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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 02 Feb 2014 (Sunday) 23:43
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How to improve my creative eye?

 
Tom ­ Reichner
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Feb 05, 2014 11:31 |  #31

Sibil wrote in post #16664984 (external link)
Here is an example, go outside and lay on the ground, look around you, you'll notice that everything looks differently than when you were looking at them standing up. Aha! A different perspective; see what I mean?

So, in this simple example, your eye and brain should be trained at seeing things, from different angles; from standing on a ladder to laying on the ground. Now combine this variation in perspective with how you pick a scene, an object, location, etc, and start evaluating color, light (angles, types, etc,) DOF, and you are beginning to scratch the surface.

Taking lots of shots, without going through this kind of homework, might not get you there.

In my opinion, this is the best advice in the thread thus far.

True creativity very often comes from the decision one makes as to where the camera will be, in relation to the subject(s), when the image is taken. Consider not only the angle from which the image is taken, but also the distance-to-subject, and, by extension, the relative distance between the primary subject and all of the other elements in the frame.

Unfortunately, this is often overlooked, or at least the importance of it is underestimated, even by many seasoned pros. For example, when I am shooting wildlife, and surrounded by many successful wildlife photographers, it always amazes me how many of them shoot from a comfortable standing position - even in cases where lying down and shooting from the ground will yield a far superior composition.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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sjones
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Feb 05, 2014 12:27 |  #32

rick_reno wrote in post #16664702 (external link)
Look at lots of photos...

This...osmotic instruction you might say, and as others have stated, observing art in general. For me, one of the most instructive exercises has just been the process of pegging my eyes to the works of other photographers. This is not advocacy for simple emulation, but instead, a means to better sort out and decipher any underlying visual 'language' that can help facilitate your own aspirations.

Of course, scrutinize all of your own photos as well; the ones you like, the ones you don't. What elements work, what don't. And through it all, don't be surprised if your expectations and demands change; this is evolving and organic.

Creativity is, in part, finding expressive cohesion, even if in the form of tension, among the understated or seemingly incongruent. Yes, in the broader scheme, it's a matter of trying to present in a uniquely compelling manner, but this often involves the fundamental understanding of the components: the use of lighting, lines, contrast, composition, perspective, colors, tones, and such.

Moreover, doing all of this without being pretentious, forced, gimmicky, or contrived is remarkably difficult, as is originality in general, particularly given the millions of photographs taken each hour worldwide.

Again, for me, and perhaps not others, the development of vision involves the discovery of aesthetic in that which I failed to see the day before.


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Firefloss
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Feb 06, 2014 02:37 |  #33

Sibil wrote in post #16664984 (external link)
No, it is not easy. But if you want to develop that "eye" it's a good start, among many other suggestions made by folks above. There are so many photo sharing threads on POTN that if you study them enough, and pay close attention to what people comment on, you'll start getting a feel for what makes the pics work, and sets them apart from just a snap shot. You'll start getting there when in everyday life, you start seeing things differently than you used to. Your eyes become camera lenses and you can see, in your mind, how any scene, object, etc would look like in a photo if photographed this or that way; again, perspective, light, DOF, color, etc.
Here is an example, go outside and lay on the ground, look around you, you'll notice that everything looks differently than when you were looking at them standing up. Aha! A different perspective; see what I mean?
So, in this simple example, your eye and brain should be trained at seeing things, from different angles; from standing on a ladder to laying on the ground. Now combine this variation in perspective with how you pick a scene, an object, location, etc, and start evaluating color, light (angles, types, etc,) DOF, and you are beginning to scratch the surface.
When looking at shared photos here on POTN, and a pic catches your eye, or others highly praise one, look for these elements in them and see if you can understand them. Then go out and see if you are able to replicate a praticular photo.
Taking lots of shots, without going through this kind of homework, might not get you there.

thank you for going detailed here :)




  
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gsouder
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Feb 07, 2014 23:38 |  #34

Something that I do a lot while I go through my day (with or without a camera) is to find something interesting everywhere. Don't think of it in photo terms at first, just interesting parts of where you are. Whether it's the shape of a building, a leaf in someone's hair, the way the light is rippling through a fence- Find something interesting everywhere you go.

Once you get good at seeing those things, then think about how you would capture them in a frame. Basically, crop the image out of your entire field of vision and into something a camera can capture. Do this for a week without a camera. Then, do it with the camera.

After you start to get a sense of what is interesting (to you) and how to crop out everything that isn't supporting the thing you find interesting, you've taken a huge step towards flexing that creative muscle.

