How to Be a Creative Photographer


To promote our new book, ‘CREATIVE EVERY DAY‘, I would like to share some thoughts with you on how you can be a (more) creative photographer– and do it all day, every day.

You are a visual artist-photographer

Blue shadow. Madison, Wisconsin.

First of all, exclaim PROUDLY that you are a photographer. You are a visual artist. You like to play with your camera. Visual reality is your play-thing, and you make pictures to make more meaning and sense out of reality.

Secondly, to be a ‘creative’ photographer isn’t to just be ‘talented’ or somehow ‘gifted.’ No. To be a ‘creative’ photographer is to CREATE A LOT OF PICTURES. That means, to create without hesitate, to shoot without self-doubt, and to make pictures that please yourself– rather than pleasing others.

Never doubt yourself

Family at Lucille’s BBQ.

To be a more creative photographer is to self-doubt yourself less. Practical tip and piece of advice: don’t take your photography too seriously. Be like a child with a camera. Like Picasso said, ‘Every child is born an artist– the challenge is staying an artist as you get older.’

Children are the most prolific creators. They draw, sketch, paint, and photograph without boundaries. They just make make make, then move ‘onto the next one.’ They don’t care to really see what their friends or peers are making– they are stuck in this creative and playful ‘zone’ — and make pictures for FUN. Their ‘reward’ for their artistic creations isn’t to get likes on social media, or recognition — they make pictures for the sake of making pictures. They do it because it is FUN.

You don’t gotta pay a child or ‘motivate’ them to play. No, they PLAY to alleviate their boredom, and to exercise their creative muscles.

Let us embrace our inner-child, and be more ‘creative’ by allowing our spirit the freedom to play. To play on the streets in street photography, with our camera. To push ourselves creatively– by taking more challenging pictures. I say, ‘Take your play very seriously.’

Push yourself (while having fun)

Kid with Spider-Man outfit.

In terms of making more ‘artistic’ pictures on the streets, I say make more DYNAMIC pictures. Don’t just shoot pictures head-on, with perfect symmetry. Rather, switch it up. Tilt your camera. Play with diagonals in your pictures. Make pictures that feel off-balance, and embrace the ‘dutch angle’ composition in photography.

Mike Dunn, the singing waiter from Howard Johnson in Madison, Wisconsin.
Mike Dunn, the singing waiter from Howard Johnson in Madison, Wisconsin.

Another tip– GET LOW. Crouch down, and see the world form a child-like perspective. Lie on your ground, or tilt your LCD screen and put your camera on the ground.

Or explore, by climbing ladder, or getting on top of buildings and shoot looking down. Embrace a new and unique perspective– and embrace the extremes. Get very high up, or shoot from very low.

Never stop making pictures

Cindy in front of colorful mural. Madison, Wisconsin

The secret is to be a prolific artist your entire life. And the secret is to keep making pictures, to be grateful for the pictures you shot in the past, but to be NEVER SATISFIED.

BREAK THROUGH YOUR VISUAL PLATEAUS by PLAYING HARDER! Take on more challenges in your photography, by conquering your fears in street photography by getting closer. By asking strangers for permission and shooting ‘street portraits.’ Experiment shooting layers and depth.

Woman laughing. NYC, 2017. Pentax 645Z

Don’t think about your photography as a burden or a job. Work hard, but have fun. Shoot everyday with a smile on your face, and bless yourself with your grace to shoot in the world. Never stop, and find your own style and shoot at your own pace.





Make, learn, play. Every day. CREATIVE EVERY DAY is your inspirational foundation to spread your creative wings and soar to the next level.

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