It’s time for another edition of our monthly series “Ask a CMpro” here on the CM photography blog in which we give our CMpros one question and they dish. Their answers alone are always inspiring and this week we asked them, “In photography, what does it mean to be creative?”
*image by Megan Dill
Pam Korman, Pennsylvania
For me, it is about trying new things and challenging myself. It is about not being complacent. I want to grow and evolve as a photographer and that means I need to experiment. It might mean experimenting with new subjects, new locations, new cameras, lens or film stocks. It might mean trying a new techniques or working on a new way to edit. Or, it might mean starting a whole new series or project. But, in the end, it always comes back to attempting something new or different.
Dana Tate, Missouri
Creativity is one of the most un-measurable aspects of art. Our location choices, how we pose, light, and how we interact with our subjects all come from a place of creativity or vision. For me creativity is taking the beauty I see in someone and drawing it out into a photograph. I do this not only through posing but lighting and lens selections. I love to challenge myself to exhaust a pose or a location to get as much out of it as possible, often at sessions I play a game with myself to see just how much I can get with out ever moving my client.
Megan Dill, New York
For me, to be creative is to shoot with purpose and vision, and involves conscious manipulation of gear, settings, light, perspective, composition, and processing to capture the envisioned mood or story. Creativity is challenging oneself to think differently in an effort to reveal the unapparent.
Katrina Gotschall, Nebraska
For me, creativity means to transcend what others might consider to be limitations. Here in Nebraska, we have been in a severe drought since last May. The landscape is dead and brown. For me, that means I have to think creatively about how to either embrace it in my images or how to “hide” it in my images. I live in a rural, small town, which some may see as limiting. There are no cool urban sculptures or buildings with a lot of interesting architecture, but because I love the story behind small historic towns, I try to creatively showcase those structures in a way that makes people think they are interesting, even though they may have never noticed them before. I think the true test of creativity lies in one’s ability to see what others may not and to carry out a vision that offers the viewer a perspective they hadn’t considered before.
Beth Wade, North Carolina
I think creativity means thinking outside the box yet still playing by the rules. With photography, it’s easy to find an angle, location, backdrop or pose that works well and use it repeatedly. While I value consistency, this repetitiveness can make my work feel stale. As an artist I would never paint the same thing twice! Scout new locations, try different angles or perspectives and play with light. Creativity is what keeps my photography feeling fresh and new!
Lissa Chandler, Arkansas
It sounds so simple (and maybe definitely cheesy?), but when I shoot creatively, I am shooting with my heart and not with my head. Everyone has to learn the same basic of rules of photography and, for everyone, those rules don’t change. It doesn’t matter whether you are a world famous photographer or whether you just picked up your camera yesterday- the rule of thirds is still the rule of thirds. But! When photographers start shooting creatively, they push boundaries and break rules in ways that no other photographer can duplicate. We all see things differently and, because of this, creativity in photography, I believe, is like seeing a piece of the photographer’s heart without ever seeing the photographer themselves. I love that! Creativity is a beautiful thing.
Melissa Stottmann, Delaware
Creativity is a hard term to define- and when it comes to photography, it’s even more difficult. For me, creativity doesn’t always mean doing something brand new, but instead working through inspirations and making them your own. Inspiration from paintings, books, movies, and other’s photography help to spur my own creativity and help me grow by taking bits and pieces and putting them together in my own way. Creativity is my end product based on my experiences.
Bethney Backhaus, Florida
For me, creativity is producing something new and fresh that hasn’t been seen before. Finding inspiration from within and producing something original instead of finding inspiration from external sources. I find it such a challenge to ignore all the ideas I’ve seen and truly shoot from my heart but I think that is where creativity stems. When I’m shooting like this I almost always get images that I cherish!
Anita Martin, California
For me being creative in photography is a long process where I fail more than I succeed. I spend time looking for inspiration in light and color from all things that make me personally happy (books, magazines, music, movies, my family). Then I take that inspiration and try and infuse a little bit of “me” into it and take that with me to a shoot. Then I use my subject’s personality to make it real. I am always thinking about, feeling, searching, sometimes grasping for my inspiration to turn into a final image. The creative part is finding a way to interpret my inspiration, and use the right inspiration with the right subject at the right location at the right time, and truly make the image my own.
Katie Woodard, Arizona
To me creativity is originality. I think it can be doing something that has never been done, or adding a new twist to something that has already been done. It may be new, it may be different, it may or may not work, but just going for it, is creativity to me.
Courtney Keim, New Jersey
For me, creativity is anything that forces me out of my comfort zone. As a math and physics person, I see things so black and white – no shade of gray. It is either right or wrong and there is a set way to get the result. You can only do it that way.
With photography, you can create an amazing photo in so many different ways and there are so many ways to see just one subject – case in point are the shoot-outs recently featured on the blog.
Caroline Jensen, Minnesota
Creativity in photography means letting the outside world drop away and creating images that come forth from your heart and soul. Like any art form, we are at our most creative when fear of rejection is muted and the work created is an extension of our voice and intentions.
Kristen Ryan, Illinois
Creativity in photography for me is about bringing my own unique voice, perspective, and heart into my images, whether that is executing a vision I have in my head or just capturing a genuine moment as it occurs. The more I shoot, the more I realize what really speaks to me in my images and as that voice becomes clearer, my creativity seems to become stronger.
Parikha Mehta, Pennsylvania
Creativity is about showing something ordinary in a new way. Since your vision is different from everyone else’s, that often involves pushing yourself outside the box, recognizing when to ignore the “rules”, and trusting your own instincts in order to effectively translate that unique voice in your head into a realized image.
Samantha Covert, Nova Scotia
Creativity means stepping out of my comfort zone to produce images that convey my message in a new and fresh way. I usually have an idea of what I’d like to achieve, and then at the time of shooting I try to “live in the moment” and it’s often when unexpected things happen that I end up with something truly unique.