- The Most Creative Photograph I’ve Ever Taken
Defining creativity is hard. Sure, dictionary fan clubs would disagree, but nailing it down in real-world term is difficult. It’s so subjective.
Finding creativity even harder. Some people discover it within themselves, and some look to external sources.
The word inspiration is thrown around a lot in this domain, generally accepted as the path to creativity. But, it’s just as subjective as creativity.
All this begs the question: how on earth can you be a more creative photographer?
…is the path as murky as it seems?
We’d like to think that it’s as murky — or clear for that matter — as you make it.
It’s all about your attitude, and persistence. Persistence in trying new things, pushing yourself, and breaking rules while you’re at it.
To whet your appetite, we’ve pulled together the most creative images they’ve ever taken. You’ll notice some similarities, and also some variations, in how they approach and think about creativity.
Creativity, to me, is pushing yourself out of your comfort zone into new terrain. I often find that the best way to do this is to explore an entirely different genre to what you’re used to. The most creative shot I’ve ever taken came together during one of these experiences.
I was given the task of creating a display window image for The Flour Factory to promote the Perth Fashion Festival. The photograph needed to link the fashion world with the theme of 'flour', a throwback to the restaurant’s history as a flourmill.
Usually I'm a fan of guerrilla shooting.
Getting in, nailing the shot, and getting out of there — with as little fuss as possible. This time was different.
Shot in a secluded Oxfordshire forest, the process involved hair flicks, dress swishes, and several bags of flour tossed in the air by assistants. But, the real challenge lay in the post-processing. How do you turn a fairly ordinary image into something ethereal and beautiful?
The final iteration of the dress comprised of three different images. Similarly, the cloud of flour was built with various layers, and enhanced with smoky brushes in post. The colour tone was manipulated to create a darker, more surreal atmosphere. Even the background has been stitched together from multiple shots to enhance the depth of field.
In total, the time spent on this one image was equal to the amount of time I might sometimes spend on entire campaigns.
Every part of the process was a learning curve — and that's why this is the most creative photo I've taken.
For me, like many photographers, looking at other people’s work on platforms such as Instagram is a great way to get inspired and get the creativity flowing. But I’ve recently started exploring the question: When does it start to hinder one’s creativity?
Can it eventually suppress your creativity and force you into replication — be it consciously or not?
Let’s face it — when you’ve seen the same location posted day-in and day-out online, it’s pretty easy to set up your camera with a preconceived composition without looking for the alternative. Already knowing how you’re going to edit before you’ve even pressed the shutter.
For the reasons above, I love shooting places I’ve never visited or seen shot before.
They force me into a creative headspace. They make me think about my composition, the vibe I’m trying to create, and then make me edit accordingly.
This image is exactly that. It was taken at a temple about 35 minutes outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A temple I’d never previously visited or seen an image of.
Technically it’s quite a simple shot; but visually I wanted to capture the way the midday sun cast perfect geometric shadows from the lanterns that ran parallel to the horizon. Emphasising the beauty of the lanterns and temple roofs was also my goal when taking this image. To do this I edited as if it were a frame of two halves — the clean desaturated black and white of the stone and shadows contrasting against the vibrancy of the lanterns, rooftops and sky. It’s the most creative shot I’ve ever taken.
This is one of the most creative shots I've ever taken.
I wanted to achieve a lot of movement without any photo manipulation. By hanging out the side of a moving train — don’t do that at home (!) — and keeping the camera as still as possible, I turned the vision in my head into an image. I’m still impressed with the outcome; it’s still one of my favourite shots, mainly because it’s different.
Trying to create different images — ones that stand out from the rest — drives me. It inspires me daily to pickup my camera and try new things.
My favourite style to shoot is dark and moody urban nights with bokeh. Usually I do this in my home city of Brisbane. I like to use depth-of-field to draw the viewers into what I'm focused on, and give them front-row seats inside my viewfinder.
My advice for all photographers — from amateur to professional — is to never stop learning and evolving. It's like technology.
Never fear change, just embrace it.
I find it hard to shoot a lot due to work and other commitments. How do I continue to retain my creativity when I can't go out? I’m always inspired and supported by my community pages. They help to get me back out there clicking buttons and making pictures.
Share your most creative shot with us on Instagram and tag #CanonAustralia.
Daniel Tran reflects on his competition-winning image from Vivid Sydney. Read more here.
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