoot pictures? Well, to put it simply, it frees us of the ideology that you must find something interesting to shoot. That is not required! Remember everything is beautiful! Thus, before we have walked out our front door, we know we are going to have great pictures because there are far too many things in this world to take pictures of. We will never run out of things to shoot. In fact, you will probably be wishing you could have many lifetimes to try to capture them all.
This photo was taken from the side and I pushed the details to bring a sense of hyper-realism. While this is something most people are able to see, the angle and pushed details makes it much more interesting. This photo is so detailed, in fact, that it takes a few seconds for people to figure out what it is.
So when stepping out the front door to go take pictures, keep in mind that you can take pictures of anything and everything. So that is what you want to do! As a side note, you never have to leave your house, since there are plenty of beautiful things inside too! But, a second principal comes into play and this second principal is nearly as strong and certainly as important as the first one. It is this…you want to show people things they would not normally see. Obviously, most household items are things that most people will have seen unless you have nothing but ancient furniture in your house, lol! So this new principal helps you add on to the first by pointing you in a direction.
While the first principal says everything is beautiful and only needs to be made interesting, the second principal provides direction and narrows down the subject matter some. It says we want to show things that people will not normally see. This second principal is very useful in the way it helps you focus more on what you want to look for. It also provides you with a goal. Lastly, it allows you to play to your strengths. Every area of the world, whether it is be a small farm town or a huge metropolis, has unique features provided by its environment. Knowing this, you can cast aside excuses like ideas that you have to go to a mountain range or some tropical beach to get amazing pictures. You do not have to do any of those things. You simply must play upon the unique features of the area you live in. Not everyone is rich and can afford extravagant trips. The fact is you do not need to. Break free from these thoughts that constrict you. I have made hundreds of great photos without leaving the great state of Texas. You can do this too!
In this photo I took a local abandoned business and made it interesting by changing the style of it. Obviously, nobody is going to ever see purple skies.
When I step out my door, I am going in search of things that highlight the area I live in. Sure, a small fraction of people might have seen a few of this pictures, but the vast majority will not have. When I went to Galveston, I did not take pictures of the beach, I looked for things that most people would not notice. When I went to George Ranch Historic Park it was with the idea in mind that most people will never see anything inside this park. When I went to the old downtown historical areas of Richmond and Rosenberg, it was with this same idea. I played to the strength of things in my area and took pictures of anything that caught my eye, even if for a second. Knowing that everything is beautiful, I only had to make it interesting. This is the frame of mind you must absorb. This is the frame of mind that must be first and foremost in front of any thoughts of photography. This is the mindset you must possess if you want to be a creative photographer.
This era piece is of an 1830 home in George Ranch Historical Park. I had in mind while taking this photo that I wanted to create a photo that looks like it was taken with a camera of the same time period. Obviously, nobody alive today was around in the 1830s.
In the next chapter I will discuss exactly the things that enter the mind while out and about. These little things we consider with each picture. These little things ultimately lead to a big difference in how you shoot a photo and how the final image becomes art. It certainly is not to be missed! If you have not subbed to my blog yet, now is as good a time as any. I hope this chapter gave you an insight into the mind of a creative photographer and that I see you back for the next chapter. Take care and have an amazing day!