(originally posted 5/9/12)
Talent….creativity…..vision……composition……execution……processing…..Every time we go out shooting we partake in all of these activities. How successful we are is somewhat dependent upon our photographic skills, but also, part of our success is dependent upon our “creative muscles”.
What is a “creative muscle” you ask? Well, for me, when I’m shooting it’s the mental, emotional and spiritual energies I use to visualize, compose and execute my shots. It is also just the act of honing your compositional skills; being able to walk up to a scene and properly judge the quality of the light, the angles that would make the best compositions, spot distracting elements, and knowing your camera and tools well enough to shoot under almost any conditions.
Just like a regular muscle, our creative muscles need to be exercised. If not, they will atrophy and you’ll find it harder and harder to come home with pleasing images. So how does someone exercise their creative muscles? Why, go out and shoot of course! Shoot as often as you can, in good weather, in bad weather. Try “comfortable” compositions and also try to experiment with different compositions or techniques. If you don’t like the results, delete them. What if you can’t get out and shoot as much as you’d like to? You can continue to exercise your muscles even without a camera in your hands. As you move through your day, be observant of your surroundings and play the “composition game”. You can do this inside or out. Additionally, be a student of the light. Observe the light around you, whether inside or out; what is it’s temperature, what kinds of images would look best in this light, etc.
Besides exercising our physical muscles to live a long and healthy life, we need to exercise our creative muscles to have a rewarding photography life.