Tag Archives: Creative control

Three creative jump start ideas

Post by Ann H. LeFevre

A creative jump start – get going again.

It happens to all of us at least once. Our creativity runs down and we feel uninspired. Those are the times when our cameras feel like they weigh a thousand pounds and our brains seem like they are stuffed with cotton. There are many ways to combat such a slump. What you need is a creative jump start. Here are three suggestions to help you the next time you come up against that photographic brick wall.

The 30 second game

Pick a room in your home at random to try the first creative jump start. With camera in hand, walk into the room. Select a subject (perhaps the first thing you see) and start shooting. Don’t “think” about it; just do it. Make it quick and no longer than 30 seconds. The idea here is to be loose.

The Strat • By Ann H. LeFevre • Three creative jump start ideas

• The Strat •
By Ann H. LeFevre (Click to view large)


Creativity can be blocked by over-thinking about the “next shot”. This little game helps to bring back some spontaneity into your picture taking.

Take Another Look

We get used to seeing things the way we always see things. In this exercise the object is to take something common, perhaps something you see all the time. Then, to look at it from a different perspective.

• Wooden Spoon • <br />By Ann H. LeFevre • Three creative jump start ideas

• Wooden Spoon •
By Ann H. LeFevre (Click to view large)


Look at your chosen object from all different angles. Take a shot from each one. Look up. Look down. Look close. Look all around, taking pictures as you go. Looking at a common object from a new vantage point can loosen up the creativity block. A creative jump start works best with a simple views of things.

Play with Processing

Take one of those “Why did I even take this picture?” photos. Make a copy of the original. Put it into your photo processing program and play around with some special effects. Go all out and experiment. Don’t worry about whether or not you’ll actually keep the picture when you’ve finished. Simply spend time playing around on it for as long as you want. Let your processing ideas flow.

• Sunflowers •<br />By Ann H. LeFevre •  Three creative jump start ideas

• Sunflowers •
By Ann H. LeFevre (Click to view large)


Laugh at what you create. Laughter loosens up your creativity. And who knows? One of those crazy effects may trigger an idea! Processing can also transform an ordinary picture into something that is visually pleasing. Playing with the way a photo looks is a great way to charge up your creativity.

Beyond routine and distraction

Shooting slumps occur because we become anchored to routine or distracted by our busy lives. A creative jump start serves to break those habits and change our perspective. Try one out the next time you’re in a rut and see what happens!

Ann H. LeFevre – contributing author

Ann holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from Bethany College. She is a member of the Pocono Photo Club Pocono Photo Club | External link - opens new tab/page, and participates in the 365 Project Ann H. LeFevre - contributing author on 365Project.org | External link - opens new tab/page an on-line photographic community. She has enjoyed the artistic aspects of photography for many years and enjoys exploring a variety of photographic subjects in her work.

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A post to make you think… photographic creativity

Your Body My Canvas

• Your Body My Canvas •
Simply turn things upside down to get a new perspective.
(Image from the video).

Take a new perspective.

The greatest inventions are often originated by people who play with ideas. They are not afraid to experiment, to try a different way. Creativity is more than just the sum of your experience. It is also the capacity to make mistakes, to explore ideas beyond the norm and to simply have a go.

And so she tried painting…

This video captures so much about what makes photography exciting – the unique experience and personal extension that goes into making every picture. I gained a lot from this short video. Here are seven reasons I think you will gain from watching too…

