2 Essential Steps for Making Your Photos Interesting and Creative

You may think that taking a picture is simply a matter of using a camera and clicking the shutter to capture a scene that you find interesting.

If it were that simple, we would be inundated with good and interesting photos. This is far from being the case. Most of the photos are just a repetition of photos already made. Few photos are innovative. Few photos are really interesting.

To help you improve the quality of your photos, I will share with you two essential steps for making your photos interesting and creative. This method consists in building the photo on the field and then creating a photo on your computer.

As you read this introduction, you may be surprised, and think that this is not important. You might think that you already follow these steps. However, I encourage you to spend a few minutes of your time to better understand this concept which I believe is essential to artistic photos.

Clouds in the sky over Yosemite National Park in California. Landscape photo in black and white by Amar Guillen.
Clouds in the sky over Yosemite National Park in California.

The Story Behind This Article

Often, during my wildlife, landscape, or underwater photography workshops, when the photographers have achieved a higher level, I explain to them that the realization of a good photo passes through two stages which, in my eyes, are essential:

  • Construction on the field.
  • Creation with software on a computer.

For some of the trainees, this boundary is very difficult to define and perceive. For others who have become seasoned over time, it is a concept they have come to embrace.

Recently, during a course dedicated to the stag bellowing, I met a photographer who was never satisfied with the pictures he took in the field.

During the photo reviews, I would explain to him that his photos were excellent. Each time, I would explain to him that their construction was exactly what was needed. Each time, he would argue that his photos were flat, that they lacked contrast, sharpness and that the colors were not what he had seen in the field.

At the end of the third photo review, as I could not convince him of the validity of my remarks, I decided to show him an example. I selected two ambient photos in RAW format and the two developed photos in tiff format. He had a terrible shock. He was speechless. I explained to him that when I take a photo in the field, I try to identify its artistic potential. When a photo has potential, I develop it. If not, I delete it.

From that day on, I never heard another complaint from him. He understood what I meant.

Today I have decided to share with you this concept of building and creating a photo.

Prerequisites for Building and Creating Good Photos

Before we get into the concept of building and creating a nature photo, I think it is essential to remind you that you need to master two key concepts:

  • Your photographic why must be perfectly defined.
  • Your photographic approach must be crystal clear.

These concepts and tools are the guardians of your photographic creativity.

Your photographic why defines why you take pictures.

It will guide you throughout your photographic activity. I used to say that if you do not know where you want to go, you will never reach your goal.

You must know your photographic why by heart. It is like a mantra. At each photo session, it will accompany you in the field. It will guide you when you shoot. Without it, you will not be able to make interesting and meaningful photos.

Your photographic approach defines your photographic vision and your photographic signature.

These two elements define the way you see the world around you and the way in which you edit it.

Your photographic approach helps you to create photos that look like you. Your creations are unique just as you are unique. Having your own signature approach will help your audience to identify you and your work from the many other photos and artists in the creative sphere.

If you have not yet thought about implementing these two essential tools, I invite you to do so quickly. Your photographic creativity will be enhanced.

The Definition of the Verb "To Build"

One definition of the verb to build is:

to make something by putting the various parts together.

Application to Photography

Theoretically, building a photo in the field seems like a simple act. All you must do is choose photographic elements and then assemble them together to make something incredible.

But it is that something that needs to be defined. It is the most complex and difficult element.

Before I go any further, I will explain what I think are the two main photographic models.

The First Photographic Model: The Realization of Unique Photos

The first photographic model consists in making unique photos. This type of photo is intended for competitions, social networks, for short reports.

In this model, the photographer focuses on making photos that have visual impact. The photos may tell a story, but it must be simple and easy to understand by the viewer.

The realization of a unique photo whether for a contest or social networks obeys one rule. You must photograph the never seen, the exceptional in behavior, and the unexpected. The photos must be spectacular and incredible. Visually, it must shock, surprise, and cause an immediate reaction in the viewer. It must be the kind of photo that someone sees and desires to share with others.

In this model, the photos do not have to be timeless. They just must catch the eye. I also classify reportage photos in this model.

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The Second Photographic Model: Making Pictures That Tell Stories

I call this model: the model of photographic expression. In this case, the photographer must tell a fragment of history with each photo. He must express his emotions and transmit messages.

He must call upon his experience to speak photographically with a precise and well-defined photographic language.

The photos become timeless. They are a photographic testament.

Each photo must have a syntactic dimension, a semantic dimension, and an aesthetic dimension. The whole photo makes up the structure of a story, much like a plotline.

Pick Your Choice Between the Two Models

Whether you choose to make photos that are in model 1 or model 2, they will have that famous 'something' present in the foundations of a masterpiece. Your photo will have a defined purpose.

I know that these notions can appear a bit complex and arduous at first glance, but I can only share the broad outlines of my principles in a single blog post. I develop these concepts in a detailed and precise way during my photo workshops.

Let us move on to the second step of the photo-making process: the creation.

The Definition of the Verb "To Create"

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I Want to Help You to Create Interesting Photos