- How to Be More Creative: Use Your Camera's Manual Mode
- Ignore the "Rules of Photography"
- Take on a Photography Project
- How to Develop Your Creative Eye: Print Your Photos
- Your Photos Are Special. Treat Them That Way
- Ways to Make Money as a Photographer Without Taking More Photos
- What do I want this photo to say about this object?
- Where could I get better light than from where I’m currently standing?
- How do I want to compose this image?
- Would the emotion of the picture be better portrayed in black and white?
- Are there any unusual angles I’m forgetting about?
Photo by Motah on Unsplash
I think one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves as photographers is that you have to be born with a creative eye in order to be great.
There are easy steps you can complete to develop your creative eye for photography. Reading beginner photography tips is a start, but if you really want to learn how to develop your creative eye for photography, you may need to work on being more creative in your everyday life.
Table of Contents
How to Be More Creative: Use Your Camera’s Manual Mode
Photo by Orange Photos on Unsplash
I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again. There is no better way to learn your camera, to learn photography or to learn about yourself as a photographer than using the manual mode on your camera.
A lot of times, learning your camera’s manual mode gets forgotten in the pursuit for creative energy because it’s technical and people often forget that technicalities and artistic juices work hand in hand.
But you can’t be as creative as you want in photography if you don’t have the tools to be.
I started my photography journey by shooting photos the way my creative brain told me I wanted to. Then, I’d open the aperture as far as the camera could go and take it again. Then I’d manipulate the shutter speed, and then, the ISO.
At first, I made a lot of mistakes - tons of overexposed and underexposed photos. But in the process of making those mistakes, I learned the value of understanding how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO work, both independently and together.
By practicing this creative photography hack, I learned to not only use my camera’s manual mode but to develop my creative eye.
Not sure how to use manual mode? Check out the tutorial by Julia Trotti in the video above.
Ignore the “Rules of Photography”
photo by RapidEye via iStock
So, first you need to know the rules of photography. The most basic rule, the rule of thirds, is so ingrained in our society that even our phones come with a setting that allows you to shoot by way of the rule of thirds.
After you know the rules of photography, though, you should start to ignore the rules of photography when necessary.
One of the things my friend was warned about in journalism school was to never shoot a photograph with anything coming out of anybody’s heads.
A lot of the students would forget to check the surroundings of photos of important politicians because they were so immediately concerned about bringing a photo back to their editors.
Well, my friend intentionally ignored this rule in order to snap an incredible photo of a well-known and well-liked politician surrounded by a huge crowd of people. A large pine tree was immediately behind the politician. Instead of it looking like the tree was growing out of his head, however, the pine tree gave the politician a look of importance. He looked larger than life.
She won a photojournalism award for the picture.
So, the key to ignoring rules in photography is to do it intentionally. Again, you’ll make some mistakes and wonder why you’re ignoring the rules to begin with, but when you do it with a purpose, often you can capture more creative photos.
Need more inspiration for breaking photography rules? Check out the video above by Eric Rossi.
Take on a Photography Project
photo by georgeclerk via iStock
Developing your creative eye is also not as easy as reading an article on our website. It takes dedication. Creative photography hacks will only get you so far, but sometimes you need to learn to think out of the box and for yourself.
Taking on a photography project is the part of our list where your creative capabilities can shine if you let them, because I’m not giving you a specific project to do.
I’ll give you examples, though. Just don’t cheat!
One photography exercise I like to do is to go for a walk somewhere familiar. I want to train my eye to see things I would otherwise ignore in my day-to-day life.
photo by Ivan4es via iStock
So, while I’m on a walk in my neighborhood, I’ll randomly stop every few blocks and observe anything that grabs my attention.
Then, I’ll ask myself a series of questions:
Another photography project I have taken on before is to take at least a single photo every day for a year. You don’t have to do it for a whole year, you can do it for a month or for two weeks or whatever suits you best. But, everywhere you go you must have your camera on you.
How to Develop Your Creative Eye: Print Your Photos
Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash
Another pertinent beginner photography trick everyone forgets about is to see your photos on a medium other than a computer screen.
Your photography really takes on a life of its own once it is up on your dining room or living room wall. You can see it every day, learn to criticize it, and eventually learn how to take even better photos than the photo you once thought was your absolute best.
For my prints, I use CanvasHQ because they are almost always doing a deal that will save you between 30% and 35%.
Plus, CanvasHQ has a team of photography experts who are always double-checking your work (i.e. they won’t print a photo where your subject has two photoshopped arms or where the picture isn’t composed for optimal printing).
Finally, I’ve had my first CanvasHQ print hanging outside in my covered patio for over five years and it hasn’t faded at all. This is thanks to their high-quality ingredients, including fade-proof ink that will last for generations.
Heck, even the parts of the canvas you don’t see are spectacular - the kiln-dried wood frames are handcrafted to ensure they’re straight and square, and will keep the canvas nice and tight for years to come.
You’ll never feel like a real creative photographer until you can enjoy your creativity every day, and to do that, I recommend having a few prints made. Truly - seeing your work on a wall is excellent motivation to keep learning, keep practicing, and developing your creative eye.