Get Some Perspective: tips for achieving creative images

Get Some Perspective: tips for achieving creative images

One of the things I love about photography is that each individual photographer has their own style, vision and “eye” for how they want to execute a shot. There are tons of different variations, perspectives, angles and compositions you can achieve with one shot. I learned this very quickly back when I took Sarah Wilkerson‘s Shooting 301: Composition and Creativity workshop. None of us interpreted the assignments exactly the same and we all had our own spin. The class pushed us to be creative and step out of our safe zone. It was fun to see everyone’s assignments from week to week, all the creativity, variation & ideas. It was also awesome to hear feedback and critique because sometimes it turned into an a-ha moment. Here are a couple images I took in Sarah’s Composition & Creativity workshop that ran May 2011.

how to get creative compositions with your photographs

Because everyone varies so much on how they interpret and see things, it’s fun to go shooting with a friend and see how your images of the same subject can vary so greatly. From the lens choice, lighting angle to the composition, perspective, etc. there are so many variables to take into account so you can achieve the result you want.

creatively composing your photographs

When you shoot, think about the intended result you want the viewer to be able to read. Are you trying to create a pretty shot you can frame in your house, tell a story, highlight a particular time in your subject’s life, be creative, capture your subject in action, create dramatic lighting, make your viewer feel a certain way (happy, emotional, uncomfortable)? Try to take your result into account when you’re shooting.

photography tutorial on how to creatively compose your photographs

photography tips to creatively compose your photos

Sometimes you compose your shot to tell a story. In this image below, I wanted to use it to document a particular time in my life. I wanted to remember that I had to go to the doctor every week for months and that each time my son was with me.  Almost every visit my mom came to help watch Garrett and to be with me because she was excited and wanted to be there. I wanted to capture that moment so that one day (when he is old enough) I can show the baby their excitement through pictures. I composed the shot to include as much context as possible. If I cropped in more,  it wouldn’t have told the story I wanted it to because without all the context it wouldn’t have had the same meaning.

how to get interesting photography compositions

Here’s another example. My goal was to include as much context as possible here, too. I want to put it in his 3 year book so he can remember the time when we painted for three days straight together.

photography workshops for creative composition

Sometimes you don’t care about context or telling a story and you compose your shot for a different purpose or sometimes purely for aesthetics. In Sarah’s workshop, we all had to pick a series of shots and compose the shots in 3 different ways. It really got our creative juices flowing. It was fun and easier and more natural as the weeks went on. This is an activity you can also do on your own.

composing photographs creatively

As you can see from my examples of the snapshots I took of my son, a lot of times the lens you choose helps to achieve your intended result. If you don’t have multiple lenses to switch out, don’t worry – you can still change your positioning, location from the subject, etc. to capture the kind of images you want.

Remember not to be too hard on yourself when you’re in a rut or having trouble composing shots the way you want and just keep shooting. Eventually you will get out of it and good things will happen!  It is great to challenge yourself to be better, but just don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t quit! I notice the times when I am hardest on myself are the times when I struggle the most creatively.

composing pictures creatively

Here are some other ways you can force yourself to think differently when in a rut:

  1. take a class/workshop (Clickin Moms has a ton of awesome classes to chose from)
  2. go location scouting for a new place
  3. change lenses
  4. change your distance from the subject
  5. focus on a small detail
  6. stand up and get over the subject (or make some other shift in position). changes in perspective make for neat shots.
  7. take several shots in a row of the same subject and challenge yourself to change your composition each time.
  8. while still being YOU, get inspired by studying the work of photographers you love & admire
  9. focus on one skill for a day, week, month (work at your own pace).
  10. do a 365 project. shooting everyday is an awesome habit to get into because it forces you to constantly practice, think of new ideas and change it up.
  11. find ways to frame your subject in your shot
  12. participate in a project or challenge (there are always opportunities on Clickin Moms. check out “the way I view” monthly project to see if that is up your alley or just go to the creativity exercises or challenges and games board to see what is going on).
  13. stop to think about what you want to convey, then take the whole frame into account before snapping
  14. go shooting with a friend. pick a subject (the same for both of you) and compare images
  15. ask questions or post your images on the critique forum to get feedback
  16. challenge yourself to use and see light in different ways
  17. if your kids are hard to photograph, scout out a fun and cooperative subject you are excited about to help get out of a rut

I challenge you to step out of your usual niche; change it up and force yourself to compose shots in ways that are a little out of your ordinary!

About the Author:

Kelly Garvey is a natural light photographer in Houston, TX. She prefers a candid, natural, relaxed approached over the classic “portrait session” and loves photographing real connections and emotions wherever she can find them: kids, families, weddings, engagement, newborns, you name it. Though always loving photography by growing up in a house with a photographer dad and a job in the fashion industry, it wasn’t until her son was born in 2008 that she acted on her interest, found her style & pursued photography as a career. Visit Kelly Garvey online.


