First of all, what is creativity? As a point of departure, I offer the following; Creativity is “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations.” What does this means to us as photographers? At the most basic level, it means that we want to take pictures that show something in an interesting or new way. In our attempt to do this, we often turn to new equipment, new techniques, or post-processing magic. These avenues may indeed help to elevate the creativity in our photos. I’m going to suggest, however, that if you want to take more creative photos, the first thing to do is to put down your camera and look inward rather than outward. It is not your camera or your surroundings that creates a beautiful and meaningful photograph; It is you! Creativity comes from what you, the living, breathing, beautiful person brings to the mix. This is why even when we have “the best” technical skills and equipment our photos may still lack creativity.
Very simply, our creativity is rooted in our feelings. So, if we want to express that creativity, we need to be in touch with our own emotions. Unfortunately, it is also our emotions that facilitate resistance to creative expression. How often have you had a bad day and thought, I am just not feeling the photo thing today? In instances like this, what is likely happening is that you don’t want to photograph your “real” emotions of frustration or sadness or disappointment, etc. We have this unrealistic expectation that all of our photos should elicit beauty and happiness. That is not the way art or life works. For our work to be genuine, it has to come from within, whatever that looks like. The more honest we are with the way we feel, the more freely our creativity will flow.