5 ways to stay creative with your photography

5 ways to stay creative with your photography

Anyone that is familiar with my work at all knows one thing…I love to shoot ONE subject.

That’s it.

One. One subject. One child. One Boy.

I have shot my fair share of landscapes…of flowers…of buildings…of babies…of sunsets…of friends and relatives…and I love all of those images. Honestly, I really, really love them. I am delighted to give gifts and to make others happy through images. It continually challenges me and pushes me in different ways, and I am sincerely grateful for that push.

Those images, however, are not where my Creative Heart truly lies; where my Mommy Heart lies. I really and truly love to shoot one subject.

Over the course of my photography journey, I have had so many people ask me legitimate questions, such as: Doesn’t he ever get tired of having his picture taken? How can you come up with new ideas? How do you keep from burning out? What do you do if you are in a rut?

I wish I had one perfect answer for all of those questions, but, unfortunately, I do not. I will, however, share with you a few ideas that have helped both of us along the way.

1. Let go

I have to admit that my son has a lot more energy than I have…a lot more enthusiasm and zest for life…a lot more imagination. Any idea that I would even attempt to envision looks tired and boring compared to his. If you see an image of mine that has energy and imagination—guaranteed it was his idea. For example, my idea was to take a picture of him eating his favorite candy…

photo of boy eating reeses pieces by Jan Tyler

His idea was to throw the candy and make it bounce across the table…

picture of kid throwing candy by Jan Tyler

My idea was for him to hold an orange. His idea was to peel the orange and throw the little pieces of orange peel at my face…

collage of photos of boy with oranges by Jan Tyler

I’m sure you can guess which images have the most energy and capture the most natural expressions, the most authentic smiles, and the most fun and laughter. So, let go. Let your child lead. You may have a bit of a mess to clean up, but it will definitely be worth it…and they will enjoy that time you spent together so much more.

2. Create a series

This is a wonderful way to document events, places, or periods in your child’s life. I have completed several different “chapters” in this great photography project of ours. We have done a series on his favorite candies…

photo of a boy with his favorite candy by Jan Tyler

We have done a series on his favorite food, fruit…

boy who loves fruite by Jan Tyler

child enjoying fruit by Jan Tyler

We have done a toy series…

black and white photos of a boy playing with his toys by Jan Tyler

kid and his favorite toys by Jan Tyler

…and a water series…

water photos by Jan Tyler

Using a series is such a wonderful way to show change over time. What is so important today will be a memory soon enough.

3. Use a new lens

It is so amazing how the exact same type of image can take on an entirely different look with a new lens.  These are both basic portraits. One is taken with a 50mm, the other with a Lensbaby.

portrait of boy with a 50mm lens by Jan Tyler

portrait of boy with a Lensbaby lens by Jan Tyler

Change your vision with a different lens.

4. Say something

Have a message in your work. Use your art to make a change. What would you like to tell others?

boy holding peace sign by Jan Tyler


boy running to the top of a hill with sunflare by Jan Tyler

race to the top…as it should be

boy dressed as a cowboy by Jan Tyler


boy dressing up by Jan Tyler

we are all the same

love yourself by Jan Tyler

love yourself

boy holding heart by Jan Tyler

show your love
…what a wonderful world this would be…

5. Be inspired

Inspiration is everywhere…you just need to look for it. Be inspired by color, music, art, light…

on location photos by Jan Tyler

Be inspired by life…

beautiful photos by Jan Tyler

And when all else fails, ask for a kiss. You are guaranteed to receive a different, wonderful reaction each time!

mother and son photos by Jan Tyler


About the Author:

Jan Tyler of OneBoyPhotography is a natural light photographer living outside of Charleston, SC with her husband and son. Her son is the main subject of OneBoyPhotography and the inspiration for her love of light. She uses a minimalist approach to her photography, with a strong focus on the connections between the subject and the viewer. She often uses the Lensbaby to help isolate and draw the viewer's attention to her subject. Visit Jan Tyler online.


  1. Nicole S. Mar 03 2015 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    So inspiring, Jan! I love the idea to create a series. I was just feeling the need to add a bit of spark to photos of my son and these tips are so helpful!

    • JanTyler Mar 04 2015 at 9:24 am - Reply

      Fantastic, I’m so glad this was helpful!! …and thank you!! <3

  2. Jen Mar 03 2015 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    These photos are so beautiful. I can only hope to take such gorgeous photos of my boys like this!

