Friday, March 16, 2012

Practicing Creativity


A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to improve my photography. I had a good starter camera, but I was frustrated at the snap-shot look of my photos, the lack of sharp focus, and my inability to know and understand all the buttons and settings on my camera. So I worked at learning the technical aspect of photography: I read the manual to my camera, I learned about aperture, ISO, shutter speed, exposure - pulling it all together to be able to shoot in manual mode. As I improved technically, I still wasn't satisfied with what I saw in my images. Enter Tracey Clark and her "Picture" series of courses on Big Picture Classes. Through those courses with their simple daily email prompts, my ability to "see" the world around me changed drastically.

My original intent when I set out those few years ago, was to learn and improve the technical aspects of my photography. And yes, through daily practice those aspects did improve, but an unexpected, delightful change also occurred....my ability to think and act creatively improved. The ideas, thoughts and ways of seeing a  photo now come easier. How to shoot to convey an emotion or connection is becoming second nature. But if you would have told me that I could practice my creativity when I started this journey, I would have thought you were crazy. Creativity to me, at that time, was a spontaneous action, not something to be "practiced." But I am a living testament that yes, you can practice being creative and you can get better at it! Of course, I still have days where the thoughts and ideas don't flow very easily, but I keep shooting, I keep interacting with my fellow photographers and I keep practicing to make it perfect!

So how do you practice your creativity? Do you spend time each day fueling your creative fire by doing the things you love? I would encourage you to pick up your camera each day, even when you feel less than inspired. And if you haven't ever checked out Tracey Clark's Picture Series courses, do it today. She's starting a new one in April called "Picture Black & White." It's sure to be a wonderful, 60-day journey filled with community, encouragement and creative inspiration!


18 comments:

Karen Harvey Cox said...

Hi Steph,

What a beautiful photograph, and your enhancement helps tell the story in your photo perfectly. Tracy Clark is amazing, and just visiting her inspires my creativity.

I believe that if it were not for people like Tracy and beautiful magazines that showcase the new ways to color, enhance and texturize photographs, I wouldn't be as inspired. At least not as inspired as I am today.

I am a designer, so I need to fuel my creative muse every day. Nothing inspires me more than learning something new in photography.

Karen

Coolwater Creative said...

Great perspective on creativity and the unexpected blessings of practicing it. (And I love the piano photo too...) :)

Cathy H. said...

I love your image!! As always, such beautiful light! I'm about to decide that your home must be blessed with light!! There's not a day that goes by that I don't take pictures! I started last year with a 365 and sometimes had to force myself to take a picture. One time, it was the clock at 11:58 PM; the only thing I could think to take a photo of that day! But, after following Tracey's classes, joining a wonderful flickr group and following blogs I no longer struggle and take lots of pictures each day!! It comes easier because I've learned so much! You girls here really inspire me and keep me in the creative mood!!

Deanna said...

What a lovely post, Stephanie. As a member of all of those Picture Classes from Tracey Clark, I watched you grow in your creative photography. Your style is beautiful and your growth has been rewarding to see unfold. I too have grown in "creativity", who would think to shoot coffee mugs, or books or children's hands playing piano if not for these encouraging classes of Tracey's.

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Steph... this image is so bright and light and tells such a fun story.

I can almost here the music. THE #1 regret I have is not keeping up with my piano lessons. Ohhh the joy when one can entertain others but simply their selves.

Hugs

terriporter said...

Oh, Stephanie, your post sounds so much like my experience, technically good photos but . . . and then the Picture series came into my life and influenced me in ways I couldn't have imagined. Yes, I too have watched your photography blossom and am inspired by you as well as so many of the wonderfully creative people I have met through those classes. I think many of us have had that same experience and I love the way you have described it here. As far as shooting every day, I've been doing a 365 project for the past two years (2012 is my third year) and it is a great exercise to keep me shooting and learning and practicing creativity every day.

Jeanine and Emily said...

Stephanie...from the first of your shots that I spotted in the BPC I swear I thought you were a pro. Your talent and style shine in each photograph. I love the thinking part of photography too...even if I dont shoot everyday...I am constantly thinking about how to interpret a prompt or about a specific way to play with a prop or imitate an idea I've seen another photographer. Thanks for being you. See you in B&W.

Dotti said...

Wonderful photo and a post that is so, so true! The Picture classes have not only helped me become more expressive in my photography but led me to make so many wonderful friends on the internet who share my passion for photography ... 9 of whom are right here with me at FOL! But perhaps the thing that helped me most was doing a 365. Making myself shoot photos everyday did two things: Helped me improve and made it a habit. Now taking photos every day is as essential to me as brushing my teeth. Shoot on, Friends! See you on our Flickr page! :D

Carol's View said...

It's just amazing to me that you ever thought of yourself as not being creative. Right from the start I was attracted to your pictures because your style is so unique. The one used here is a perfect example of Stephanie style. I agree with all you said here - I also benefited hugely from the Big Pic Classes. And time, and daily pictures do help us all develop a style, but I admire so much your individuality

Blondie's Journal said...

I definitely need help in the creativity department! Taking pictures daily will certainly help. I'm off to visit Tracey's site. Thanks, Stephanie!

XO,
Jane

Linda said...

Love the light in your shot!

I don't let a day go by without taking a picture or something. Some pictures are better than others but they all tell a little piece of the story that is my everyday. From my feet to my routines and the beauty that surrounds me.

Practice makes perfect, right?

xo

stephmull said...

Thanks, Karen! Love to see your creativity at work! You inspire each of us here!

stephmull said...

Thanks for your kind words, Cathy! Isn't it such a great feeling to unlock that creative potential and let it flow! And it's so fun to be a part of these wonderful on-line collaborations! I know I wouldn't be where I am today without them!

stephmull said...

Photographing the "everyday" can be so rewarding! It's been fun to be on this journey with you as we grow creatively! Thank you for your sweet words!

stephmull said...

Maybe you can take up lessons again!! :-) It is always fun to hear music of my children around the house!

stephmull said...

I think you and I have had quite a similar photographic journey!! It's so fun to look back and see how it has all unfolded. And everyone I've met along the way has added to the sweetness of the journey...thank you for your inspiration!

stephmull said...

Jeanine - you warm my heart with your kind words!! Can't wait to continue the journey with your in Picture B&W!!

leighlovedesign said...

Beautiful shot Steph! Before I got into photography I never would have thought about needing to practice creativity. I've always been a creative person so I guess it comes easy to me, but with photography I have found that I would hit a wall in the creative process. The daily prompts from the picture classes so helped me get past that roadblock! I love having an assignment, but knowing that I can put my own twist on the final product. I now know that I can always continue to grow my creative side!

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