Worth a Thousand Words, Issue #001 -- The real secret to creativity
May 17, 2010
The Real Secret to Creativity
The real secret to creativity isnt ultimate freedom, as many people believe. In fact, its just the opposite. Think of the old adage necessity is the mother of invention. When were in a tight spot, thats when we have to get creative and innovate.
T. S. Eliot once said: When forced to work within a strict framework the imagination is taxed to its utmost and will produce its richest ideas. Given total freedom the work is likely to sprawl."
Self-imposed limitations and restrictions can actually enhance our creativity and help us come up with original ideas. Restrictions can force us to keep things simple, keep us from adding clutter to our images, and in the process, keep our message strong. Think of the simplicity of a haiku poem, which is created by following a very strict set of rules.
Following are a few ideas for restrictions you can place on yourself photographically to stimulate your creativity:
Choose one location. And I mean a small location, like standing within a 5-foot diameter circle, not a location like Aruba! Stay there for a set amount of time (at LEAST 15 minutes), and shoot as many images as you can. The longer you stay, the more creative youll get.
Go out shooting, and take only one lens. If its the lens you like to use the LEAST, youll push your creativity the most. For added challenge, shoot using only one aperture, or only one shutter speed.
Shoot somewhere unexpected. By that I mean shoot in a place where people dont usually take pictures. Lock yourself in your bathroom or your kitchen for half an hour, and get creative!
Flexing Your Creative Muscles: an ExerciseThe Un-eggness of the Egg
Your mission this month, should you choose to accept it, is to photograph an egg from different angles and in different lighting. How can you make an egg look like something other than an egg? How can you make it look egg-citing?
Something Every Photographer Needs to Know: Tip of the MonthA poor mans spot metering
If you dont have spot-metering on your camera, or youre feeling lazy and you dont want to fiddle around with changing your cameras metering mode, then heres a tip you can use to accomplish pretty much the same thing. You need to have a zoom lens and exposure lock on your camera.
Decide which part of the scene you want to meter from, and then zoom in on it. Press the shutter release halfway to take your exposure reading, press the exposure lock button, and finally zoom back out, recompose, focus and shoot. Its that easy!
Whats New this Month at Ultimate Photo TipsPhoto challenge
Aprils photo challenge results are in! The topic was Feet and we received many creative submissions. Check out the winning image. Mays topic is color. Here's the deal. Pick any color you like -- just one, though. Then go out and spend a few hours shooting ONLY objects of that color. You'll be surprised how much that color will start jumping out at you after a while!
You can post a single image representing your chosen color. But much more fun is to make a collage! You can use this simple and free tool to make your own:
The tool can use photos you upload from your computer, or can pull images from a Flickr photoset or Facebook album.
See what other people are submitting, and vote for your favorite
Ultimate Photo Tips is hosting a worldwide competition to find out which camera club is the best in the world! So far, weve received entries from countries as diverse as Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States.
Our illustrious judges are Richard Martin, Rob Davidson and Tony Sweet.
Results will be announced on June 14th, so be sure to check back on the Ultimate Photo Tips website then to see the results!
The community section of Ultimate Photo Tips features photography book reviews written by our readers. Recently, Barry Stoch from Toronto, Canada submitted his favorite digital photography book, The Digital Printing Handbook by Tim Daly. Barry writes:
"First published in 2002 the first few sections on hardware and software are a little long in the tooth. Those sections aren't why you would buy this book though. [...] Where it gets really interesting is the wealth of techniques to imitate old darkroom techniques like [...]." Read more
The Contact Photography Festival is on in Toronto during the month of May. With over 1000 photographers exhibiting at over 200 venues in the city, its a smorgesbord of photographic creativity. Check it out at
Happy shooting from Ultimate Photo Tips!