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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Boosting Creativity

A fun day with Ted Torres - Elvis Tribute Artist

Recently, I attended a Canon Explorers of Light lecture with Rick Sammon at the Southeast Center of Photography. One of his tips for creativity was, what he termed, “stealing” other artists’ ideas. He gave a visual example that he created where he took Rembrandt’s painting The Girl With the Pearl Earring and replicated it as a photo. The model’s looks, the clothing and the lighting were exact. The only difference was that it was a photo, not a painting. If you are a true beginner in the world of photography, this is one way you can learn a specific technique. As far as using this technique to enhance creativity, I don’t agree. If you are a developed photographer, using other artists’ ideas to stimulate creativity makes more sense if you take one piece, such as their lighting, and put it into a photo of your own. You can never have your own voice if you are constantly replicating other people’s work. Find something that inspires you and make it your own.

I highly recommend that novice photographers use tutorials to not only learn techniques, but to learn new ways to use their camera and lighting equipment. Following tutorials will ultimately help you to develop your style, even if you don’t particularly like what it is teaching you. Learning what you don’t like is just as important as learning what you do like. You can also visually develop your style. By looking at other artists’ work, you know what you are drawn to. For example, if you walk into a bookstore, what section is your favorite for looking at photos? Keep your mind open and follow your instincts.

As a pro photographer, I actually stimulate my creativity by putting my camera down. I photograph so much for my clients that it’s hard to think creatively and come up with fresh ideas while I’m in the thick of it. I feel most refreshed when I’ve had time to clear my head and brainstorm ideas without any preconceived thoughts or notions. There have been studies done showing that the best brainstorming sessions happen when there are absolutely no interruptions. My favorite time is in the morning, just as the sun comes up. Sometimes I am inspired simply by seeing the way light hits different things.

Get creative and keep shooting!

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