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Learning to See Creatively

An Article By Ken Caleno

Learning to See Creatively

Learning to see creatively - Developing a creative eye is about seeing things in a different way. A personal visual opinion rather than obvious point of view. When we first use a camera we take pictures of all the obvious things around us:

  • Landmarks
  • People we know
  • Family pets
  • Uncle George etc

This is all a very necessary part of learning photography and after repeatedly taking these pictures, boredom can creep in.

If we get bored enough, we tend to look further than the obvious for our photographic subjects. Hopefully encouraging us to interpret these subjects in a different manner. However, as we so often see, some people continuously take boring pictures until they become experts at doing so.

The problem is that we all have pre-conceived ideas about how something should look and that is what we photograph. So, if we want to be creative we must drop these pre-conceptions and start looking at things from a small child's "innocence".

To clarify...

  • 1
    What would a worm see if it looked up?
  • 2
    Spend a day taking photos of everyday things from a height of 600mm to 800mm, how a small child would view them.
  • 3
    Isolate part of an overall scene, using the camera’s viewfinder.
  • 4
    Show things how they are not normally viewed.
  • 5
    Use light creatively, to show texture.
  • 6
    Give mood to, or produce silhouetted shapes.
  • 7
    Use telephoto lenses for landscapes, wide angle lenses for portraits.
  • 8
    Take photos into the sun.
  • 9
    Take pictures while jumping in the air.
  • 10
    Place horizons where you want them to be.

After a while creative vision becomes as natural as breathing, and when this occurs, you can concentrate on capturing the moment:

  • The peak of action
  • A fleeting glance
  • Certain lighting conditions

Learn all the "rules" of composition, and then see how many you can break while still communicating powerful images. Try not focusing on the point of interest. Instead focus on shape, or form. Decide what you want to emphasise, what message you want to convey to the viewer.

Picture in Picture

A part of learning to see creatively is to look for pictures within pictures. Try looking at a scene through a 28mm wide-angle lens. Then change to a 100mm telephoto lens and see how many different pictures you can isolate within that scene.

When you possess the ability to creatively "see", you will never again have to worry about the problems encountered in photography or anything that may have to do with your camera equipment. But how will you know when you have reached the level of being an "A-1" lens-person. With the ability to see things from a photographic perspective?"

Practice, practice, practice and apply everything you have learnt from photography to your shooting sessions. As they say, practice makes perfect, and as I say:

"Perfect Practice makes Perfect"

And you must learn how to utilise all the techniques required until they have become second nature to you. You need to know how and when to utilise the required techniques of photography and camera, and lenses to create the images you want. Finally providing the answers to those questions which you have kept asking yourself.

To know whether you are doing things right when learning to "see" creatively​. Are you asking yourself the three basic questions before you embark on a shooting session or assignment?

Remember. They are:

  • 1
    What is the main subject of the photograph?
  • 2
    How do I highlight the main subject of the photograph?
  • 3
    What do I leave out?

About the Author: My name is Ken Caleno. My home is New Zealand. I have been an active photographer for over 40 years and have a diploma in photographic imaging, academic level 6.

I frequently photograph weddings and Natural portraits. My main equipment is Canon EOS film-based, but I also use an Olympus Camedia C-350 zoom digital camera (D-560 zoom in the US.

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