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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: off with their heads!

creativity exercise: off with their heads!

Because breaking the rules is oh so much FUN!

The challenge:  One of the first things to draw the viewer’s eye in any given image is the human face. For this exercise, your image has to draw the viewer in in other ways. Present a portrait of a person that EXCLUDES the head. Cut off should be no higher than the neck, no lower than the waist. Do your best to include some clues in the image that tell us something(…)

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creativity exercise: groups of three

creativity exercise: groups of three

There’s something special about threes in art; the Rule of Thirds is obviously a good example of the prominent role of three in artistic composition. Notably, elements in groups of three can also strengthen an image’s composition – perhaps because many people unconsciously impart religious and/or cultural significance to such a grouping. Three items together creates a pleasing sense of balance and repetition.

This time the mission was to compose an image comprised of some sort of trio-based grouping. Participants could(…)

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creativity exercise: fork, knife or spoon

creativity exercise: fork, knife or spoon

I know – totally bizarre, right?  When I first read the challenge I was all “Um….okay….can’t wait to see how people approach this one”.  But then the sum total of my creativity could fit in a thimble so I should have known I would be amazed yet again by the creativity I’m surrounded with every day at Clickinmoms.

The exercise challenged members to find a way to make the ordinary extraordinary. Shoot a fork, knife,or spoon (or any combination thereof). The(…)

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creativity exercise: shooting indirectly

creativity exercise: shooting indirectly

Many surfaces have reflective qualities — glass, metal, water, even highly polished wood. Take a walk around your house/neighborhood/city/etc, and pay attention to reflective surfaces. When you set out to find reflections, you might be surprised at the variety of surfaces capable of catching and reflecting the light. Also pay attention to the way that the shape (and even texture) of the surface changes the way subjects/scenes appear (as opposed to when they are viewed directly). How can you use(…)

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creativity exercise: photographer in the frame

creativity exercise: photographer in the frame

Technically, all shots are taken from the photographer’s perspective (after all, that is your head behind the camera, right?), but this week, take a shot that really makes the viewer feel like she is seeing the world from your eyes. Look down (yes, right now, and without your camera), and what do you see? Your arms, hands, legs, feet … your body! Bring that into the frame.

Take a shot that tells us something about you and incorporates some part(…)

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