From a purely creative perspective, I feel that using the camera first locks you into thinking about the technical parts of a photo. IMO, those things are distracting to the creative eye. You have to find what's interesting first, and then learn how to capture it in camera.


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Clean ­ Gene
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Feb 08, 2014 01:22 |  #35

1) Constantly be thinking, "what do I want to say?" Then learn how to effectively say it with your images.

2) Or not. Many people work more intuitively. That's fine. If that's the case, then just shoot what you shoot. But instead of asking "what do I want this to say," go back after shooting and ask, "what are these images saying?" Take a step back, try to distance yourself from your images and look at them from the perspective of an outsider, determine what the image is saying and if you're okay with that.

3) Apply the same process to your viewings of other people's work. Look at lots of work (and not necessarily photographs, but movies, TV shows, commercials, etc). Identify what you like, then start to figure out WHY you like it. Start to notice what things those images have in common. Compare this to your own work, see what qualities are in your work and if you're emulating specific things that you're seeing in other work. Maybe you're drawn to high contrasts and stark dualities, maybe you're fascinated by muted colors or dark imagery or tender emotional scenes. If so, figure that out. This won't necessarily result in better work, but it can result in a greater awareness of what kind of work turns you on, what qualities you're drawn to. And once you know that, you can then start to refine it and make it work for you.

4) Embrace failure. Especially for beginners, I like to think...if you aren't failing a LOT, then you aren't trying nearly hard enough. That's part of the process. Failing is freaking good, crappy images are freaking good, as long as they're the result of pushing your boundaries and as long as you're willing to LEARN from the failures. Some people like to brag about their "keeper rates" and talk about how "I'm so good, 85% of my images are satisfying to me." And that may be fine for certain people doing certain kinds of work, but I think it's the wrong attitude from a CREATIVE standpoint. The thing is, goals change. When someone first starts, they may be looking to get well-exposed images or images of simple pretty subjects that have a decent composition. That's fine. And You'll get better at that, and be more reliably able to do that with practice. But that's like, one of the FIRST goals that people tend to have. As you get better at that, you'll then start to think about how to APPLY that, then you'll start trying new things and most of your images will still be unsatisfying because your goals have changed. So basically, just be trying to constantly set new goals. Once you've mastered what you set out to do, don't stop there. Think about how you want to apply that mastery, then keep on pushing forward. And that'll still result in LOTS of failure. That's not a bad thing, that's a good thing. Perfection is boring as hell. Once you've achieved that, then what the hell is there left to do?




  
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Clean ­ Gene
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Feb 08, 2014 01:36 |  #36

InfiniteDivide wrote in post #16661103 (external link)
I like the idea of shooting in RAW and using an older 1 gig or smaller memory card without deleting photos.
It is a way to have a very limited number of shots and that forces you to stop and think about framing , to make the best you can with each.


Interesting idea. Sort of reminds me of what it was like to shoot for my large format class.

Did that force me to stop and think more before shooting? Hell yeah.

But I'd just like to point out a possible downside. I might have slowed down and spent more time thinking about what I was doing, but the higher investment involved with each shot almost certainly resulted in me playing it safe. I wasn't taking risky shots or pushing boundaries or thinking creatively. I was mostly just taking "safe" shots and putting all of my thought into making them look good.

There's nothing inherently wrong with that, I'm just pointing out a possible downside. Each time I released the shutter, there was a higher investment involved. Yes, that forced me to slow down and think, but it also largely forced me to stop taking risks. Pretty much all of my most INTERESTING work was shot on a DSLR with a spare memory card on hand, because the ability to do it over again allowed me more freedom to deliberately screw it up this time on some experimental BS.




  
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Clean ­ Gene
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Feb 08, 2014 01:48 |  #37

Sibil wrote in post #16664523 (external link)
Here is your chance. Look for beauty in the uninteresting place where you live. Make it your challenge to find perspectives and lighting that can turn the boring landscape around you into something special. When you can do this, you have begun to find your creative eye. It can be very frustrating, but an excercise worth pursuing, IMHO.


I'm definitely gonna agree with this.

More often than not, the "beautiful places" that people want to go are the same places that everyone else wants to go. Which means that those places are often tourist hotspots that are full of a bunch of people making images that are the same.

In any case, everyone has seen the Grand Canyon or the Eifel Tower looking good. That's precisely why people go there to make images, then they make images that are exactly the same as stuff that everyone has already seen before.

Not that I'm saying that unique images can't be made at such hotspots, but I find that one of the things that really stands out is whether or not I've seen this image before.