  • Photographers try very hard to make a two dimensional image look 3D. Alexa Meade is trying hard to make a 3D image two-dimensional. A bizarre concept, but enlightening. It teaches us so much about the nature of ‘form’ – the 3D manifestation of objects.
  • She shows that the nature of shadow is both transient and yet fundamental to the creation of both 2D and 3D images. This is something that photographers really need to understand and be able to observe.
  • Alexa Meade gave up her aspirations and suddenly became a painter/photographer with no previous training. She took a chance, tried something different, and got caught up in the idea. This launched a unique career and artistic experiment that provides us with some excellent photographic insights. This video shows that experimentation is the manifestation of creativity. This is a principle that learner photographers will gain a lot from exploring.
  • In her work she is marrying painting and photography. Some of the worlds most creative people are successful because they take things that are completely disassociated and create a new synthesis. You can do this too. Take your previous knowledge, your wider experiences and try to put them together in novel or unique ways. You are certain to hit some new perspectives for your own photography.
  • Photography is about art meeting technology. What’s created is an interpretation which is a unique communication by the photographer. This project is an outstanding example of that idea.
  • Alexa Meade follows a wonderful creative process in her work. She works through her visualisation. Her concept defined, she then applies the technology… visualisation, concept, action. This is a great model for producing creative images.
  • The artist in Alexa Meade has found a unique way to express herself buy turning well formed concepts upside-down. Not only is that brave, but it’s likely to lead to more wonderful insights. Creative work is often about dumping convention and trying another way. Think how you could use this idea in your photography.
Alexa Meade: Your body is my canvas


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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

One big change – one easy step forward (depth of field)

Bracelets - Depth of field is often misjudged. Try it in lots of situations and you will master it.

• Bracelets •
Depth of field is often misjudged. Try it in lots of situations and you will master it.
Click image to view large.
• Bracelets • By Netkonnexion on Flickr External link - opens new tab/page

Every photographer needs to understand depth of field.

Most do get to grips with it. However, when working with a shallow depth of field many photographers misjudge the depth they have to work with. Here is how to work it out.

All too often when using a shallow depth of field the edges of the sharp/bokeh region are well defined. If you get that boundary in the wrong place it is quite easy to spoil the image. For example if you take a portrait with a wide open aperture and the depth of field is too shallow you might find that the eyes are in focus. However, the ears are out of focus and so is the nose. A disconcerting picture! So how do you get over this? Find out by deliberately working at the wide-open aperture end of the range. Push yourself. Open up to a wide aperture and keep it opened up until you feel comfortable you have got control.

Setting it up

Setting your lens to the wide end is easy. Just open up the lens until you have the smallest f.number showing in your screen or viewfinder. Most photographers will have one lens with an f3.5 or f4 aperture (or less). It is possible to buy lenses with much wider apertures. So you may have as much as an f1.2 aperture – which will give you a very shallow depth of field.

What now?

Once you have your lens at the wide open position you keep it there. Then go shoot… a lot.

I know this may seem a tall order but it is fun. Keeping a fixed depth of field dictates much of your perspective on a shot. In order to create nicely composed pictures you will need to move around a lot. You will want to keep your subject sharp. Photographing a range of different sizes of subject means you need to move back and forward to vary the depth of field to fit the subject.

If you take a picture close to you, with a shallow depth of field you will maybe have less than 100mm of sharpness – or much less depending on your lens. If you take a picture focusing at 2 meters from you may find, say, 300mm (12 inches) of sharpness – enough to fit a head into and keep it sharp. If you are working at say 200 meters you may be looking at a really quite wide depth of field – maybe several car lengths.

The point of the exercise is that holding the depth of field fixed makes you walk around and gain experience with your lens. After a while you will be able to judge how much depth of field you will get when shooting at a particular distance. Then you will have mastered your lens at the wide aperture end of the scale.

Getting good control of depth of field is really helpful

You begin to have much more creative control when you have good depth of field control. If you can get you subject finely focussed and sharp – but everything else in a beautiful soft bokeh – your subject will really pull the viewers eye into the shot. Depth of field is all about isolating your subject and making everything else less of a distraction. Control is everything.

Once you have gained control of the extreme end of the open aperture, you can move on. Now make the aperture one less stop open. Do the same exercise. Get to know your lens at this aperture/depth of field combination. Once you have mastered that, move up another stop.

After a while you will have complete creative control over your use of bokeh and the depth of field. An enviable position… you can really be creative when you have such control.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.