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Old 02-02-2009, 11:28   #1 (permalink)
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A Creativity Crisis..

Ok maybe not a crisis just yet.
I haven't been doing Photography long at all. A matter of months in fact.

I have been reading "Understanding Exposure" and I really feel the info is sinking in, I also think that I have got a better understanding of the Photographic triangle and I am using these to my advantage.

I have a few issues though. I don't think I am creative enough. I have ideas in my head but usually discard them because I don't have the equipment such as studio lighting etc.

I really want to improve my portraits especially. Does the creativity spark just come as you learn and develop more?

I hope I am not the only one who feels this way, that would make me feel rather silly.
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Old 02-02-2009, 11:54   #2 (permalink)
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Re: A Creativity Crisis..

You don't have to have studio lighting to do portraits

You can use natural light - outside or from a window and use reflectors to soften shadows. You can use tungsten lamps - anglepoise or plain table lamps - and change the white balance accordingly - use one or more lamps and reflectors.

The more you do, the better you will get. The creativity side for me is more in the composition and posing. Creative lighting might just be easier/better if you have to improvise rather than use proper kit.
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Old 02-02-2009, 11:57   #3 (permalink)
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Re: A Creativity Crisis..

Quote:
Originally Posted by darker1985 View Post
I have a few issues though. I don't think I am creative enough. I have ideas in my head but usually discard them because I don't have the equipment such as studio lighting etc.

I really want to improve my portraits especially. Does the creativity spark just come as you learn and develop more?
We all go through creative blocks now & again, so don't feel you are alone. My advice is keep the ideas simple.

For example re portraits, look at this shot that was taken with only window light from the left :-



You can then try different crops from same shot to get this :-



Note the use of a shallow Depth of Field adds another dimension of impact.

So my advice is , grab your family members & sit them next to a north facing window & shoot. Sit them at 90 degrees to window, then 60 degrees, then 30 etc.. & see how the shots change in terms of composition & shadow detail.

Next step, take a large piece of white card & place opposite side to subject from window. Use this to bounce some light back in to shadow areas. Once again play with angles etc.

Now go & play
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:03   #4 (permalink)
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Re: A Creativity Crisis..

Guys, thanks a lot.
I forgot to add that I prefer using natural light for portraits.

It is good to know I am not alone on this.
I will start to play around more, Next weekend should be great because I have some family members coming round and they want pictures of their kids.

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Old 02-02-2009, 13:32   #5 (permalink)
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Re: A Creativity Crisis..

I was going to popst something up about this so forgive me if I piggyback onto your thread. I feel exactly the same. I have no particular interest in portraiture over any other form of photography though. I see many pictures that make me go "WOW" like all of marcelin's macros, the water drop macros, the picture of Oban harbour, or the polar bear and so on however, there are some pictures that are well received that just seem to completely pass me by. I get the feeling that if I had taken them they'd be deleted without so much as a second glance. Obviously I'm not appreciating the effort or thought that has gone into them.

I wonder if it's just something that I'm blind to or (as I hope) that as I read and experiment more, I'll start to spot these things more and more. I know that when I'm takling pictures, I'm starting to notice the things that I should like reflections in the water, background colours, the rule of thirds (although I'm still trying to learn composure better like people walking into a shot rather than out of it and the main focus not being central and so on). I'm hoping that reading and trying will bring out my more creative side when it comes to setting pictures up. I never seem to get the picture that's in my head onto film.
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Old 02-02-2009, 14:46   #6 (permalink)
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Re: A Creativity Crisis..

No, I am glad you posted, we all need to say what we need a helping hand with and I have found that this forum is the best at helping people like us.

I too see the shots in my head but when I go for it myself I usually delete them, I think it is just a case of being patient and developing our skills further.

Maybe we are trying too much at one time.

I am going to start giving myself targets, some learning steps to follow.
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Old 02-02-2009, 19:30   #7 (permalink)
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Re: A Creativity Crisis..

"Fear is the mind killer", is a daft quote from David Lynch's 1984 film "Dune", largely memorable for Francesca Annis's role as the hero's mother, who brought a whole new, if unintentional, meaning to the term "Oedipus Complex".

Ms Annis apart, though, the quote does have a lot of meaning in this particular context. I find that newcomers to any field are fearful of being seen to make mistakes and that causes them to freeze up. In the days of film, the advice was to shoot a whole roll on a single subject. The idea was that, having chosen your subject, you would work around it, shooting from all angles, until you had exhausted the film, your subject's patience and your own ideas. 35mm, with a whole 36 shots to get through, was ideal. Using 6x9, which only gives 8 shots on a roll, was seen as a self-defeating cheat.

With digital, it costs nothing to run this exercise on a whole series of subjects and you can hide the "failures", if once you decide that's what they are. If you really want to learn to see images, try this:
  • Pick an unpromising, non-animate subject; something that you really think looks ugly, uninteresting and downright un-photogenic. A 1960s shopping parade is one idea, a corporation dustcart is another. The only other criteria is that it won't go anywhere for a quarter of an hour or so.
  • Move around your subject, shooting as fast as you can. Once you've framed the shot, shoot. DON'T move on without making that image.
  • Move in, move out, look up, look down, back right off and try making it stand out even when it's dwarfed by everything else, reverse the process, making your subject dominate its environment, pick out odd details, then find more and more.
  • Shoot in JPEG to get the maximum number of shots on the card and keep going until the "card full" message comes up.
  • If you're doing it right, you'll feel an urge to put a spare card in and carry on. Resist this at all costs.
  • Go home, upload the images and go through them, rapidly, at full screen, making no judgements but just seeing what you've got. Repeat this several times.
  • Now pick out ten images that you think really work. Put them to one side. Forget about this whole episode for a week or so.
  • Come back fresh and look at all the images again. Pick out your top ten, without looking at the first selection.
  • Compare the two selections. What's changed? What's the same? Why did you drop the ones you did? Why did you pick the new ones that you did?
The whole object of this is to free up your mind, get rid of that fear by teaching you that mistakes happen and sometimes they're a good thing. This WILL make you a better photographer by giving you confidence in your own decision making and image selecting prowess.

About four years after I started serious photography, I ran into a pretty solid block and a friend who was teaching at one of the London art colleges suggested this. I gave it a fair try and it worked like a charm, so I recommend it to anyone who thinks they're stuck. It doesn't matter if your interest is in portraits or posies, the point is to get your image making juices flowing and the way to do that is to make interesting pictures out of truly unpromising material.
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Old 02-02-2009, 20:28   #8 (permalink)
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Re: A Creativity Crisis..

Thanks for taking the time to post that.

Excellent information which in theory makes a lot of sense.
I will try this and see how I fair.
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