Everyone's seen the Grand Canyon or the Eifel Tower. Very few people have seen your backyard or the rust on the loading door of your local McDonalds. I'm not telling you to photograph that, because that probably doesn't interest you, but it'd probably interest ME as the viewer, if shot in the "correct" way. Taking something that everyone has seen before and making it look good is easy, and it looks good, but it's also often boring as hell because we've all seen it before. What interests me a lot more is when people photograph things that I have NEVER seen before, and then also manage to make it look good.




  
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Firefloss
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Feb 08, 2014 04:07 |  #38

gsouder wrote in post #16672768 (external link)
Something that I do a lot while I go through my day (with or without a camera) is to find something interesting everywhere. Don't think of it in photo terms at first, just interesting parts of where you are. Whether it's the shape of a building, a leaf in someone's hair, the way the light is rippling through a fence- Find something interesting everywhere you go.

Once you get good at seeing those things, then think about how you would capture them in a frame. Basically, crop the image out of your entire field of vision and into something a camera can capture. Do this for a week without a camera. Then, do it with the camera.

After you start to get a sense of what is interesting (to you) and how to crop out everything that isn't supporting the thing you find interesting, you've taken a huge step towards flexing that creative muscle.

From a purely creative perspective, I feel that using the camera first locks you into thinking about the technical parts of a photo. IMO, those things are distracting to the creative eye. You have to find what's interesting first, and then learn how to capture it in camera.

I guess we all start at the subject then walk through it with composition, light, etc nice tip! thanks! :)

Clean Gene wrote in post #16672880 (external link)
1) Constantly be thinking, "what do I want to say?" Then learn how to effectively say it with your images.

2) Or not. Many people work more intuitively. That's fine. If that's the case, then just shoot what you shoot. But instead of asking "what do I want this to say," go back after shooting and ask, "what are these images saying?" Take a step back, try to distance yourself from your images and look at them from the perspective of an outsider, determine what the image is saying and if you're okay with that.

3) Apply the same process to your viewings of other people's work. Look at lots of work (and not necessarily photographs, but movies, TV shows, commercials, etc). Identify what you like, then start to figure out WHY you like it. Start to notice what things those images have in common. Compare this to your own work, see what qualities are in your work and if you're emulating specific things that you're seeing in other work. Maybe you're drawn to high contrasts and stark dualities, maybe you're fascinated by muted colors or dark imagery or tender emotional scenes. If so, figure that out. This won't necessarily result in better work, but it can result in a greater awareness of what kind of work turns you on, what qualities you're drawn to. And once you know that, you can then start to refine it and make it work for you.

4) Embrace failure. Especially for beginners, I like to think...if you aren't failing a LOT, then you aren't trying nearly hard enough. That's part of the process. Failing is freaking good, crappy images are freaking good, as long as they're the result of pushing your boundaries and as long as you're willing to LEARN from the failures. Some people like to brag about their "keeper rates" and talk about how "I'm so good, 85% of my images are satisfying to me." And that may be fine for certain people doing certain kinds of work, but I think it's the wrong attitude from a CREATIVE standpoint. The thing is, goals change. When someone first starts, they may be looking to get well-exposed images or images of simple pretty subjects that have a decent composition. That's fine. And You'll get better at that, and be more reliably able to do that with practice. But that's like, one of the FIRST goals that people tend to have. As you get better at that, you'll then start to think about how to APPLY that, then you'll start trying new things and most of your images will still be unsatisfying because your goals have changed. So basically, just be trying to constantly set new goals. Once you've mastered what you set out to do, don't stop there. Think about how you want to apply that mastery, then keep on pushing forward. And that'll still result in LOTS of failure. That's not a bad thing, that's a good thing. Perfection is boring as hell. Once you've achieved that, then what the hell is there left to do?

nice guidelines for a beginner. thank you! :)




  
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jefzor
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Feb 08, 2014 07:15 |  #39

Besides all the good suggestions: Try to see the world in "shapes" instead of "things".


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Firefloss
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Feb 08, 2014 07:47 |  #40

jefzor wrote in post #16673196 (external link)
Besides all the good suggestions: Try to see the world in "shapes" instead of "things".

GEOMETRY! :D




  
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airfrogusmc
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Feb 08, 2014 08:14 |  #41

Try to see things as more than nouns or as Weston said I have no interest in photographing the obvious . Show us not the tree but what the tree means to you.




  
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Sibil
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Feb 08, 2014 08:59 as a reply to  @ airfrogusmc's post |  #42

There is so much good advice in this thread, I should print and save as homework.




  
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How to improve my creative eye?
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