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creativity exercise: Using Body Language to Create Captivating Photographs

creativity exercise: Using Body Language to Create Captivating Photographs

When you think of human expression, to which part of the subject are you drawn? Most people are drawn to the face, specifically the eyes and – to a slightly lesser extent – the mouth. It is in the face that we pick up the most obvious emotional cues – sadness, happiness, anger, boredom, contentment, frustration, intensity. As students of human emotion know, however, true feelings are often conveyed by body language beyond the face. Studying body language can be(…)

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creativity exercise: 7 creative ideas for unconventional self portraits

creativity exercise: 7 creative ideas for unconventional self portraits

In 2011, I wrote a tutorial for the CMblog that challenged you get on the other side of your camera (Because You Were There, Too: 13 Tips for Family Self Portraits). In the tutorial, we explored techniques and tips for better self portraits, how to involve your children, and more; since then, the article has been read by over 85,000 people, pinned over 49,000 times, and we at Clickin Moms have used it to challenge our members to do a(…)

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creativity exercise: beautiful bokeh

creativity exercise: beautiful bokeh

The word “bokeh” is a relatively new term (in popular use for less than twenty years) derived from the Japanese word “boke,” meaning blur or haze. When we refer to bokeh, we’re usually discussing the aesthetic quality of that blur, often describing it in terms of shape, softness, or smoothness.

*image by Ashley Spaulding ‘Ashley’
What plays into bokeh? Let’s take a look at some of the primary factors.

Large Aperture. The top factor is shallow depth of field.(…)

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creativity exercise: a classic artist’s exercise

creativity exercise: a classic artist’s exercise

Drawing an egg is a classic fine art exercise for those working in chalk, charcoal, or pencil. It’s a great way to study form and the way light and shadow work together to establish depth, dimension, and even mood. For this month’s creativity exercise, I challenge you to photograph one or more eggs. While drawing inspiration from the classic exercise (single egg, dramatic light) is a wonderful photographic undertaking and will no doubt produce some beautiful and unexpectedly creative work,(…)

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creativity exercise: 3 quick tips for close-up portraiture

creativity exercise: 3 quick tips for close-up portraiture

This month, let’s take a look at extreme closeups in portraiture. For purposes of this creativity exercise, we will be producing images in which the subject’s head/face (or part of the face) fills the entire frame; the head itself should be touching or nearly touching at least two of the four edges of the frame.

*image by Narelle Bailey ‘nbailey’
While a portrait need not be closeup to be intimate, it’s almost impossible to avoid intimacy in an extreme closeup of this(…)

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creativity exercise: 5 tips for shooting through glass effectively

creativity exercise: 5 tips for shooting through glass effectively

This month’s creativity focuses on shooting through a glass window, door, windshield, etc. While it may seem simple, shooting through glass in this way can bring an entirely new layer of depth to your image … introducing new textures, influencing the quality of light, drawing the viewer in as a plausible bystander on the scene, or establishing a new sense of context by incorporating reflections of the surrounding environment.
*image by forum member kristabelle
TIPS:

1) Focus Manually
When shooting through glass, you(…)

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creativity exercise: humanizing a non-human subject or object

creativity exercise: humanizing a non-human subject or object

Have you ever seen a tenacious leaf? It’s the last one so stubbornly hanging onto a tree branch as the winter wind whistles in. What about raindrops dancing in already formed puddles on the sidewalk or the lonely teddy bear who has for two weeks been left untouched under your seven year old’s bed? Ever see a face formed in the bark of a gnarled old tree or the gentle rays of sunlight offering hope in a bleak scene?

*image copyright(…)

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creativity exercise: permission to copy

creativity exercise: permission to copy

Do you ever feel creatively exhausted? Ever feel like everything has already been done, that you’ve utilized every square inch of your house/yard that gets good light, that you’ve just run out of new things to try? Many people (myself included) find that spending time with the work of another photographer can be immensely inspiring generally, but when it comes to conceiving of a new shot or session, most photographers are careful to avoid anything that could be construed as(…)

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creativity exercise: beautiful ugly

creativity exercise: beautiful ugly

“We are not interested in the unusual, but in the usual seen unusually.” – Beaumont Newhall
You know your camera inside and out.  You achieve perfect sharpness, perfect color, perfect exposure 100% of the time … and that makes you a brilliant technician.  All you need now is a beautiful subject, and you automatically have a beautiful, captivating photograph – right?  But what does it take to be an artist?  Part of it is developing the kind of eye that can(…)

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creativity exercise: creative motion blur

creativity exercise: creative motion blur

Photographers, especially beginning photographers, tend to select shutter speeds based on their ability to freeze the motion of the subject(s) within the frame. Breaking basic “rules” carefully and deliberately for artistic impact, however, can be a fantastic way to take your work beyond the norm … so this month, let’s utilize motion blur to establish aesthetic interest, create visual rhythm, tell a richer story, or contribute to a particular mood or atmosphere.

There are two primary approaches to motion blur:
1) Mobile(…)

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