    • JanTyler Mar 04 2015 at 9:25 am - Reply

      Thank you! …and of course you can! You have every resource you could possibly imagine right at CM! <3

  3. Christina Mar 03 2015 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    I love these tips Jan! Especially the series one. I’m going to think of something to try with my boys! <3

    • JanTyler Mar 04 2015 at 9:25 am - Reply

      Oh, awesome!! I KNOW your series will be amazing! …and thank you! <3

  4. AnnaVanDemark Mar 03 2015 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    These are great tips that can be applied to any subject matter, Jan! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and lovely images.

    • JanTyler Mar 04 2015 at 9:26 am - Reply

      Thank you, Anna! <3

  5. Sonja Mar 03 2015 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    These are great ideas, Jan! And I love to see so many of your photos in one place.

    • JanTyler Mar 04 2015 at 9:26 am - Reply

      Thank you, Sonja! <3

  6. Jayne Cho Mar 03 2015 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    brilliant ideas here Jan – your creativity and love of photographing James is inspiring!

    • JanTyler Mar 04 2015 at 9:26 am - Reply

      Thank you, Jayne! <3

  7. jennifer nobriga Mar 03 2015 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    amazing advice jan!! i just love your creativity!!! <3

    • JanTyler Mar 04 2015 at 9:27 am - Reply

      Thank you, Jennifer! <3

  8. Michelle Zabriskie Mar 03 2015 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    I always love looking at your wonderful creative shots. You are always an inspiration. Plus you have a really great subject <3

    • JanTyler Mar 04 2015 at 9:27 am - Reply

      awww!!! Thank you, Michelle! <3

  9. Monique Keogh Mar 03 2015 at 9:18 pm - Reply


    • JanTyler Mar 04 2015 at 9:27 am - Reply

      Thank you! <3

  10. calvin Mar 04 2015 at 5:31 am - Reply

    inspiring tips, lovely pictures and tone curves.
    wish to learn how to work those curves!

    • JanTyler Mar 06 2015 at 7:14 pm - Reply

      Thank you! I do use Lightroom 5 for all of my tone curves. 🙂

  11. Jessica Mar 04 2015 at 11:05 pm - Reply

    Oh I love your series so so much! I’m actually working on a series myself. What do you use to make your collages? Love your work so beautiful!!!

    • JanTyler Mar 05 2015 at 10:05 am - Reply

      Thank you! <3 You can create templates in Photoshop, Lightroom, or Blogstomp to make collages. It is a fun way to group images for sure!

  12. Tammy Wahl Mar 05 2015 at 8:36 am - Reply

    Oh Jan, this is so fantastic! I love how you arranged this and it’s just so inspirational. I need to print this!!

    • JanTyler Mar 05 2015 at 10:06 am - Reply

      Thank you, Tammy! <3

  13. Kristy Mar 05 2015 at 9:32 am - Reply

    You are just amazing my friend. I absolutely loved this article and I am in LOVE with that B&W watermelon image- I don’t remember seeing that one before! <3

    • JanTyler Mar 05 2015 at 10:07 am - Reply

      Thank you, Kristy! That is definitely a summertime favorite! <3

  14. valerie Mar 05 2015 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    It’s been a wonderful thing to see your art over the years! Your growth as a photographer is magnificent, and your love of your one boy 😉 <3 Jan you're such an inspiration!!!

    • JanTyler Mar 06 2015 at 7:15 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much, sweet Valerie! <3

  15. Lisa Benemelis Mar 09 2015 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    I loved this article so much, Jan! Your work is gorgeous and I love the inspiration and tips you have shared with us. Thank you. 🙂

    • JanTyler Mar 13 2015 at 10:45 am - Reply

      Thank you, Lisa! <3

  16. katseye Mar 16 2015 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Great post! Very nice ideas for keeping a single subject looking fresh. I feel there is a lot of sameness in the pictures I take of my boys. I’ll try some of these ideas! 🙂

  17. Ashley Mar 26 2015 at 11:50 am - Reply

    Your work just takes my breathe away. What a treasure of images that sweet boy will have of his childhood <3

  18. elizabeth chan Mar 29 2015 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Hello Jan,
    what a fantastic write up – i have a little boy too. about to turn two and… it’s pretty terrible so i see these photos and can utterly envisage my LO getting up to the same tricks! rather than getting mad – get my camera and shoot 🙂 great idea! we can both have a laugh at it when he’s older.

    By the way, do u how how i can bookmark this article into my favourite pages within clickin moms? is there such a feature?

    Also, would u mind sharing which lensbaby you use most often? i notice quite a few cmpro moms using lensbaby so i am just doing some research into this.

  19. BobbiJo Apr 05 2015 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Jan! this is soo good! I love the series idea!

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