  1. Courtney Mar 13 2012 at 7:47 am - Reply

    Kelly, this is a fantastic post!! I will be bookmarking it so when I get in my rut I will know exactly where to come for inspiration! Your images always inspire me!!!

  2. Amy Lucy Mar 13 2012 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing all these wonderful tips with us, Kelly! You are definitely a pro at creative composition! Love all these images. 🙂

  3. Rachel Potter Mar 13 2012 at 8:07 am - Reply

    Wonderful post!!!! Thank you!

  4. wilma Mar 13 2012 at 8:44 am - Reply

    I really loved this post. Thanks for helping us all to push ourselves to better places!

  5. jennifer Mar 13 2012 at 8:52 am - Reply

    Kelly this is an awesome post! I love the images you included with it too! Beautiful compositions!!! 🙂

  6. Lisa (Tout Petit Pix Mar 13 2012 at 9:21 am - Reply

    Kelly you rock!! And your images are such an inspiration <3

  7. Elicia Mar 13 2012 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    Love your work Kelly. Great post.

  8. Elizabeth Mar 13 2012 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    What a great piece! Thank you for your hard work! You are certainly an inspiration.

  9. Erin Mar 13 2012 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    This was a great read for me! I'm just a momographer! I take pictures of my friends' kids but really have no interest in making it a career for now. I'm a teacher and that pays the bills. I really love thinking about a daily challenge in which I'm forced to pick up my "big" camera! Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Leah Cook Mar 13 2012 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    FANTASTIC and inspirational advice, Kelly!! your images are so FUN!!

  11. kdokoza Mar 13 2012 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Wonderful advice Kelly – the list you've shared is very helpful! Always enjoy looking at your images 😉

  12. Cyndi Mar 13 2012 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Wow, this is really good stuff here!

    Seriously, this is like several workshop assingments in one neat little blog, and the photos help to explain the point! Thank you so much for this. Me and my 12 year old son(future photographer) will head out on our assignments and explore with these tips in mind for sure!!

  13. Amii Mar 13 2012 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    You are so creative with your shots, Kelly! Love this article!

  14. Claire Lane Mar 14 2012 at 2:03 am - Reply

    Great post Kelly! Will definitely return to that list – thank you!

  15. Stephanie Belton Mar 14 2012 at 3:03 am - Reply

    Great post Kelly! It was a pleasure taking Sarah's course with you last year.

  16. Amber Cullum Mar 14 2012 at 5:31 am - Reply


    Thanks so much! I am glad I took the time to click over and read your post. I have been wanting to take a certain set of shots for my son second birthday, but am so busy preparing for visitors that I was just going to let it go. Not now….I know I need to do it for the future. Thanks for the inspiration.

    I love the OB doc office shot…..INCREDIBLE!!!!!

  17. Lacey Mar 14 2012 at 8:25 am - Reply

    Awesome!!! I love these shots and especially love the story in the OB office!

  18. Kristin Mar 15 2012 at 6:54 am - Reply

    Really enjoyed this post. The first photo with the cereal is one of my favorites I've seen on CM ever!

  19. Jodi Mar 15 2012 at 7:51 am - Reply

    Love these tips for mixing it up and shooting using different perspectives, Kelly! Love your work!

  20. Mara Vaughan Mar 15 2012 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for this post! It was very thoughtfully written and I love the images you chose to share with us! I am definitely printing this one out for future reference. 🙂

  21. Amanda Mar 16 2012 at 1:59 am - Reply

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!! Your shots are so wonderfully creative and very inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  22. Tish Mar 16 2012 at 2:32 am - Reply

    This is such a great post! Thank you for sharing! You really gave me some key things to think about as I am shooting!!

  23. Kim Mar 16 2012 at 5:18 am - Reply

    Thanks Kelly…I belong to a camera club at the rec center at our church. I am going to share this with our members. Love the hands on the monkey bars…want to do this with my grandkids this summer!

  24. jessica Mar 19 2012 at 9:00 am - Reply

    Love this post! Great stuff to think about!

  25. Kerri Mar 20 2012 at 7:15 am - Reply

    Kelly, I love this post. Just wanted to tell you that I put this suggestion to use over the past few days and have been so happy with the results -> "take several shots in a row of the same subject & challenge yourself to change your composition each time."

  26. Sandy Young Mar 20 2012 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Awesome tips, Kelly, thanks! I needed this!

  27. valerie Mar 20 2012 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    omgosh! i need this! i will be referring back to this post many, many times 🙂

    thank you, thank you!!! <3

  28. Amy Mar 21 2012 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    Great tips, thanks for sharing!

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